Thank God I’ve never had the experience of passing kidney stones! I often hear people describe the experience as excruciating, intermittent, radiating pain (the description of childbirth, if you ask me), vowing to do whatever humanly possible, to avoid ever having to go through such a painful ordeal again.
“The average American diet, government studies show us, provides only 40%—less than half the magnesium that we all need in a day. So almost everybody is low!” ~ Sherry A. Rogers, M.D, Author of Wellness Against All Odds
So, what are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are hard masses formed in the kidneys which can become trapped in the urinary passage. The major types of kidney stones are calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, magnesium ammonium phosphate, uric acid, and cystine. However, according to research, about 85 percent of kidney stones formed by adults in the U.S. are calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate stones, with uric acid making up the rest of the 5-10 percent. This article will mainly focus on calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate stones.
We all have kidney stones within our bodies but symptoms do not appear until they become dislodged, and can include some or all of the following symptoms – excruciating lower back pain radiating across the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal distention. Diagnosis is made from urinalysis and x-ray, or ultrasound.
Possible causes of kidney stones
The presence of excess calcium in the body is a causative factor and is directly caused by magnesium deficiency – magnesium dissolves calcium. Kidney stones have also been linked to dietary patterns such as low fibre intake, high intake of highly refined carbohydrates (including sugar and fructose), alcohol, animal protein, fat, high calcium low magnesium, vitamin D-enriched milk products, coffee, and black tea.
The Magic of Magnesium
Whenever there is a deficiency in magnesium there is an excess in calcium. According to Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., author of The Magnesium Miracle,
“…urinary magnesium concentrations are abnormally low in relation to urinary calcium concentrations in more than 25% of patients with kidney stones. A supplementary magnesium intake corrects this abnormality and prevents the recurrence of stones. Magnesium seems to be as effective against stone formation as diuretics. …Magnesium, possibly added to drinking water, may well play a role in the primary prevention of renal (kidney) calcium stones.”
In today’s influential society, so much attention is being emphasized on the importance of consuming calcium (thanks to the mega dairy industry), that we continue to ignore the importance of magnesium in the equation. Kidney stones can be prevented by consuming 300mg of magnesium twice a day, and 50-100mg of Vitamin B6 per day.
Magnesium helps to keep calcium dissolved in the blood so it will not crystallize and form kidney stones, and when used in conjunction with vitamin B6, has an even greater effect. By adding these supplements to your daily routine, much can be done to prevent the recurrence of kidney stones without the need of spending thousands of dollars on sonic blasting or surgical procedures down the road. The choice is yours so choose wisely.
- Drink lots of water – this will dilute calcium oxalate and prevent them from forming crystals. As a rule of thumb, your ideal water intake per day should be half your body weight in ounces. Example, if you weigh 150 lbs then your ideal intake of water should be 75 oz per day.
- Increase intake of fibre - complex carbohydrates, and green leafy vegetables.
- Limit high-oxalate-content food – reduce as much can be tolerated.
- Reduce salt and caffeine intake
- Avoid soft drinks (aka sodas, pop) – I could give you tons of reasons to avoid sodas but this one is especially important: phosphoric acid causes the body to pull out calcium from the bones to deposit in the kidneys.
- Avoid grapefruit – research shows grapefruit increases the risk of stone by 44 percent, so it is best to avoid if you are prone to kidney stones.
I hope this information was helpful. If you would like to learn more about the magnificent magnesium and its effects, I highly recommend reading The Magnesium Miracle, by Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. It is written in layman’s term and is a great place to start if you have or know of someone with kidney stones.
Yours in health,
Martine ~ holistic nutritionista
Bowden, J. The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth, Fair Winds Press 2011
Dean, C. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books 2007
Mateljan, G. The World’s Healthiest Foods, Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating, 2006
Murray, M. Pizzorno, J. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Three Rivers Press 1998