Sunday, May 24, 2015

You Gotta Be Kidney Me!

Typically, I have a high threshold of pain and try to maintain proper hydration. For the most part, I have gradually cut down on eating junk food and drinking soda over the years. But, I recently had a very bad kidney stone experience...which on a scale of zero to Bo Derek was about a Spinal Tap! Although my third time, the other two were mild in comparison. It later turned out to be a common calcium oxalate stone. As such, I had to seek professional help. They pumped me with fluids - my bladder and kidneys were floating!!! - and pain medicine. After some careful analysis of my dietary intake, the stone in fact was caused by drinking too much apple and cranberry juice - which I would drink on a daily basis - and, of course, consuming the dreaded soybean/soybean oil THAT IS IN EVERYTHING! According to several sources, all three are extremely high in oxalate - apple juice being the worse, as it turns out - and are really bad for those susceptible to calcium oxalate stones. It just eventually built up. Nuts, spinach and sunflower seeds too are high in oxalate, just to highlight a few other things which I regularly consume. So much for trying to eat “healthy”!

Ever since, I have been reading about the benefits of lemon juice - and adding more citrus in general - to increase citrate levels that can help block both calcium oxalate and uric acid stones. I am not a huge fan of lemonade, or tart food in general, but probably will start drinking more lemon-flavored water. Coconut also is touted for its benefits, not just in hydration but in preventing stone formation. (Fortunately, it is only the consistency of coconut I dislike rather than its taste.) There also is the argument for consuming a “normal” diet of calcium, because, oddly enough, it will combine with the oxalate in the intestines before it can reach the urinary tract. For this, I will actually have to decrease my dairy intake...because I still love drinking milk and eating cheese (another problematic food)!!! Fiber-rich (artichokes; beans; rice) and potassium-rich (bananas; potatoes; tomatoes) foods are good too, although some like beans and potatoes also are high in oxalate.

There is a lot of contradictory information out there, even from leading authorities on the subject. What it comes down to is proper judgment in tweaking guidelines and recommendations for what works for the circumstance. Naturally, the best advice, as always, is to drink more water and follow the mantra of moderation - presumably, neither of which I have been properly adhering.

Kidney Stone Prevention: ‘Fact versus Fiction' (Renal and Urology News)

Kidney Stones Raise Atherosclerosis Risk (Renal and Urology News)

Prevent Kidney Stones (

Did Drinking Iced Tea Really Cause My Kidney Stones (

©2015 Steve Sagarra

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