Preventing Kidney Stones through Dietary Changes

Kidney Stone PreventionIf you have suffered from kidney stones, you are more likely to experience them again in the future. While this is not good news for those who have gone through the painful experience of kidney stone disease, there are some simple lifestyle changes that you can make to try and lessen the chances of recurrence, including dietary changes and increasing daily fluid intake.

Dietary Changes

“In the past, people prone to producing calcium stones were told to avoid dairy products and other foods with high-calcium content; however, more recent studies show that foods high in calcium may actually help prevent calcium stones from forming,” explains Dr. Geoff Ledgerwood, board-certified urologist at Advanced Urology Denver. According to the National Kidney Foundation, if you had high calcium in your urine, then reducing your sodium intake may help. Excess sodium can make you lose calcium in your urine and increase the chances for a kidney stone recurrence.

Dr. Ledgerwood adds that pairing the right type of foods together may be another helpful strategy. Specifically, eating calcium and oxalate-rich foods together since they combine in the stomach and intestines and not in the kidney, lessening the chances of a stone forming. Oxalate is found in many foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, legumes and chocolate and tea[1].

If you had a uric acid stone, you should look at limiting foods high in purine, a natural chemical compound found in red meats, organ meats and shellfish – when purine levels are high, the body produces more uric acid, which can build up and produce stones. “Alcohol and high-sugar foods should also be limited since they can increase uric acid levels,” says Dr. Ledgerwood. A healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, healthy grains and low-fat dairy products is recommended.

Increasing the Amount of Liquids Consumed

Patients can easily increase the amount of liquid, water-based drinks that they consume every day to help with stone prevention. The goal for people who have already suffered from kidney stones is to drink enough liquids throughout the day to produce two quarts (either cups) of urine every 24 hours.

Finally, Dr. Ledgerwood adds a note about supplements and vitamins. “Kidney stone patients should talk to their doctor or a dietician about what vitamins or supplements are best.” While some vitamins and supplements, like B vitamins, have been shown to have no affect on stone formation, others such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, fish liver oil, and other supplements may increase the chances for stone formation.