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How Best to Reduce the Risk of Getting Kidney Stones

Updated on December 4, 2014

Amaranth (this is a hybrid) contains a lot of zinc

Cashew nuts give selenium

Best ways to reduce risk of stone formation

To start with, let's consider the risk of getting kidney stones. We talk of risk fully aware that it is not the cause. In other words, the risk is not also the cause. Some people consider risk as if it were also the cause. Or they talk of risk then surreptitiously equate it as the cause. So, we can talk of risk factor.

A risk factor is a device used to predict the probability that a person will contract a disease (DeBakey, M., MD and A. Gotto, MD. The New Living Heart. 1997).

A stone is a precipitation of insoluble materials from the urine. Such precipitate may be composed of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. Size of stone may range from small grains, like table salt, to the size of chicken egg or larger. A kidney with a stone is usually infected accompanied by recurrent fever or that results in complications. The kidney itself may become damaged resulting in malfunction.

It is more beneficial to detect kidney stone early on. The usual treatment is by operation or laser technology that breaks up stones. An operation when stones are still small may save some parts of the kidney by means of partial nephrectomy. Small stones about the size of corn kernel are lodged between the "fingers" of the kidney, about one-third of it. In that case only the "fingers" may be cut away leaving some two-thirds of the kidney that can still work. In fact, that two-thirds is enough to make one live even if the other kidney had been removed, according to Dr. Eduardo Gatchalian, a surgeon in the Philippine General Hospital.

The risk of getting kidney stone involves the factors that predispose stone formation or contribute to stone formation, like deficiency of some nutrients, extra supply of minerals, defective metabolism, enzymes, health condition of liver and kidney, diet, lifestyle and environmental factors. It serves a lot if we knew some thresholds or standards. For example, consumption of table salt or sodium per day, glasses of water drank, and consumption of calcium.

Environmental factors that contribute to kidney stone include free radicals. I believe reduction of risk includes prevention. That is, we may place the range of risk from 0 to 10. So, if we aim for 0 reduction we are dealing with prevention which is the best approach to kidney stone.

Catch free radicals

One way of prevention is the catching of free radicals that results in the balance between free radicals and the catchers of free radicals. If there is such a balance, no oxidative stress occurs. This is a state where the population of free radicals overwhelm the catchers and free radicals inflict damage.

A free radical is an atom or a molecule or a fragment of a molecule with at least one free electron. This free electron or unpaired electron is unstable and to stabilize itself it grabs another electron of a molecule of a tissue resulting in injury. For example, free radicals injure the inner wall of a renal artery. That wall is easy to injure because it consists of only one layer of cell. It is also exposed to the blood that contains high density lipoprotein (or LDL, a component of cholesterol) that turns into lipid peroxide when oxidized. Lipid peroxide is a reactive oxygen species (ROS) that acts like free radicals; they grab electrons from molecules.

Nitrous oxide is a ROS from pollution. Ozone is a free radical from the atmosphere; it is also created by electrical sparks from gadgets and automobile starters. Superoxide is a free radical that is a by-product of the metabolism of sugar (glucose) into energy. A superoxide, catalyzed by superoxide dismutase, reacts with another superoxide and forms a hydrogen peroxide, a ROS. Superoxide has other ROS siblings like peroxynitrite, hydroxyl radical, and alkoxy radical.

Free radicals and ROS do two things that contribute to stone formation: injure the inner wall of arteries, and turn LDL into lipid peroxide or bad cholesterol. Macrophages, components of the immune system, engulf bad cholesterol and cling to walls of arteries (Sharma. H., MD. Freedom from Disease. 1993). Bad cholesterol deposits in renal arteries impair blood flow to the kidney. Less blood flow disrupts the work of kidney.

You will not get these tips on free radicals and ROS from a conventional doctor because conventional medicine does not consider free radicals and ROS as causes of disease. (I have several discussions of free radicals in my Hubs on cancer and heart disease.)

Take antioxidants

To reduce risk of getting kidney stones take antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E and B complex; coenzyme Q10, melatonin or precursors of melatonin (tryptophan, serotonin from fruits and vegetables). Melatonin, also an antioxidant, revitalizes liver and kidney. Vitamins C and E are also diuretics that promote urination that washes away stones. Niacin (B-3) boosts the production of high density lipoprotein (HDL) that escorts low density lipoprotein to the liver for disposal. Antioxidants catch free radicals and ROS.

Go for correct diet

Diet therapy excludes anchovies, legumes, sardines, roe, menu with blood, and internal organs. Limit salt intake. Take plenty of fluids. Take soluble fiber found in oat bran and fruits; soluble fiber catches bad cholesterol. Consume soya that supplies lecithin that make up 30% of liver and large portion of kidney. Consume onion and garlic that contain cysteine, an amino acid that prevents the formation of stones (Pressman, A., DC, Ph.D., C.C.N. and S. Buff. Glutathione, The Ultimate Antioxidant. 1998). NAC, a derivative of cysteine, prevents the formation of new kidney stone in a person who earlier had stone. A person who had had kidney stone is always prone to stone formation.

