For years my Grandma told me to drink Cranberry juice to prevent kidney stones. I knew cranberry juice was used for Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) but was Grandma also right about cranberry juice for kidney stones?
Kidney Stones are formed from small collections of minerals to form a solid mass. What you eat can increase your chance of kidney stone formation. Foods contains oxalic acid and calcium from fruits, vegetables and grains. Uric acid stones form from protein digestion. Most kidney stones pass by themselves but is cranberry juice good for kidney stones? Larger kidney stones are more painful and may get stuck when being passed, sticking to the ureter wall (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder). Cranberry juice prevents bacteria from sticking to cells lining your urinary tract, which may be beneficial in preventing stones from forming.
Other doctors have concluded that cranberry juice actually increases acidity in the urine and assist in the formation of calcium oxalate stones. These same doctors recommend to eat fruits and vegetables to decrease urine alkalinity
Calcium oxalate stone are the most common stones formed in the US, with an average of 80% of all stones being Calcium oxalate kidney stones. The University of Maryland Medical Center does not recommend drinking cranberry juice if you are susceptible to Calcium oxalate stone. However, they do recommend increasing fluid intake including cranberry juice to treat struvite stones.
According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse say that people who are susceptible to kidney stones should avoid cranberry juice because it contains oxalate which is known to cause kidney stones to form.
Doctors from NYU Langone Medical Center may recommend increasing the amount of cranberry juice to prevent kidney stones.
Struvite stones contain magnesium, ammonium, phosphate and calcium carbonate. These stones form from a bacterial infection that produces ammonia and ammonia increases urine alkalinity. Frassetto and Kohlstadt claim that acidic urine prevents struvite stones from forming. So lowering the pH balance in the urine will reduce the chance from struvite stones forming and cranberry juice lowers the pH in urine.
More research and studies are required to determine if cranberry juice can be used as a preventive measure. The benefits of cranberry juice as a treatment for the prevention of kidney stones may be debatable but Grandma will insists that it is beneficial.
Before self-medicating with cranberry juice to prevent kidney stones consult with your urologists.
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