Prevent Kidney Stones Naturally
According to the National Kidney Foundation, every year, more than half a million Americans go to the emergency for kidney stone problems . Also, kidney stone prevalence has been increasing, rising from 3.8% in the late 1970s to 8.8% in the late 2000s, with men and women having a current risk of 19% and 9%, respectively . Interesting though, it that is someone has a kidney stone once, they have up to a 50% chance that they will have another within 5 to 10 years, according to research  .
A kidney stone forms when there is too much solid waste in the urine for it to be fully dissolved and eliminated through the urinary tract.
Think of kidney stone formation like this: If you have a warm glass of water, and you add salt to it, at first, the salt will dissolve entirely. However, if you keep adding salt to the water, the salt will begin not to dissolve, and you will have a salt pile on the bottom of the glass, but if you add more water, it will start to disappear. The point where the solid will no longer dissolve is known as the fluid’s saturation point.
This rough illustration can be applied to the formation of kidney stones; kidney stones begin to form when there is either too much waste to dissolve or not enough liquid.
Kidney stones are made from four materials; about 80% of kidney stones are calcium oxalate, with the rest being uric acid, struvite, and cystine, respectively decreasing in frequency  .
Withal, though, there are natural lifestyle modifications that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing kidney stones, which has been backed by published research. *
As depicted in the illustration above, adding more water to a saturated fluid will help additional material dissolve. Therefore, staying very hydrated can help calcium stay dissolved and prevent kidney stones from enlarging  since low fluid intake is one of the most significant risk factors in kidney stone formation .
As noted by studies published in 1996 and 2012, water can be very useful to reduce the risk of kidney stones  , with the 1996 study concluding, “We conclude that urine volume is a real stone risk factor in nephrolithiasis [kidney stones] and that a large intake of water is the initial therapy for prevention of stone recurrences” .
Intake of additional beverages has been associated with a decreased risk of kidney stones, such as coffee, tea, and various juices  . However, soda consumption has consistently been associated with an increased risk of kidney stones, regardless if it is sugar-free .
Soda seems to increase the risk in two ways. First, soda if very high in fructose (sugar), which increases the excretion of calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, according to 2008 and 1995 studies. Second, soda contains phosphoric acid, regardless if the soda is sugar-free, and phosphoric acid has been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones .
While a high intake of most fluids seems to decrease the risk of kidney stones, leaning towards boosting water consumption and then increasing other low-sugar fluids, seem to be most useful.
Increase Salt Intake
If you are having difficulty increasing your fluid intake, scientists have found that increasing salt intake can cause increased consumption of fluid.
A 2009 study found that supplementing people with an extra 3,000mg of sodium per day, which totals 5,300mg, has found to lower the risk for calcium oxalate stone formation .
Again, increased sale intake causes an increased intake of fluid hereat, increases urinary output, which reduces the supersaturation of calcium oxalate in urine .
Restrict Intake of Oxalates
According to the University of Michigan, foods high in oxalates (oxalic acid) include beans, berries, chocolate, coffee, nuts, oranges, soda, spinach, sweet potatoes, and wheat brain . The human body also produces a significant amount of oxalic acid.
Oxalic acid can bind to other minerals, such as calcium, and form crystals, leading to kidney stone formation. Further, a high intake of oxalates can increase oxalic acid excretion in the urine, which can be troublesome since 80% of kidney stones are from calcium oxalate.
Researchers in 2014 even recommended a low-oxalate diet to individuals who have hyperoxaluria, which is a condition where an individual has high oxalate levels in their urine .
While it is not recommended you cut these foods out entirely because many of these foods are incredibly healthy and densely packed with nutrients, only limiting their intake can make a difference.
Get Enough Dietary Calcium
Firmly, this is not concerning supplemental calcium, only dietary calcium.
While supplemental calcium has been associated with a higher chance of developing kidney stones , dietary calcium, such as dairy, has been shown to lead to a decreased risk of developing kidney stones    .
The reason being that dietary calcium binds to oxalate in the diet, which prevents oxalate from being absorbed, so it does not have to pass through the urinary tract.
In a 2002 study, researchers conducted a five-year randomized trial comparing the effect of two diets in 120 men with recurrent calcium oxalate stones and hypercalciuria, which is excess calcium in the urine. The researchers found that a diet containing 1,200mg of dietary calcium per day reduced the men’s risk of developing kidney stones .
Increase Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is one of those compounds that a lot of people do not get nearly enough of, and I have examined the nutrient thoroughly in “Magnesium: Deficiency Effects and Positive Benefits.”
Magnesium is used as a cofactor in over 300 bodily processes, including “protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation” . However, it is challenging for doctors to measure magnesium levels because only 1% of magnesium is in the blood .
Numerous publications have found that magnesium helps to prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones    .
For example, in a 2004 study, researchers investigated mineral water rich in calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate on urine composition and the risk of calcium oxalate crystallization . The researchers found that the mineral water resulted in favorable changes in urinary PH, magnesium, and citrate excretion, inhibitors of calcium oxalate stone formation, all of which offset increased calcium excretion .
It was also noted to be beneficial to increase magnesium intake with foods that are high in oxalates.
These five techniques have been shown to help decrease the chance of developing kidney stones. However, because kidney stone formation can be primarily attributed to lower-than-recommended water intake, having adequate water intake seems to be the first step in natural prevention.
Two of the materials mentioned in this article – salt and magnesium – are available through Healthmasters, if you are interested.
Healthmasters sells a high-quality, mineral-rich salt that is mined beginning thirty feet below the ground from a salt deposit in Utah.
Also, Healthmasters offers a wide variety of magnesium-related products, including Healthmasters' Magnesium Dead Sea Salts for topical use and Healthmasters’ Magnesium Brain Food for an internal purpose, to name a couple.
If you have any questions about these products, please feel free to call our office at 800.726.1834.
* This article is for informational purposes only. By providing the information herein, Healthmasters and its associates are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any disease or medical condition. Before beginning any natural, integrative, or conventional treatment or regime, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional