Archive for the ‘hydration’ Category

Dietary Changes To Prevent Kidney Stone

November 1, 2014

In the U.S., one in 10 men and women will develop a kidney stone. About 70% of men and women who have one kidney stone will develop a recurrent stone. This blog will discuss preventive measures to decrease the risk of recurrence.

Dilution is the Solution

The single most effective step to prevent recurrence is to increase your fluid intake. By drinking eight to ten glasses of liquid a day, you will dilute your urine, making it less concentrated. This will keep crystals from forming and reduce the likelihood of stone formation. Men and women who drink more than 8 glasses of water a day were less likely to have a kidney stone recurrence.

At least half of your fluid intake should be water. Although one cup of coffee or tea per day may slightly decrease the risk of stone formation, excessive intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or soda has been shown to increase the risk of stone recurrence.

Pay attention to your urine’s color. Dark urine usually indicates you are not getting enough fluid. The goal is consume enough fluids to turn your urine white or pale yellow.

Reduce Your Protein Intake

Diets high in animal protein (meat, eggs, cheese, etc) can increase levels of calcium, uric acid, and oxalate in the urine, all of which can increase the risk of calcium stone formation. Diets lower in animal protein and salt have been shown to lower calcium and oxalate in the urine. Low carb diets, generally high in protein and fat are not recommended for individuals with a history of calcium kidney stones. To help reduce your risk of calcium stone formation, eat less meat, and substitute a vegetarian meal a few times a week.

Deep Six the Salt

Studies have consistently shown that higher sodium (salt) intakes lead to increased calcium in the urine. Reducing sodium in the diet decreases urinary calcium levels. Many experts believe restricting sodium to 2000 mg\day while increasing fluid intake is one of the best ways of reducing calcium stone recurrence. High levels of sodium, however, are found in many prepared foods, and not just in the saltshaker. Try to reduce your intake of canned or processed foods, look for reduced sodium products, and avoid adding extra salt to food.

Eat Calcium-Rich Foods

The calcium we get from eating calcium rich foods, such as low fat milt and yogurt is not a problem for calcium kidney stone formers. Moderate intake of calcium-containing foods actually protects against stone formation by binding dietary oxalate and reducing oxalate levels in the urine. So do not eliminate calcium-rick foods from your diet.

Taking high does of some calcium supplements may increase your risk of stone formation. If your doctor has recommended you take a calcium supplement for bone health, chose one with calcium citrate. Calcium citrate helps inhibit stone formation.

Hesitate on the Oxalate

Your doctor may suggest that you decrease the amount of oxalate in your diet. Try to limit the amount of oxalate-rich foods particularly chocolate, cocoa, spinach (and other leafy greens) beets, strawberries, wheat germ, pecans, and soy.

See That You Don’t Take Too Much Vitamin C

Avoid high doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements. Generally, the amount of vitamin C found in a multivitamin is safe, but higher amounts (more than 500mg) from supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones by increasing the oxalate levels.

Don’t Inhibit Inhibitors

Citrate and magnesium are considered kidney stone inhibitors. Lemon juice has been found to increase the level of citrate in the urine. Nutritional supplements containing magnesium, potassium, and citrate may also help increase the concentrations of stone inhibitors in the urine.

Be good about Vitamin B6

Vitamin B 6 is effective in decreeing oxalate production, and therefore, vitamin B6 supplements are helpful to decrease the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Bottom Line

Kidney stones are a common affliction and the solution to preventing recurrent kidney stones can often be accomplished naturally without medications. Best solution of all is to drink lots of water.

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What You Need To Know About Water

November 19, 2011

Did you know that water makes up about 65% of a person’s total body weight. After oxygen, there’s nothing more important to our survival than water.

Dehydration
The primary mechanism that we maintain our proper hydration is through thirst. Thirst serves two functions: 1) to regulate the volume of water within our bodies and 2) to control the concentration of various salts like sodium and potassium within the body. Fluid is lost through urination, skin loss by sweating, respiration, and a small amount in the feces, unless someone has diarrhea and then a significant water loss may occur. If there is a loss of water by any of the above routes or if the concentration of the salts in the blood stream increases, then the thirst mechanism kicks in, which is a strong drive to consume more fluids.

How much water to drink every day?
You have heard from early childhood that you need to drink eight, eight ounce glasses a day. This is probably a myth that is perpetuated many years ago from the Food and Nutrition Board, which estimated that the average total fluid loss each day was 64-80 ounces. The Board did not mention that 20% of our intake of fluid comes from food. Therefore, you don’t have to consume all of your total intake as water.

In addition to thirst, the color of your urine will serve as an indicator of your state of hydration. If you are dehydrated, your urine will be dark and yellow. This is a sign to increase your water consumption and the urine will turn to white or light yellow, which is sign of adequate hydration. If you are in a hot environment or participating in sports and are sweating, you will want to check the color of urine when you complete the workout or sports event. If the color of your urine is dark, you know you are dehydrated and you need to consume more fluids. Athletes can lose up to two quarts of fluid through sweat each hour. So whenever you are in warm or hot environment and you are losing lots of fluids by sweating, you must make an effort to consume more fluids.

What about sports drinks
A sports drink beverage is designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted after training or competition. Ideally the sports drinks are intended to replace the electrolytes that is lost in sweat during exercise and sporting events. Sports drinks usually contain a lower electrolyte concentration than found in sweat and can actually worsen the dilution of electrolytes. It is far easier to drink water and a salty snack.

Caffeine-Culprit or Cure ?
There is a myth that drinks with caffeine are dehydrating. The truth is that caffeine serves as a weak diuretic and promotes an increase in urine output and the fluid intake will more than compensate for the diuretic effect of the caffeine. Like most things in life, anything in moderation is acceptable and this includes caffeine.

What about bottled water?
Millions of Americans are drinking bottled water. $22 billion is spent each year throughout the world on bottled water. Bottled water, although up to 1,000 times the price of tap water, may be no safer, or healthier than tap water. A gallon of bottled water is $3.84\gallon making it as expensive as gasoline. In addition to the expense, 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water and toxic chemicals can be released during the manufacture and disposal of the bottles. Studies have confirmed that microbes, pesticides, and solvents have been detected throughout groundwater supplies, and have subsequently found their way into bottles.

The Environmental Protection Agency checks the water that is consumed by the public. In the United States the quality of the water is very safe. If you live in an area and drink well water, you will want to have the water checked for contamination on a regular basis. A number of private water wells sampled in Louisiana showed potentially unsafe levels of arsenic, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and pesticides, as well as secondary contaminants in standard system tests for pH, hardness, alkalinity, dissolved solids and manganese.

Bottom Line: Water is truly the elixir of life. Avoid dehydration by checking out the color of your pee. For the most part, tap water tastes just as good as bottled water and is a whole lot cheaper. Drink up!