Originally published May 7 2010
Drink to your kidney health with lemonade to avoid kidney stones
by S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) Kidney stones are solid pieces of material that form in a kidney. They can stay there or they may travel down the urinary tract until they are eliminated naturally. Unfortunately, kidney stones can also get stuck in the ureter, bladder or urethra. The result can be bleeding, blockage of urine flow and excruciating pain. Thankfully, there are natural ways to greatly reduce your risk of having this most common disorder of the urinary tract, including simply drinking lemonade.
If you've ever experienced the agony of having kidney stones stuck in your urinary tract, you know this is no minor problem. In fact, kidney stones can lead to serious infections and major surgery.
"Back and abdominal pain, blood in the urine, and nausea or vomiting, are the three classic symptoms of kidney stones," Roger L. Sur, MD, director of the University of California at San Diego Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center said in a press statement. "You don't have to have all three, but any of them will come on quickly and be hard to ignore. When you have extreme pain, you should see your doctor or go to an emergency room right away, especially if a fever is present. The presence of fever indicates that you may have an infection in your blood stream which can be life threatening."
Dr. Sur explained that kidney stones composed mostly of calcium can be caused by too much salt in the diet. Excess salt stimulates calcium excretion in urine and that can lead to stone formation. Another type of fairly common kidney stones is formed from uric acid, a waste product that may be caused by a high-protein diet.
Treatment for kidney stones can involve drugs, surgery, or a shock wave procedure called lithotripsy that breaks up the stones. But even after medical treatment, they can come back. "There is a 50 percent chance of getting another stone within five to ten years if you've already had one," Dr. Sur explained.
Of course the best strategy for kidney stones is to avoid getting them in the first place. Reducing dietary salt, excess calcium and protein and drinking plenty of fluids can slash the risk of kidney stones – and now it turns out lemonade can help, too. In a recent study headed by Dr. Sur, lemonade therapy consisting of drinking four ounces of reconstituted lemon juice in two liters of water per day was found to significantly decrease the rate of kidney stone formation from 1.00 to 0.13 stones per patient.
So what is it about lemonade that zaps kidney stones? Dr. Sur pointed out in a media statement that lemons have the highest concentration of citrate of any citrus fruit -- and citrate naturally inhibits kidney stone formation. Other fruit juices not only have less citrate but they are also sometimes supplemented with calcium and oxalate, the very compounds that make up the majority of kidney stones.
Natural health tip: skip homemade or store bought lemonade if it's loaded with sugar. Instead, sweeten lemonade to taste with healthier choices -- honey or stevia.
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