Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Does Keto Diet Cause Kidney Stones

How To Prevent Gout And Kidney Stones

Keto Diet and Kidney Stones | How can Ketogenesis Cause Kidney Stones? Explained by Dr. Robert Chan

The good news is this. If you have had gout or kidney stones in the past, there is a way to never suffer from those again without any medications. All you have to do is remove all the fructose from your diet and not only will you see your Uric acid levels fall but you will begin to enjoy all the other benefits of a sugar free diet like weight loss and more!

Ketosis Positively Alters Genetic Expression In Your Kidneys

The previous study also found the gene expression of the mice had changed.

The researchers found the genes responsible for nephropathy nephrin, ZO-1 and podocin were reversed. This helped restore the mices kidneys back to healthy functioning.

This research provides compelling evidence that the ketogenic diet isnt bad for your kidneys whatsoever. In fact, a low carb, high fat diet can actually improve chronic kidney disease, especially in people with diabetes.

Another perk of the keto diet for people with chronic kidney disease is heart health.

How Cheating On A Ketogenic Diet Increases Uric Acid

However, there is one huge caveat to all this. If you are already susceptible to these diseases, once you are on a ketogenic diet, you cant cheat. Cheating is almost always a surefire way to rapidly up the amount of uric acid in your blood and begin to see those gout symptoms or start creating kidney stones. The most common stories I hear are usually right after a big Holiday and someone eats a lot of Halloween candy or Christmas cookies or after a weekend out on the lake where they have gotten dehydrated and had a few too many beers. Rapidly increasing the amount of fructose you consume in a very short amount of time like that will spike your uric acid levels and increase your risk of a flare up of gout symptoms or kidney stones.

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Other Possible Contributors To Kidney Pain

Although we fairly debunked those two primary arguments against ketosis causing kidney pain, it isnt to say that there may never be a link between the two.

However, here are the major contributors that you need to keep an eye out for. Note that, treatment requires accurate determination of the underlying cause so, if youre not confident in identifying that cause, please seek a medical professionals help!

Aside from kidney stones, you may suffer from discomfort/pain as a result of:

  • Blood clots in the kidney – The most common cause of this clot is typically from another condition known as Nephrotic Syndrome. Nephrotic Syndrome is a condition in which large amounts of protein are lost in the urine, and blood flow then gets an increased tendency to form clots within the kidneys.
  • Blunt force trauma to the lower back – Kidneys are located just in front of your lower back, and are very sensitive. If you get hit at the right angle, fall or suffer any other form of impact to that area, you can cause some serious damage to the structure of your kidneys .
  • Urinary Tract Infection – A U.T.I leads and can cause fairly severe pain all the way up to the kidney along the urinary tract.
  • Kidney infection – A kidney infection takes place when bacteria from an associated infection of the bladder has started to spread to the kidneys. Kidney infections cause a great degree of inflammation which in turn can contribute to the pain sensation, particular across the lower back.

Does The Ketogenic Diet Cause Kidney Stones

Does a Ketogenic Diet Cause Kidney Stones?

There are several sources that claim that the ketogenic diet can cause kidney stones. Most sources claim that its the high protein content on the ketogenic diet thats responsible for kidney stone formation. However, the ketogenic diet is not high protein its high fat.

In an observational study of over 78,000 women, researchers examined the role of diet in the development of kidney stones. They found direct correlations to kidney stone development in women who were dehydrated, consuming too much sodium, or not consuming enough calcium.

They reported, however, that protein intake did not affect the likeliness of developing kidney stones.

On the other hand, an often-cited study conducted on 195 children following a ketogenic diet found that 13 children developed kidney stones. This accounts for 6% of the study population.

Oral supplementation of potassium citrate proved to be preventative for this group, hinting at the potential of mineral imbalance.

Its possible that some unknown factor in the ketogenic diet led to stone formation. However, this percentage is actually closely in line with the lifetime incidence of kidney stones which is 13% for men and 7% for women.

Regardless, there are several factors that could have contributed to the kidney stones in these children.

Therefore, you may experience an increased level of positively charged minerals running through your kidneys for a short time.

