For those who have suffered from kidney stones, the experience is not one that you would wish on anyone. They cause the type of pain that some rate as highly as childbirth. Patients miss time from work, and rack up healthcare costs for themselves and their employer. New research shows that drinking wine and beer may reduce kindey stones in the body.
Dr. Pietro Manuel Ferraro at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome and Dr. Gary Curhan at Harvard reviewed data from 194,095 patients who not previously suffered from kidney stones, for an average of eight years. The subjects all reported what they drank, and how many kidney stones they had.
Click here for a list of 5 ways to reduce the risk of kidney stones
The study only counted people who experienced symptoms from stones, and not from x-rays or CT Scans. Symptoms like pain or blood in the patients urine was what was evaluated.
Researchers evaluated several different types of beverages including soda, beer, wine, juice and other drinks, so see which of these if any showed positive results in preventing kidney stones.
From the beverages evaluated, the ones with increased risk of kidney stones were sugar-sweetened cola and non-cola drinks, artificially sweetened non-cola drinks and fruit punch.
Those associated with decreased risk of stones: caffeinated coffee (33 percent decreased risk), decaffeinated coffee (16 percent), tea (11 percent).
The large and impressive results that I was most interested in for decreased risk of kidney stones were for wine and beer. Red wine (31 percent), white wine (33 percent), beer (41 percent), and orange juice (12 percent). Apple juice and grapefruit juice showed no correlation.
Patients who get kidney stones have been traditionally told to drink “more fluids.” But as you can see from the numbers above, not just any fluid should be consumed, for the purpose of dissolving and inhibiting kidney stones.
Sugary soda shows to make things worse, but coffee, tea, beer, wine, and orange juice correlate with positive results. If it were a sugar issue, why would orange juice be better than soda? Fructose, which is high in both, has been associated with kidney stones, because it increases the amount of calcium in our urine. Obesity is also associated with stones, though, so it may be part of a bigger lifestyle picture. Also, orange juice has citrate, which is good for keeping stones away.
Soda and cola is not the best thing for our bodies, and have almost zero value to our diets. Alcohol is a diuretic that flushes out our kidneys, which may be why this study saw “a reduced risk of stones in individuals who consumed higher amounts of wine and beer.”
Ways to reduce kidney stones
A diet high in sugar can set you up for kidney stones, since sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body by interfering with calcium and magnesium absorption. The consumption of unhealthy sugars and soda by children is a large factor in why children as young as age 5 or 6 are now developing kidney stones.
One South African study found that drinking soda exacerbates conditions in your urine that lead to formation of calcium oxalate kidney stone problems. Sugar can also increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in your kidney such as the formation of kidney stones.
Ways to reduce kidney stones: Water
Drink plenty of water.
The number one risk factor for kidney stones is not drinking enough water. If you aren’t drinking enough, your urine will simply have higher concentrations of substances that can form stones. NKUDIC recommends drinking enough water to produce at least 2 quarts of urine in every 24-hour period, but a simpler way to know if you are drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine; you want your urine to be a very light yellow.
Every person’s water requirement is different, depending on your particular system and activity level, but simply keeping your urine light yellow will go a long way toward preventing kidney stones. Remember to increase your water intake whenever you increase your activity, and when you’re in a warmer climate.
If you happen to be taking any multivitamins or B supplements that contain vitamin B2 (riboflavin), the color of your urine will be a very bright nearly fluorescent yellow and this will not allow you to use the color of your urine as a guide to how well you are hydrated.
Ways to reduce kidney stones: Magnesium
Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body, and deficiency of this mineral has been linked to kidney stones. It also plays an important role in your body’s absorption and assimilation of calcium, as if you consume too much calcium without adequate magnesium, the excess calcium can actually become toxic and contribute to health conditions like kidney stones.
Magnesium helps prevent calcium from combining with oxalate, which is the most common type of kidney stone.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium, and one of the simplest wa
Ways to reduce kidney stones: Exercise
You’re more prone to kidney stones if you’re bedridden or very sedentary for a long period of time, partly because limited activity can cause your bones to release more calcium. Exercise will also help you to resolve high blood pressure, a condition that doubles your risk for kidney stones. You can find my comprehensive exercise recommendations, including how to perform highly recommended Peak Fitness exercises, here.
Ways to reduce kidney stones : Calcium
n the past, kidney stone sufferers have been warned to avoid foods high in calcium, as calcium is a major component of the majority of kidney stones. However, there is now evidence that avoiding calcium may do more harm than good. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study of more than 45,000 men, and the men who had diets rich in calcium had a one-third lower risk of kidney stones than those with lower calcium diets.
It turns out that a diet rich in calcium actually blocks a chemical action that causes the formation of the stones. It binds with oxalates (from foods) in your intestine, which then prevents both from being absorbed into your blood and later transferred to your kidneys.