You wake at 2 a.m. and stumble to the bathroom. It's your third trip that night...
You feel a sharp pain in your back. And as you urinate, the agony becomes unbearable. You break into a heavy sweat and nearly double over.
If any of these symptoms have happened to you, you likely had a kidney stone.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, about one in ten people will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives. Some folks describe kidney-stone agony as comparable to childbirth.
Worse, those who have one stone are more than 50% more likely to have another within five to seven years and 80% more likely within 10 years. And the number of folks getting these painful stones keeps increasing each year...
Men are more than twice as likely to get kidney stones as women.
You're likely to get your first one between 30 and 50 years old. And conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure all increase your risk. Family history plays a large role, too – one more reason it's important to know your family's medical history.
Kidney stones form when you have too much buildup of minerals in the lining of your kidneys...
These minerals become concentrated in your urine and start to form crystals, then full-on stones. And you may be putting yourself at a much higher risk of stones if you're popping this common supplement...
Overuse of calcium supplements are a big reason why some folks build up calcium. A 2015 study from Cleveland Clinic found that taking calcium supplements increased the risk of developing kidney stones in patients who already had a predisposition for stones. Basically, if you're at risk already, calcium supplements make it much more likely you'll get stones.
Remember, our bodies process calcium from food differently than calcium from supplements. So don't stop eating high-calcium foods...
In fact, it might surprise you that a lack of calcium can also increase your chances of forming kidney stones. Calcium helps block oxalate from being absorbed. (The most common form of kidney stone is from calcium oxalate. There are also calcium phosphate stones, uric acid stones, and struvite stones.) That means reduced calcium levels lead to higher oxalate levels, which cause stones.
We've warned you before about the issues with calcium supplements and heart disease. Add to that the potential to also develop kidney stones, and we're ready to throw these dangerous supplements out for good.
If your doctor has prescribed them, talk to him about how much to take and how to keep your kidneys and heart safe. If you don't have a doctor's order to take them, get your calcium from food sources instead... including fish, dairy, and fruits and vegetables.
Do what I do and get your calcium from whole foods like leafy greens and yogurt. The recommended intake for calcium is about 1,000 mg to 1,200 mg per day. One serving of yogurt, for example, has 448 mg of calcium, or 45% of your daily intake. And for strong bones, you want magnesium, boron, and vitamin D as well. (If you're a Retirement Millionaire subscriber, you can read more in my November issue covering common calcium lies.)
Magnesium helps keep your kidneys healthy and prevents crystals from forming. Similarly, not having the correct magnesium and calcium balance can aid in mineral build-up. Foods rich in magnesium include almonds, bananas, and broccoli.
You might also limit your intake of foods with high levels of oxalate. This can be tricky, as these foods also pack in a lot of healthy nutrients. They include rhubarb, spinach, arugula, beets, soy products, chocolate, and more.
We recommend talking with your doctor to determine which type of stone you have first, before limiting certain foods. The type of stone will dictate which foods to avoid. Similarly, a nutritionist can provide better guidance than most do-it-yourself online diet guides.
As we wrote about before, taking care of your kidneys now is essential for continued good health in the future. You can read more on my four tips for kidney health right here.
Finally, if you're unfortunate enough to get a stone that you need to pass, we're including a great tip that helps 84% of men pass a stone within 10 days. It's going to be in our next issue of Retirement Millionaire on May 10. If you aren't yet a subscriber to Retirement Millionaire, you can join right here.
What We're Reading...
- Harvard Health Publications reviews five ways to help prevent kidney stones.
- Why we need different diets for different stones.
- Something different: It's not a horror movie... the mystery of these bloody waterfalls.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
May 2, 2017
P.S. Special thanks to our reader J.K. for suggesting the topic of foods and kidney stones. If you have a topic you'd like to see here in Retirement Millionaire Daily, send it to us at [email protected].