Diet for Kidney Stone Prevention

Diet for Kidney
Stone Prevention
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
How does diet affect the risk
of developing kidney stones?
Kidney stones can form when substances
in the urine—such as calcium, oxalate, and
phosphorus—become highly concentrated.
The body uses food for energy and tissue
repair. After the body uses what it needs,
waste products in the bloodstream are
carried to the kidneys and excreted as urine.
Diet is one of several factors that can
promote or inhibit kidney stone formation.
Certain foods may promote stone formation
in people who are susceptible, but scientists
do not believe that eating any specific food
causes stones to form in people who are
not susceptible. Other factors that affect
kidney stone formation include genes,
environment, body weight, and fluid intake.
More information about kidney stones
can be found in the National Kidney
and Urologic Diseases Information
Clearinghouse fact sheets Kidney Stones
in Adults and Kidney Stones in Children at
What are the types of kidney
Four major types of kidney stones can form:
• Calcium stones are the most common
type of kidney stone and occur in two
major forms: calcium oxalate and
calcium phosphate. Calcium oxalate
stones are more common. Calcium
oxalate stone formation may be caused
by high calcium and high oxalate
excretion. Calcium phosphate stones
are caused by the combination of
high urine calcium and alkaline urine,
meaning the urine has a high pH.
• Uric acid stones form when the
urine is persistently acidic. A diet
rich in purines—substances found in
animal protein such as meats, fish,
and shellfish—may increase uric
acid in urine. If uric acid becomes
concentrated in the urine, it can settle
and form a stone by itself or along with
• Struvite stones result from kidney
infections. Eliminating infected stones
from the urinary tract and staying
infection-free can prevent more
struvite stones.
• Cystine stones result from a genetic
disorder that causes cystine to leak
through the kidneys and into the
urine, forming crystals that tend to
accumulate into stones.
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