Kidney stones… how should we put this… are no fun. No fun at all. These painful episodes are caused by calcium build-up. But there are natural remedies, healing foods and elements of natural medicine that will help to treat and prevent them. Here we look at the top six tips.
1. Citrus Fruits
Grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and clementines are all very high in citrate, a.k.a. citric acid. This substance is the ultimate kidney stone prevention. In your urine, citrate binds together with calcium, thus limiting the amount of calcium available to form kidney stones. It also stops miniature calcium crystals from enlarging, merging together, and creating bigger stones. Finally, it cuts down acid levels in your urine, making it more difficult for stones to form.
Orange juice is the best-known citrus drink. While it does raise citrate levels, it also raises oxalate — one of the risk factors for kidney stones. Far and away, the ideal drink is lemon juice a — hugely concentrated source of citrate (five times that of OJ). Lemonade is one potential source for you. The only exception is grapefruit juice — which has actually been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones symptoms.
3. Potassium Citrate
Two decades ago, the FDA approved the supplement potassium citrate to prevent kidney stones. One study found that, of 57 people with a history of kidney stones, those given potassium citrate developed fewer kidney stones than they did before. At first we thought citrate supplements were useful for only those with low citrate levels. But now we know that it’s a decent idea for anybody to take them, regardless of how much citrate they have.
A dose of about 500 milligrams of magnesium a day could help with reducing the size of a kidney stone, and also prevent future ones from forming. One study found that 56 people taking magnesium had fewer stones than 34 people not taking the mineral. The ultimate best bet may be a supplement fused with magnesium, potassium, and citrate. This has been found to significantly reduce the amount of calcium stones that form in people susceptible to them.
5. Vitamin B6
This nutrient may help prevent calcium stones from forming in people who have a history of the condition. People with higher intakes of B6 have developed fewer stones than those with lower intakes. It may even be effective in people who are not deficient in the vitamin. Try taking a supplement of 100 to 200 mg daily.
6. Eat Right
Studies have found that many dietary steps will prevent kidney stones. Cut down on meat and poultry, lower your salt intake, try to eat more bran, eat bananas, drink plenty of water, and avoid eating too many foods high in oxalate. These include spinach, rhubarb, beet greens, nuts, chocolate, tea, bran, almonds, peanuts, and strawberries.