Painful Kidney Stones – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 44
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph
Kidney stones are small clumps of minerals in the urinary tract that cause great pain. Generally, kidney stones range in size from a grain of salt to the big ones, which can be as large as a kernel of corn. Both men and women can develop kidney stones but they are more common in men. Genes, diet, dehydration, some drugs, illness, or previously having a kidney stone all impact your risk. Most stones pass on their own, but medical procedures can be used to remove some kidney stones. There are some simple steps that can cut your risk of developing a kidney stone in half but for some, it’s not so easy. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the cause of kidney stones?
Most kidney stones form when the urine becomes too concentrated, allowing minerals like calcium to crystallize and stick together. The most common stone is a calcium oxalate stone. Diet can play a big role in developing this stone or a very acidic diet can truly raise the risk of this stone.
Your blood has to be slightly alkaline in a very narrow alkaline range. If your blood becomes acidic, you go into a coma or worse. To prevent this, your body borrows minerals from your bone to maintain the alkalinity of your blood. This increases the level of calcium in your urine. Urine is typically slightly acidic but for those who follow an acidic diet, this makes the excess calcium in the urine crystallize and clump together to create sediment and (if there is enough oxalate) clump into a stone.
It’s easy to keep your blood alkaline; eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, skip the sugar, which includes soda. Not drinking enough water is a definite risk and just drinking sufficient water reduces your risk of a kidney stone by 50%. So, anything that dehydrates you can increase the risk of a stone, which includes diuretic drugs used to treat high blood pressure. Eating too much salt is a risk – salt binds to calcium clumping it together.
Genes can be blamed to a degree for the connection between dehydration or excessive salt intake with developing a kidney stone. A common genetic variation is a gene called claudin-14, which has been linked to a roughly 65% increased risk of getting kidney stones. Typically, the claudin-14 gene is not active in the kidney. When claudin-14 is idled, the kidney’s filtering system works like it’s supposed to. Essential minerals in the blood like Calcium and Magnesium pass through the kidneys and are reabsorbed back into the blood, where they are transported to cells to carry out basic functions of life.
But, when people eat a diet very high in calcium or salt and don’t drink enough water, it leads to an increase in the gene’s activity and this prevents calcium from re-entering the blood and concentrates in the urine, which leads to a stone.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
Symptoms of a stone are abdominal or back pain (known as renal colic). Renal colic usually begins sporadically but then becomes constant and can lead to nausea and vomiting. The site of pain can change as the stone moves through the urinary tract. Some small stones pass through the kidney and urinary tract with little discomfort, while larger ones can block the flow of urine and impair kidney function. Kidney stones can also result in blood in the urine (hematuria) or kidney or urinary tract infections. Unusually large stones or stones that are difficult to pass can be medically removed.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
Cut back on salt; too much salt activates a gene that leads to kidney stones. Besides, excess salt squeezes your blood vessels leading to high blood pressure. Additionally, salt can be toxic to your healthy bacteria, as these good players for your health die off your blood sugar will increase so besides salt contributing to kidney stone formation, it also raises your blood pressure and increases your risk of diabetes. Interestingly, eating certain foods such as broccoli doesn’t lead to kidney stones unless it is accompanied by too much salt. So, it’s really not the oxalate in the vegetables that is the true source. As far as calcium goes, consuming too little calcium causes kidney stones so it’s not really the calcium either.
Drink more water; dehydration activates the same gene as salt that leads to kidney stones and just drinking water cuts the risk of a kidney stone in half.
Consume more Potassium and more Magnesium – This alkalizes your diet. Sufficient potassium in your diet cuts your risk of a kidney stone by about 50%. Unfortunately, only about 2% of the American population gets the amount of potassium recommended by the government from their diet. For Magnesium, only about 30% of all Americans consume enough. Magnesium is the glue in your bone that captures calcium, cementing it onto the collagen superstructure of your bone. Without Magnesium, bone crystals enlarge and calcium migrates out of your bone. This can lead to bone loss and kidney stones.
InVite® Health has developed an Alkalizer Powder to help compensate for this. It has to be mixed in water so that’s a help but it supplies plenty of potassium and magnesium. These minerals help keep your blood alkaline so minerals do not have to be borrowed from your bone to maintain alkalinity; this helps prevent the excessive loss of calcium from your bones, that would wind up in your urine and also of course this supports bone health. There is plenty of both potassium and citrate in Alkalizer Powder; doctors often prescribe Potassium Citrate to prevent kidney stone formation.
Doctors sometimes also prescribe sodium citrate to prevent kidney stones but this makes no sense to me based on the effect of sodium-chloride on genes related to kidney stone formation. Our acidic diet with lots of grains, meat, sugar and alcohol, causes bone loss, kidney stones, but also muscle loss so these minerals, the potassium and Magnesium in Alkalizer Powder, by securing alkalinity and by making it easier for our system to balance the pH of various physiological fluids around our body helps many tissues/ bone, muscle, and kidneys.
Cut back on phosphate; calcium pyrophosphate, also known as pseudo-gout, is a somewhat common stone and phosphate comes largely from meat and cans of cola – the soda, cola, is loaded with phosphate. Cutting back on meat and soda helps prevent kidney stones.
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