How can I prevent calcium stones?
What kind of calcium stones and where? Prevention is slightly different depending on the kind of calcium stones and where in the body they are located. Your doctor will give you clear guidelines. Assuming you are talking about calcium oxalate stones in the kidney, the most common kind, the suggestions are:
How to prevent calcium stones
Once more, the key seems to be a balanced diet with a little of everything and not too much of anything.
Drink plenty of liquid - Water is best; do try to make water half of all liquid you drink in a day. Fruit juices, lemon or lime sodas and ginger ale are acceptable. Limit coffee and colas to 1-2 cups a day combined as caffeine may cause lose of fluid. Avoid tea because is high in oxalates and these raise the risk of developing stones.
Limit food high in oxalates – Rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, chocolate, beets, nuts, wheat bran and tea seem to be the worst offenders among them. Other leafy vegetables such as spring or winter greens, kale or Swiss chard, other berries, yams, sweet potatoes or beans are also high in oxalates but are cited as a better option.
Limit or avoid food with added sugar – Sugar has been cited as a risk factor for calcium stones, so limit sugar in home cooking and avoid packaged food. Breakfast cereals, a can of cola a can of baked beans, or the fries that come with your burger have added sugar.
Limit sodium – Reducing sodium in food also reduces the amount of calcium eliminated through the kidneys, therefore the risk of calcium stones in the kidneys.
High protein is a risk – Proteins are metabolized into acids phosphorus. The natural buffer for these acids and phosphorus is calcium extracted from the bones. Any excess calcium in the bloodstream will be filtered in the kidney. A diet high in protein is associated with less bone density and stones.
Avoid vitamin C in large doses – No supplements without talking to your doctor first. The body produces oxalates when using vitamin C and oxalates increase the risk of calcium stones. Get your vitamin C from a glass of freshly squeezed, home made orange juice or lemonade, and get some protection too, as citric acid competes with oxalic acid for calcium decreasing the risk of any calcium oxalate deposit in the kidney.
Get more insoluble fiber – Insoluble fiber combines with calcium and it is then eliminated with the stool and does not need to go through the kidney so there is less risk of calcium stones in the kidney.
Get enough calcium in your diet – Research suggest that a diet low in calcium has a higher risk of kidney stones. Calcium binds with oxalates in food and a diet low in calcium will leave too many of these available to be absorbed in the bloodstream. Oxalates then will be filtered in the kidney. So the advice is not to eliminate calcium from your diet and keep a healthy intake.
Get enough vitamin D and vitamin K – Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption in the bone while vitamin K helps to maintain it there and keep it soft tissue – and the kidney is soft tissue, so are arteries. Vitamin K supports the action of vitamin D and slows loss of bone calcium. Vitamin D and vitamin D are partially produced in the body, so you are unlikely to need supplements - just be sure you get a little sunlight every day in spring and summer, and some yogurt to keep friendly bacteria healthy. Green leafy vegetables, carrots, beans, meat or grain are a good source of vitamin K but if you are limiting your intake because of oxalates or high protein risk factors, add some oily fish.
We do not know of any specific dietary recommendations to prevent gallbladder stones, although common sense leads to think that similar suggestions would be applicable, but we did read that there is some proof that losing weight too quickly is a risk factor for gallstones.