The tubes within the kidneys allow formed urine to pass out into the bladder. Kidney stones are crystallised build ups of minerals in the kidney tubes. There are four types:
o Calcium stones in the form of calcium oxalate or phosphate.
o Uric acid stones. Formed from excess uric acid, a byproduct of certain foods including animal proteins.
o Infection stones (Struvite) Urinary tract infection tends to alter the chemical balance of the urine. This causes stones to form from ammonium, magnesium and/or phosphate salts.
o Cystine stones. Genetic fault in amino acid transportation leaves large amounts of cystine in the urine, which causes the formation of cystine stones that are difficult to treat.
This is a very painful condition. However, there is actually a precursor of kidney stones called Kidney sludge. Kidney sludge happens because crystalline materials accumulate over time and obstruct the flow of urine and damage the kidneys. If there are enough minerals in the mix, the sludge actually forms into rough stones that can rip and tear at the ureters on their way out of the kidneys.
Over the past ten years, the numbers of kidney problems, including stones, has exploded. This has brought about the need for better information about how to deal with the condition without necessarily becoming a hospital statistic.
Depending on where they are located, stones can cause various long lasting infections and even permanent kidney or bladder damage. The real danger from kidney stones lies in their unpredictability and potential for damage. It is vital that you dissolve kidney stones quickly, and not just because they hurt so much! You have to break down the stones so that they are small enough to pass to the outside world without getting stuck.
Steps to beat the Stones
1. Kidney stones are held together by a sticky substance known as mucin. Mucin is a large protein molecule. If you take proteolytic enzymes in between meals, there will be extra enzymes in the body to deny the stones the glue content. If they form at all they will be smaller; and smaller stones hurt less, and can be passed more easily.
2. There are general changes in your diet which can be beneficial no matter what the kidney stone was made of. To increase the absorption of calcium and reduce the risk of calcium stones consider taking a magnesium supplement. Magnesium can also have a relaxing effect on the body.
3. Finding sources of calcium that are from green vegetables will help prevent calcium stones as well. Kale contains good amounts of bioavailable calcium.
4. Take Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) supplements. Vitamin K2 supports calcium metabolism and actively prevents calcium from being deposited in unnecessary places including the blood vessels. This will also support other body systems such as the heart and improve general health.
5. Cut down your meat intake. Individuals who are susceptible to uric acid stones should lessen their intake of animal proteins. High animal protein consumption can accelerate formation of uric acid and calcium in the urine, causing a greater risk of developing uric acid stones.
6. Cut down intake of rhubarb and spinach because they contain oxalates. Other oxalate-rich foods include chocolate, tea, cola, parsley, peanuts and citrus fruit.
7. Increase vitamin A intake which is vital for the health of your urinary tract. Recent studies have linked vitamin A deficiency and kidney stones. Foods rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, broccoli and carrots. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin A for healthy adults is 5,000 iu, which can be met through a balanced diet. Please be careful with vitamin A intake as the body does not excrete the excess, which can be toxic.
8. Improve your intake of the B vitamins. This may actually lower the oxalate levels in the blood, thereby minimising the risk of stone formation. Vitamin B6 is particularly important, but be aware of the synergy between these vitamins. It is advisable to take B6, B12 and folate together.
9. Drink plenty of water. By drinking at least four pints of pure water each day, your body will be able to flush your bladder effectively, preventing kidney stones.
10. It is sometimes difficult to measure water intake. In such a case please keep an eye on your urine output. It is advisable to make sure you are urinating 1.2 to 1.5 litres or 40 to 45 ounces daily. A daily water intake below 1litre is too small.
Finally, kidney stones risk can also be reduced by consuming juniper berries or adding lemon juice to your water. Lemon juice helps prevent crystallisation in the kidneys. Teas such as thyme tea and knotgrass tea are good for dissolving mineral build-up in the kidneys as well.