Take foods that contain precursors of glutathione.composed of glutamate, glycine, cysteine and cofactors selenium, zinc, lipoic acid and B2. The body makes lipoic acid. Glutathione make up the glutathione system consisting of glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and glutathione synthase. Glutathione peroxidase converts hydrogen peroxide into safe water. Glutathione reductase gives back to glutathione peroxidase the electron it used to dismantle hydrogen peroxidase into safe water. Glutathione synthase makes glutathione out of precursors from food. Selenium is an antioxidant by itself; it abounds in cashew (it also protects against prostate cancer). Zinc abounds in amaranth.

Take minerals and more

Magnesium (available in chlorophyll of vegetables) and scopoletin relax and expand arteries for more blood flow. Sodium must be supplied in moderate amounts to replenish those lost through body excretions like sweat. Take potassium supplements.

Change lifestyle

A change in lifestyle like quitting smoking and avoidance of alcohol also prevents kidney stone. X-rays and free radicals in smoke injure artery walls; alcohol harden arteries including the renal arteries. Moderate on fats, especially unsaturated ones. Avoid hydrogenated fats like margarine and icings of cakes. Pouch or hard boil chicken egg; don't break the shell that allow oxidation of the LDL in the egg yolk that turn into lipid peroxide.

Even if one had been operated on to remove stone, stone formation can recur if there had been no change in lifestyle.

Go for chelation therapy

Infusion chelation therapy consists in the administration of EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra- acetate) with minerals and vitamins in a solution. EDTA can be administered intravenously or orally. Oral chelation consists in eating food that can chelate like citric acid; red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables that neutralize singlet oxygen, a free radical. Chelation is the binding with and removal of minerals by a chelating agent. EDTA is a chelator, so are vitamins A, C, and E. The chelate, combination of the agent and minerals, are disposed off through the urine. Anthocyanin is the chelating agent found in colored food. EDTA is also an antioxidant. For more information on chelation therapy you may access the Internet with the entry chelation cranton frackelton.

EDTA induces bone formation that takes calcium from any source in the body like the plaque in heart artery (Cranton, E. MD. Bypassing Bypass. Updated second edition. 1995) and kidney stone

New entries as of October 16,2012.

I had partial nephrectomy 20 years ago. Stone formation has not recurred so far. I am into oral chelation of vegetables, fruits and vitamins. I eat a lot of cashew nuts and some amaranth. I quit smoking. I am having sessions in infusion chelation therapy for myocardial ischemia. This therapy prevents stone formation as well.


Submit a Comment
  • conradofontanilla profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Philippines


    I added new entries to this Hub today. I had partial nephrectomy 20 years ago. It was only since 2oo4 that I learned about chelation therapy.

  • Laceylinks profile image

    Mary Green 

    6 years ago from Alabama

    Very good information here. It's good to know that there are foods that chelate heavy metals from your body. Also, my father had kidney stones and had two surgical removals, living the rest of his life on meds to prevent them. Conventional medicine always goes the drug route, never telling you about foods that will accomplish the same task. $$$ Voted up and useful.

  • travel_man1971 profile image

    Ireno Alcala 

    6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

    LOL: Sorry for the spelling. Subukan mo lang po. I wrote a hub regarding Sambong and its benefits.

  • conradofontanilla profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Philippines

    Nice contribution to the Hub Kabayan. In fact, there are several herbs in our country, over 1000 of them, that are medicinal.

  • travel_man1971 profile image

    Ireno Alcala 

    6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

    You should also try Sambong, kabayan. As we ages,we are prone to this kind of health failure.

    As I stepped on my 40s, I am now following the tip of my mom to make it a habit to drink Sambong (Lakad-Bulan -err monnwalk--in Bicol term) at the early morn (say, 4:00AM) in order to clean our colon and was away free radicals inside our body.

  • conradofontanilla profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Philippines

    LDL is escorted to the liver by the HDL, so it helps that HDL is not too low in proportion to LDL. LDL turned lipid-oxy (short for lipid peroxide) and cemented by calcium can be eroded by citric acid by chelating the calcium. There is another explanation how calcium is taken out of stones and used for bone formation. During the time a calcium chelator is circulating and lowers the level of calcium, this low level incites the osteoblast to trigger bone formation. Such formation takes away calcium from any source in the body including kidney stone. This way, the amount of calcium in the urine does not increase because the calcium is used up in bone formation. Bone cells are periodically replaced as they undergo apoptosis or programmed cell death.

    The liver makes 75% of the cholesterol the body needs and only 25% can be manipulated by diet. That is why cholesterol per se is not much of a concern. It is the free radicals and ROS that turn cholesterol into bad cholesterol that is worrisome especially when it becomes part of an occlusion in the renal artery that blocks blood flow to the kidney. Less blood flow to the kidney causes it to malfunction.

  • Magdelene profile image


    7 years ago from Okotoks

    Hi Conrad, I am beginning to better understand the dreaded LDL. I went to my Doctor just yesterday and was told that my LDL is too high and was put on Crestor, that's another story. But, I'm guessing from what you have said that my LDL level could have quite a bit to do with my having kidney stones? Will the lemon juice also help with this LDL?

    My weight is not overly high, at most I could stand to lose 10 lbs but it is a factor that high LDL cholesterol runs in my family and none of us are more than 10 lbs overweight at most. I'm going to look into your suggestions and see if I can remedy my situation in a more natural way.

    Thank you for the helpful information, voted up and useful!

  • drajithkumar profile image


    7 years ago from Kerala, India



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