Scientists from Mayo Clinic found that diets higher in calcium and potassium may help prevent recurrent symptomatic kidney stones.
A kidney stone is a solid, pebble-like piece of material that can form in one or both of the kidneys when high levels of certain minerals are in your urine.
Kidney stones rarely cause permanent damage if treated by a health care professional.
You may have a kidney stone if you feel a sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen, or groin; or have blood in your urine.
If you have a small stone that easily passes through your urinary tract, you may not have symptoms at all.
Health care professionals may treat your kidney stones by removing the kidney stone or breaking it into small pieces.
You may be able to prevent kidney stones by drinking enough water, changing the way you eat, or taking medicines.
You may be able to prevent future kidney stones by making changes in how much sodium, animal protein, calcium, and oxalate you consume.
In the current study, researchers aimed to see how diets could influence symptom recurrence in people with kidney stones.
They tested 411 people with local symptomatic kidney stones previously and 384 healthy people with no kidney stones.
These people were seen at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or Florida between January 1, 2009, and August 31, 2018.
The team examined dietary factors with a food frequency questionnaire during an in-person study visit.
The researchers found that lower dietary calcium, potassium, caffeine, phytate, and fluid intake were all linked to a higher risk of kidney stones.
Phytate or phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially bran and seeds.
Among people with kidney stones previously, the team found 73 experienced kidney stone recurrence during a 4-year of follow-up.
In addition, lower dietary calcium and lower potassium intake were predictive of kidney stone recurrence.
The team further found that lower dietary calcium intake was a strong predictor of kidney stone recurrence, but lower potassium intake only was a predictor of recurrence among those not taking thiazide diuretics or calcium supplements.
Thiazide diuretics are a type of diuretic (a drug that increases urine flow). They act directly on the kidneys and promote diuresis (urine flow).
Based on the findings, the team suggests that people with kidney stones in the past should eat a diet high in high in calcium and potassium. It may help prevent recurrent symptomatic kidney stones.
The research is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings and was conducted by Andrew Rule et al.
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