Any person can be at a risk of some form of kidney stones. Calcium oxalate stones are the most prevalent type of kidney stones.
One out of ten people is becoming susceptible to some form of kidney stones and the studies show that 80% of those stones are caused by too much calcium in the bloodstream and urine, hence calcium oxalate stones, among other stones.
Without further ado let’s unpack what calcium oxalate stones are and the impact they have during urination and how they can be mitigated.
What are calcium oxalate stones
There are different types of kidney stones, according to studies calcium oxalate stones, are the most common kidney stones accounting for 80% of all the stones formed.
Kidney stones are the solid masses that form due to high concentration of some chemicals in the urine with little fluid to prevent the crystals from sticking together, these include: uric acid, calcium, oxalate, etc.
Citrate in the urine plays a vital role in preventing crystals to form stones, the inadequacy thereof may create a conditition in which new stones may develop.
Kidney stones are described as the most excruciating pain when they pass. This is due to the reason that a stone can be large enough to block the flow of urine as it moves through the urinary tract. The recurrence is likely to happen when you are susceptible to kidney stones.
Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in foods and can be excreted internally by the liver as well. Oxalate impairs the proper absorption of calcium in the intestinal tract due to calcium oxalate salts. When oxalate overaccumulates in the urine, it can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
Ideally, consume your oxalate rich foods together with foods rich in calcium. This way the oxalate will bind together with calcium during digestive process and will prevent urinary oversaturation with these substances.
Well, not all is doom and gloom, the person who have a history with some form of kidney stones can always consult their doctor to arrange a diet plan on how to limit foods rich with oxalate, as they have been linked to the increased risk of kidney stones including other health issues.
What causes the risk of calcium oxalate stones
There are certain factors which are associated with the increased risks of calcium oxalate stones formation. These includes:
- Certain diets such as too much sodium, oxalate and high animal protein can contribute to kidney stone formation.
- Medical conditions such as hyperparathyroidism among others, causes high levels of calcium in the bloodstream due to an overproduction of parathyroid hormone, this contributes to new stones development.
- Family and personal history, if you are prone to kidney stone its because you’ve developed a kidney stone before or its common in your family. This puts you at an increased risk to develop another kidney stone.
- Dehydration is the result of insufficient fluids in your diet, this can therefore create an environment conducive to kidney stone formation.
- Surgeries and digestive diseases inflammatory bowel disease and gastric bypass surgery impairs the absorption of calcium during a digestive process thereby contributing to the development of calcium oxalate stone.
- High body mass index, large waist and overweight has also been linked to increased risks of kidney stones.
Calcium oxalate stones and supplements
While supplements contrbute to our daily nutrients intake, its ideal to get those nutrients from foods as opposed to supplements.
Vitamin C is coverted to oxalate once consumed and taking too much vitamin C supplements can result in the overaccumulation of oxalate in the urine which leads to the development of new stones when combined with high amount of calcium.
On the other hand calcium supplements can lead to calcium overload in the urine. Studies have linked supplements to increased risk of kidney stones. Too much calcium in the urine can form crystals which may lead to calcium oxalate stones formation when bound to high levels of oxalate.
Vitamin D supplements have been linked to high levels of calcium in the blood and urine, they thus increase the risk of kidney stone development.
Consulting your healthcare provider before embarking on any supplements intake, may help.
Your doctor will assess your overall health, lifestyle and so forth to determine what is suitable for you, besides it always helps to make an informed decision about anything at all.
Foods rich in oxalate
Some oxalates come directly from the foods we consume whereas some are excreted internally by the body.
- Sesame seeds
- Swiss chard
- Seesame seeds
- Chocolate with cocoa
- Buckwheat flower
Foods low in oxalate
- Brocolli and cauliflower
- Onions and pepper
- Brown rice
The precautionary measures to keep calcium oxalate stones at bay
Prevention is always better than cure. It helps to create an environment that makes it harder for kidney stones to form.
- Drinking sufficient amount of water
Increase your urine volume, enough fluids in the urine will help dilute the waste products in the urine. When the urine is oversaturated with toxic waste, coupled with insufficient fluid, this result in the building up of crystals over time leading to kidney stones formation.
Citrate also plays a vital role in preventing crystals from clumping up in the urine, this way new stones will be prevented from being formed. It helps to include citrus fruits in your diet or drinks containing citrus, however take note of the sugar content in those drinks as too much sugar spikes the sugar levels in your blood.
- Limit your sodium intake
According to guidelines the RDA for sodium is 2300 mg for adults, unless you have some medical conditions in which you are required to restrict your sodium intake further than that. Too much sodium can result in calcium in the urine and when calcium overaccumulates in the urine, this can lead to the building up of crystals which results in the formation stones.
- Limit oxalate rich foods.
Oxalate rich foods are linked to increased risks of forming calcium oxalate stones. It helps to minimise the number of oxalate rich foods in your diet particularly if you are susceptible to kidney stones of course with the advise of your healthcare provider.
- Take your daily recommended amount of calcium
It’s worth noting that although calcium plays a vital role in maintaining the health of our bones, teeth and muscles, however an overload of calcium due to supplements contributes to the formation of calcium oxalate stone. Conversely, low calcium in the diet can cause high levels of urinary oxalate which consequently leads to new stones formation.
- Consume less animal protein
Certain diets such as animal protein when consumed in high amounts can result in the overaccumulation of uric acid which contributes to stones formation.
Too much animal protein can also reduce the amount of citrate in the urine which plays a vital role as an inhibitor to stones formation.
The bottom line
Oxalate rich foods should not be of concern especially when you are generally healthy. It also helps to take some preventive measures listed above to stay healthy.
The individuals who are prone to kidney stones including those with other medical conditions that require strict restrictions, should consult their doctor to help develop a diet plan that suits them after evaluating their overall health, diet and lifestyle.