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8 Natural Remedies to Prevent Kidney Stones

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5. Get Enough Calcium

It's a common misunderstanding that you need to decrease your calcium intake in order to reduce your risk of forming calcium-containing stones.

However, this is not the case. In fact, a diet high in calcium has been associated with a decreased risk of forming kidney stones (28, 29, 30, 31).

One study placed men who had previously formed calcium-containing kidney stones on a diet containing 1,200 mg of calcium per day. It was also low in animal protein and salt (29).

The men had about a 50 percent lower risk of getting another kidney stone over five years than the control group, who followed a low-calcium diet of 400 mg per day.

Dietary calcium tends to bind with oxalate in the diet, which prevents it from being absorbed. The kidneys then don't have to pass it through the urinary system.

Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are good dietary sources of calcium.

For most adults, the recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium is 1,000 mg per day. However, the RDI is 1,200 mg per day for women over the age of 50 and everyone over the age of 70.

Bottom Line: Getting enough calcium may help prevent kidney stone formation in some people. Calcium may bind to oxalate and prevent it from being absorbed.

6. Cut Back on Salt

A diet high in salt is linked to an increased risk of kidney stones in some people (30, 32).

A high intake of sodium, a component of table salt, may increase calcium excretion through urine—which is one of the main risk factors for kidney stones (33).

That being said, some studies in younger women and men have failed to find an association (31, 34, 35).

Most dietary guidelines currently recommend that people limit sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. However, most people consume a lot more than that (36, 37).

One of the best ways to decrease your sodium intake is to cut back on packaged, processed foods (38).

Bottom Line: If you're prone to forming kidney stones, restricting sodium may help. Sodium may increase the amount of calcium you excrete in urine.

7. Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Magnesium is an important mineral that many people don't consume in sufficient amounts (39).

It is involved in hundreds of metabolic reactions within your body, including energy production and muscle movements (40).

There is also some evidence that magnesium may help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation (35, 41, 42).

Exactly how this works is not fully understood, but it's been suggested that magnesium may reduce oxalate absorption in the gut (43, 44, 45).

That being said, not all studies agree on the matter (30, 34).

The RDI for magnesium is 400 mg per day. If you want to increase your dietary magnesium intake, avocados, legumes and tofu are all good dietary sources.

To get the maximum benefits, consume magnesium along with the foods you eat that are high in oxalate. If that's not an option, try to consume the source of magnesium within 12 hours (45).

Bottom Line: Some studies show that increasing your magnesium intake may help decrease oxalate absorption and reduce the risk of kidney stones.

8. Eat Less Animal Protein

A diet high in animal protein sources, such as meat, fish and dairy, is associated with a higher risk of kidney stones.

A high intake of animal protein may increase calcium excretion and decrease levels of citrate (46, 47).

In addition, animal protein sources are rich in purines. These compounds are broken down into uric acid and may increase the risk of forming uric acid stones (48, 49).

All foods contain purines, but in different amounts.

Kidney, liver and other organ meats are very high in purines. Plant foods, on the other hand, are low in these substances.

Bottom Line: A high intake of animal protein may increase your risk of developing kidney stones.

Take Home Message

If you've had a kidney stone, you're very likely to develop another one within 5–10 years. The good news is that certain dietary measures may help reduce this risk.

You can try increasing your fluid intake, consuming foods rich in certain nutrients, eating less animal protein and avoiding sodium, to name a few.

Just a few simple measures may go a long way in preventing painful kidney stones.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.

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