It’s KIDNEY STONE season? [Must-read]

It’s no secret that kidney stones can have big health implications.

Not to mention, they hurt.

(Many compare the pain of passing one to the pain of childbirth.)

In fact, if you ever pass one, I guarantee you won’t forget the agony.

Of course, roughly one in 10 people will suffer from kidney stones in their lifetime.

And it turns out, they become a heightened threat as the temperature continues to climb…

When calcium builds up

First, let me back up and explain exactly what kidney stones are.

The “stone” is a hardened mass of calcium-based crystals that get stuck in the urinary tract.

And, according to research out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, some people are predisposed to get kidney stones because of a common genetic variation in a gene called claudin-14.

This gene acts as the “gatekeeper” between your kidneys and your bloodstream…

When claudin-14 is inactive (as it should be), your kidney’s filtration system works with ease. And any calcium in the urine flows right back into the bloodstream.

However, when people are dehydrated, claudin-14 is more likely to prevent calcium from re-entering your bloodstream. This eventually leads to kidney stone formation, as calcium continues to build up in the urine.

And, well…

Since proper hydration is already a struggle for many folks, it’s easy to see how heat can make things much worse for kidney stone sufferers…

Drink, drink, drink

Whether or not you have the claudin-14 gene, the best thing to do to keep your kidney’s filtration system running smoothly is to drink the right amount of water.

We’ve talked about this before. But here’s how much you need…

Simply divide your body weight and half. That’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking daily.

Of course, that number may increase slightly based on how much exercise you’re getting, how much you’re sweating, and how much coffee or caffeinated tea you’re drinking. (As a general guideline, you should match each cup of coffee with another cup of water. And 30 minutes in the gym requires another 8 ounces to replenish the fluid you lost.)

As for the debate over bottled versus filtered versus tap water, that’s entirely up to you. But here are a few things to consider…

I only drink natural spring water bottled in glass. I don’t recommend ever drinking out of a plastic bottle—even BPA-free plastic. There are just too many chemicals involved in the production of plastic for me to feel comfortable drinking anything packaged in them.

And if you choose tap water, I recommend filtering it. Tap water is full of contaminants, so get the best filter you can afford.

Because at the end of the day, drinking enough water is easily the most effective strategy to ward off kidney stones.

The second simplest strategy is to quit sodas and sugary drinks (if you haven’t already).

After all, high-sugar diets ramp up excretion of calcium in the urine—which, in turn, raises risk of kidney stone formation.


“Kidney stone mystery solved: Why some people are more prone to develop kidney stones.” ScienceDaily, 04/1//2012. (