Health Tips Tuesday: preventing symptomatic kidney stones

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(WGGB/WSHM) – A new Mayo Clinic study has found that enriching diets with foods that are high in potassium and calcium may prevent recurrent symptomatic kidney stones.

Dr. John Lieske, co-author of the study and director of the O’Brien Urology Research Center, joined Western Mass News to discuss the study’s findings and how diet plays an important role in preventing symptomatic kidney stones.

What did this study entail?

Lieske: “We have been following kidney stones for over 10 years here in Minnesota. We recruited people who had thier first kidney stone and those who did not have a history of kidney stones. We did a diet history and so, this particular study, we are looking back now at stone formers compared to those who don’t have kidney stones and who didn’t have a kidney stone and those who recurring ones.”

Why does enriching diets with foods high in calcium and potassium prevent recurrent symptomatic kidney stones?

Lieske: “Well, I think that we can make some speculation that getting enough calcium is important and prevents kidney stones as opposed to making them worse. I feel that part of it is due to oxilate, meaning if you getting are more calcium in your diet, you don’t absorb as much oxilate, which 80 percent of kidney stones is due to oxilate.”

Should people add more fruits and vegetables to their diets?

Lieske: “The potassium is a seperate issue, which comes from fruits and vegetables that citrate, but it’s two seperate factors: calcium and potassium.”

What is the main takeaway from the study in preventing recurrent symptomatic kidney stones?

Lieske: “Number one is getting a good amount of calcium, but get it from natural sources, compared to pills, so get your calcium two to three servings dairy a day, and three to four servings of fruits and veggies is also a good thing.”

Is adding more water to your diet suggested as well?

Lieske: “We didn’t really address that much here, but certainly there is more evidence. If you get more fluids, especially water, it will dilute out your urine and be a protective factor.”