DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I have problems with kidney stones and I recently discovered that they are calcium oxalate stones. Although I have stopped consuming all dairy products, I know I need calcium as I age for bone health. Would it help to add almond milk or another type of vegetable milk? How can I take care of both my kidneys and my bones?
ANSWER: You seem to care about milk and others dairy products is that his kicks it can stimulate the development of more kidney stones. But people who have had calcium oxalate kidney stones need a certain amount of calcium in their diet.
Although almond milk and other vegetable milks, such as soy milk, contain calcium, they also contain oxalate. People with a history of calcium oxalate stones are often warned to avoid foods rich in oxalates. Cow’s milk doesn’t have oxalate, but it does have the calcium and many other beneficial nutrients you need, so it’s a good choice for you.
Kidney stones made of calcium oxalate are formed when urine contains more of these substances than fluid that can be diluted in urine. When this happens, calcium and oxalate form crystals. At the same time, urine may have no citrate, a substance that prevents crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for the formation of kidney stones.
It may seem logical that when calcium and oxalate form kidney stones, both should be avoided. But calcium is an essential part of your diet. Your body needs it not only to keep bones healthy, but also to regulate blood pressure and help with muscle function. Oxalate is a natural substance found in many foods. Some fruits and vegetables, in addition to nuts and chocolate, have high levels of oxalate. The liver also produces oxalate.
A key to preventing the growth of calcium oxalate stones is to get the right amount of calcium: 1,200 milligrams a day. If you have calcium-rich foods or drinks at every meal, reduce the amount of oxalate absorbed into the bloodstream, reducing the risk of new kidney stones.
For the best stone prevention, calcium should come food. If good sources of calcium are taken into account, dairy products are on the list. Check the nutrition data label to find out how much calcium is in these and other beverages and foods. But if you don’t consume milk or yogurt at meals, talk to your healthcare provider about calcium supplements or pills.
In addition to getting the right amount of calcium, you can make other important changes to reduce the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones. It is important to drink plenty of water and other fluids. Drink 8 to 10 ounces of fluid every hour you are awake or at least 2 gallons a day. The easiest way to know if you drink enough fluid is to look at the urine. It should be almost clear.
Another important change is to reduce sodium intake. Excess dietary sodium leads to higher levels of calcium in the urine, which increases the risk of calcium-based kidney stones. Goal of less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium a day. Read the labels to find out how much sodium is in the foods you eat and drink.
You may also need to reduce oxalate-rich foods. Unfortunately, the oxalate content does not appear on food labels. The highest amounts of oxalate are found in certain fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods, such as beans, nuts, and cereals or bran breads. Meats, eggs, dairy products, white rice and pasta are generally low in oxalate. If your healthcare provider recommends limiting oxalate-rich foods, consider meeting with a dietitian to evaluate your diet.
Sugar and fat can increase your risk of developing kidney stones, so limiting them to your diet will also help. Finally, too much meat, chicken or fish can increase the likelihood of kidney stones. Limit these foods to no more than 3 ounces at lunch and 3 ounces at dinner.
For more information on dietary changes that may reduce the risk of kidney stones, talk to your reference professional or a dietitian. He or she can guide your dietary choices to reduce the risk of stones and still get the nutrition you need.
—Katherine Zeratsky, RDN, Endocrinology / Nutrition, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
May 2021 Clinic News Network. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Citation: Q and A: Kidney Stones and Calcium (2021, July 8) Retrieved July 8, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-kidney-stones-calcium.html
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