Sunday, September 19, 2010

You Too Can Prevent Kidney Stones

This week, NPR broadcast an excellent story on how to avoid kidney stones. I was pleased to see that the reporter quoted a researcher whose work showed that eating and drinking dairy foods can actually lower your chances of getting a kidney stone. Other research studies over the past ten years have shown the same thing but few doctors have really picked up on this and still tell their patients to avoid milk, cheese, and yogurt if they've had kidney stones. Not only is avoiding milk bad news for your bones and blood pressure, cutting out milk doesn't lower your chances of forming stones.

We're not exactly sure just how milk lowers kidney stone formation but the belief is that the calcium in the milk binds with oxalates - natural phytochemicals in foods that can cause kidney stones. But the research does not show the same results with using calcium supplements. So I always recommend that my patient with a hisotry of stone formation get more of their calcium from milk and milk foods and not rely too heavily on calcium supplements. Eating a more plant based diet may also help you keep kidney stones away.

You can read the NPR story here: "This Too Shall Pass: Avoiding Kidney Stones Through Diet".

Beth Kitchin, MS, RD
Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham