Healthy Decisions for the Love of Health

Kidney Stones and Kidney Inflammation

This and related kidney conditions, such as kidney stones, are the result of excessive retention of uric acid in the kidneys, owing to an overload of acid wastes in the blood from incomplete digestion of improperly combined foods.

Left unattended, uric acids forms painful crystals or 'stones' in the kidneys.

Although the pain overrides all other symptoms, usually urinary problems also exist. There is a repeated urging to urinate, and urine may contain sediment or blood. Milder attacks cause one-sided lower-*back pain without the severity which is characteristic for a kidney colic. Stones often remain in the kidney unnoticed or are passed without pain or symptoms. The size of a kidney stone can vary from a rice kernel to a tennis ball. Kidney stones that inhibit urinary flow increase the risk of infection. Stones can also form in the bladder, although this is much rarer and usually clears up without symptoms. Sometimes the stone will hinder urination, cause bladder pain or cause blood in the urine. Bladder stones affect more men than women.

Causes

When minerals collect in the kidneys and crystalize, stones develop. This is more likely to occur if the *urine is highly concentrated, since it contains more substances capable of crystalizing. Drinking too little fluid forces the kidneys to work harder and leads to a more concentrated urine. Drinking plenty of fluids allows all substances to be flushed through more easily. A diet high in animal protein also increases urine concentration. Studies show that vegetarians are less likely to suffer from kidney stones. Any infections which interfere with the flow of fluids increases susceptibility to recurring stones.

Although there is a connection between calcium and kidney stones, eating high-calcium foods does not always cause stones. There are even times when calcium helps prevent them. What makes the difference between a calcium-friendly food and one that is not is how well the body absorbs the calcium. If calcium absorption from the diet is adequate, the body does not need to dissolve calcium in the bone, which then raises the calcium level in the blood. When this blood gets filtered through the kidneys, calcium deposits form.

High-calcium foods such as dairy products can worsen kidney stone and bone disorders, especially *osteoporosis. Calcium absorption of dairy products is often poor because of *allergies, lactose intolerance and high phosphorous or fat content. The calcium from plant sources such as greens and beans, on the other hand, is far better absorbed and used in the body than dairy products that are not fermented. This explains why cultures around the world that avoid dairy products have significantly lower rates of kidney stones, osteoporosis and *arthritis.

There are different types of stones, but calcium oxalate is the most common. If stones are a repeated problem, underlying illnesses associated with blood-calcium levels, such as hyperparathyroidism, should be investigated. Poor eating habits are usually the cause of stone development due to an imbalance of substances which regulate the removal of calcium in the urine. The typical North American diet of fiber-refined foods, including pastas, white rice and white flour, also plays a role. Replace these foods with whole grains and raw foods. While it is not recommended to remove calcium from the diet, oxalates can be removed. Foods high in oxalates are spinach, rhubarb and chocolate.

Bladder stones are more likely to be formed when the bladder is not fully emptied from urinating. The urine left behind often contains sediment that can form stones. This is due to an enlarged *prostate, for instance. Bladder stones also originate from the kidneys and are deposited in the bladder, but these are usually quickly washed out.

Nutrition

If you have a tendency toward kidney stones, drink at least two and a half quarts of fluid daily in the form of purified water, juices or herbal teas to dilute urine and effectively flush substances through the kidneys.

A deficiency of vitamin A can cause stones to condense and deposit themselves in the kidneys. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables such as carrots, yams, apricots, peaches, cantaloupe and mango. Fish also provides vitamin A. Eat protein from plant sources such as peas, beans, lentils, and asparagus rather than animal sources, since a large amount of animal protein causes the body to lose calcium. Albumin, found in eggs, is also needed for calcium retention.

To prevent calcium oxalate stones, avoid foods containing oxalic acid, especially spinach, rhubarb and tomatoes. Because of high calcium content, drink milk and dairy products in moderation only or not at all. Eat whole grains and legumes after pre-soaking overnight for vitamin B6, which prevents the formation of oxalic acid in the body. Juniper berries help flush out the kidneys. Chew 8-12 berries daily. Cranberry juice acidifies the urine and keeps calcium phosphate stones from forming. Drink the juice of three lemons in one quart water twice daily to keep the urine alkaline and prevent cystine stones or uric acid stones. Every night before going to bed, drink half a pint of mineral water with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to prevent kidney stones.

No matter what type of stone it is, avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates. Sugar, including the lactose found in milk, stimulates the release of insulin and causes higher calcium excretion by the kidney. Sugar also increases the absorption of calcium from the intestines. Those with stones benefit from a high-fiber, vegetarian diet. This is because the metabolic by-products of animal proteins are uric acid and oxalic acid, both of which are involved in kidney stone formation. Red meat, in particular, is very high in phosphorous and causes the body to excrete more calcium into the urine. This is why vegetarians have a forty to sixty percent less chance of forming kidney stones than people who eat meat.

