Background

The kidneys act like a filter to pull things out of the blood for disposal in the urine. When some minerals/compounds get too concentrated, they can actually crystallize, forming stones (just like if you add too much sugar to a glass of water — it can no longer stay dissolved).

Although the same compound that causes gout by crystallizing in joints (uric acid) can also form stones, the most common stone is made of calcium and oxalate. When you pass a stone, the doctor will test it to see what it’s made of (they may have you urinate through a strainer to catch the stone).

Treatment

General Diet Advice

Calcium ok, tea and coffee not

Eating food with calcium does NOT increase your risk of these stones (it may actually lower it), but foods that create oxalate can (e.g., tea, coffee, beans, chocolate). Before stopping these, do the other treatments. Only stop these foods if the stones come back after treatment.

Drink water

Stay well hydrated! The more dilute your urine, the less likely it is that things will crystallize out.

Recommended Supplements

Magnesium and vitamin B6

Taking magnesium and vitamin B6 has been shown to decrease the production of calcium stones by over 90% in repeated studies. Taking a good multi-nutrient powder is a good way to get these. Consider adding an additional 200 mg of magnesium at dinner to modestly increase its effectiveness, as magnesium's effectiveness at preventing stones may increase if it is taken with a meal. 

Contributor: 

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is a board certified internist and author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z,” which was ranked in the top 10 of all health/wellness downloads on iTunes. Dr. Teitelbaum is the author of the perennial bestseller From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery Penguin), which has sold over half a million copies; Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill); Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press); the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! series (Fair Winds Press);  Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press); The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution (Penguin/Avery); and his latest, The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction (Fair Winds Press, 2015).