A fairly common and uncomfortable ailment is the development of kidney stones. These formations in the kidneys are often painful, disruptive, and a burden to deal with and treat. Fortunately, there are measures one can take to prevent them, including the use of certain natural supplements.
What Exactly Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are formations of crystallized minerals that develop inside the kidneys. There are different types of kidney stones that can occur, including calcium oxalate stones, cystine stones and uric acid stones.
Kidney stones usually present various symptoms, including pain in the abdomen or lower back, more frequent and painful urination, discolored urine, and even nausea & vomiting.
Stones that are small enough can be passed, and this is a process that can take 1-2 weeks, and be somewhat uncomfortable, even quite painful. Larger stones can take more time and difficulty to pass, and those which take four or more weeks might need medical intervention such as surgery or soundwave treatment to break up larger stones.
Causes and Prevention
Certain demographics are more liable to develop kidney stones; Kidney stones are most likely to occur in people between the ages of 20-50, and men are more likely than women to develop them. A family history of kidney stones also raises the likelihood that one develops a kidney stone. Health conditions such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and parathyroid disorders can also cause them.
Lifestyle and health factors play a major role in the development of kidney stones. Individuals who are obese or who do not drink enough water regularly are more likely to develop kidney stones. Those with a high-sodium diet are also more likely to develop kidney stones. Because of these factors, hydrating sufficiently on a daily basis and reducing your sodium intake can help prevent kidney stones.
Natural Supplements to Prevent Kidney Stones
The following supplements have the potential to help prevent kidney stones. If you have a family history of kidney stones, or believe that you might be at risk, then consider researching and trying these, accompanied by consultation with your physician. These should be used in tandem with a healthy diet and lifestyle that is conducive to preventing kidney stones.
Magnesium, specifically a high intake of this supplement, is associated with a decreased risk for kidney stones.This is because magnesium can help break down the crystallized bonds that hold stones together. It can also bind to oxalate, a compound that usually contributes to the formation of kidney stones, and prevent calcium oxalate formations.
Fish oil has been shown to help prevent kidney stones by decreasing urinary citrate and oxalate levels. By decreasing the presence of these compounds in the urine (within the kidneys), kidney stones are less likely to form.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to successfully help prevent the formation of kidney stones in those who have had recurring kidney stones.
Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of kidney stones by helping the body to properly process calcium. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body distribute calcium to the bones and teeth, where it belongs, rather than depositing it in soft tissue, which can increase the risk of kidney stones.
Kidney stones are uncomfortable and disruptive, but are fortunately preventable to a large extent. Staying hydrated and avoiding excess sodium are critical. Next to healthy lifestyle habits, supplementing with one or more of the above supplements can help prevent kidney stones. Talk to your doctor before taking any of these supplements for the first time.