Limit the use of caffeine, antacids, alcohol and salt. A high-salt diet increases the loss of calcium from the urine and can lead to stone formation.

Cleansing-detox is the very first step towards resolving this issue followed by a rejuvenation-diet.

The below foods and juices are therapeutic and healing after your cleansing.

Asparagus: contains asparamid, nature's most effective kidney diuretic; asparagus gives urine a strong odor of ammonia, which indicates that excess uric acid is being rapidly expelled; asparamid breaks up oxalic acid crystals in kidneys and muscles (cooked spinach and cooked tomatoes leave oxalic acid in the system); steam a bunch of fresh asparagus for 3 minutes or less and consume immediately, once daily.

Raw beet juice: raw red beet juice has strong natural affinity for kidneys; it is one of natures best kidney cleansers, dissolving acid crystals and quickly eliminating the 'gravel' from the kidneys; its affinity for kidneys is reflected in red coloration of urine; take 8 oz raw beet juice, 2-3 tsp. at a time, over a 24 hour period, with no other foods.

Watermelon: for nephritis, the watermelon cure is an excellent adjunct to asparagus therapy; eat nothing for lightly steamed asparagus and bits of raw watermelon for 24-48 hours.

Cucumbers: raw cucumber, in bulk or juice, are excellent kidney diuretics and alkalizing agents; may be mixed with carrot and beet juice, 2 pints daily.

Other beneficial foods: apple cider vinegar; barley water; parsley; carrot juice; lecithin; cabbage; black grapes.

Foods to avoid: salt and salt-preserved foods; soy sauce; shellfish; strong coffee and tea; cooked spinach and tomatoes; alcohol; hot peppers.

Nutritional Supplements

Kidney stones are liable to recur if steps are not taken to improve diet, but supplements can also help. The mineral magnesium protects the kidneys from calcium deposits. A lack of magnesium can also lead to kidney stones. Similarly, a B6 deficiency promotes the development of kidney stones, since this vitamin is responsible for the correct use of oxalic acid in the body. Take a B6 with magnesium for best results. Add a B complex since the B vitamins are best supplemented together.

Vitamin A is important for the healing of the mucous membranes lining the urinary tract. Vitamin K is required by the body to make a common protein found in urine which inhibits calcium oxalate growth. Green food supplements can provide vitamin K as it is not available as a supplement. Also take glutamine as a preventative. Another important mineral is potassium, since it keeps calcium suspended in fluid, preventing it from settling in the kidneys. Insufficient potassium is common in diets that consist primarily of refined foods. Potassium citrate is often used to prevent kidney stones from recurring.

Those with uric acid stones are helped by a vegetarian diet, supplemented with folic acid, magnesium, B6 and potassium citrate. Low levels of citrate are found in twenty to sixty percent of all patients with kidney stones. Avoid alcohol because it increases the excretion of uric acid, calcium and phosphate. Alcohol also has adverse effects on vitamin B6 and magnesium, both of which help in stone prevention.

An excess of cadmium has been associated with an increased incidence of kidney stones. Remove excess cadmium with zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium and vitamin C. If you have a history of kidney stones, avoid the amino acid L-cysteine, a build-up of which can lead to stone formation in genetically susceptible individuals.

Daily Dosages:

  • Magnesium, 500 mg daily

  • Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate, 50 mg daily

  • Vitamin B complex, 50 mg daily

  • Vitamin A, 25,000 IU daily (avoid during pregnancy)

  • Potassium citrate, 2,500 mg daily

  • Green food supplements, daily

  • L-Glutamine, 300 mg daily

  • Folic acid, 25_50 mg daily

  • Vitamin C mixed mineral ascorbate, 1,000 mg daily

Herbal Remedies

Activate the kidneys to stimulate urine secretion and prevent the development of stones with herbal treatments.

  • To stimulate excretion of kidney gravel and stones, sip 1_2 cups of horsetail tea while soaking in a horsetail bath for twenty minutes. Slip on a warm cotton-terry robe and *sweat in bed for one hour afterwards.

  • Thyme and knotgrass tea twice daily also help dissolve stones and prevent mineral build-up. Combine with goldenseal tea and carrot juice for a better effect.

  • Birch leaves have a strong diuretic action and considerably reduce the albumin content in the urine. Daily, drink 3 cups of birch leaf tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of dried and crushed birch leaves. Steep for ten minutes, strain and drink unsweetened.

  • B6- and magnesium-rich herbs will prevent calcium oxalate stones. Chlorophyll is rich in magnesium and is found in juices of parsley, dandelion, alfalfa, fennel, dill and horsetail. Take 1 tbsp. of juice daily.

  • Heat a hayflower pack over hot steam and place on painful area.

 

 

Copyright 2005 HealthSmart Nutrition. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 24, 2006

 

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