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Can Keto Cause Kidney Stones

The keto diet has gained enormous popularity over recent years. It not only helps to shed those extra pounds quickly but also helps with certain health problems like type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure. However, there is a buzz about keto that it causes kidney related issues. If you too have this doubt, check out the below section!

Basically, a ketogenic diet is a diet that puts stress on eating a lot of healthy fats, enough protein and almost negligible carbohydrates. The main goal is to get the required calories from fats and sugar instead of carbs.

The keto diet works by attacking your bodys sugar stores. Hence, your body starts processing fats for energy. The fat breakdown produces ketone molecules which the body uses as fuel. This way your body loses weight by burning down fat.

The Ketogenic Diet Protects Your Kidneys

The science is in: a ketogenic diet doesnt exacerbate kidney problems, and in fact, it protects kidney health.

If youre thinking of going keto but arent sure about the effect on your kidneys, research confirms a low carb, high protein diet wont damage renal function, as long as you dont have any pre-existing kidney conditions.

Any keto-ers experiencing kidney issues should look at the most common risk factors first: high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

As long as you follow a proper keto diet plan, you should have no issues with kidney health.

Of course, always consult with your health professional first before starting a new diet, especially if you have kidney problems or have any other risk factor for kidney disease.

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Higher Doses Of Vitamin C Supplements

Some individuals believe that by cutting their fruit intake on a ketogenic diet, they wont get enough Vitamin C and hence start taking external vitamin c supplements. But the problem is, higher doses of vitamin c can again increase the concentration of oxalate in the urine leading to the formation of kidney stones.

However, the good news is you can get enough vitamin C from other natural sources even after cutting fruit intake. Some vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, kale, bok choy are excellent sources of vitamin C. So, instead of relying on supplements, try to include these lovely food items in your keto diet.

Causes Of Kidney/calcium Stones

Kidney Stones on a Ketogenic Diet | Does Keto increase Kidney Stone risk?

Although anyone can have a kidney stone, some people are at higher risk of following a low-carbohydrate diet. Men have more possibilities than women to have them. The removal of waste and fluid from the blood to create urine is among your kidneys primary tasks. However, these waste products can build up and produce kidney stones if you have too much waste or do not have enough fluid.


The most frequent type of stone is calcium stones. Calcium oxalate stones, in particular. Too much salt is a risk factor for calcium stones because they replenish less calcium as your kidneys are working to discard the sodium. This means that less calcium is transferred back into your blood from your urine and is thus stuck hanging around in your kidneys.

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If You Are Using Nuts Then You May Suffer From Kidney Stones On Keto

Kidney stones continue to occur in approximately 1 in 20 children on the ketogenic diet, and no statistically significant risk factors were identified in this cohort. the ketogenic diet, however, is not high in proteinâ it is high in fat. The keto diet could cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies and an increased risk of heart disease.

Polyunsaturated Fats And Kidney Stones

That brings us to another factor that promotes kidney stones: high omega-3 polyunsaturated fat consumption.

Heres the data:

Older women in the highest quintile of EPA and DHA intake had a multivariate relative risk of 1.28 of stone formation compared with women in the lowest quintile.

Eating omega-3 fats promotes calcium oxalate kidney stones about as much as eating oxalate. The top quintile of dietary oxalate intake has a relative risk of 1.22.

So what about EPA and DHA promotes kidney stone formation? A clue comes from julianne of she made a :

A few years ago I started taking a high dose of Omega 3, because of joint inflammation, and other issues. This made big difference for about 3 months, then seemed to not work any more. I talked to a nutritionist friend and she pointed out that according to Andrew Stoll you must take 1000 mg vit C and 500 iu vit E daily or the omega 3 becomes oxidised in your body and ineffective. I started taking both and in days was back to the original anti-inflammatory effectiveness of omega 3. I have since talked to others about this for example a psychiatrist whose clients did well on omega 3 for 3 months and then it became ineffective.

Paleo advice from many is to consume a high dose of omega 3, and at the same time reduce carbs. I am wondering if there are people suffering vit C depletion as a result of increased omega 3 consumption as well as too low carbs?

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Myth #: Ketones Overwork Your Kidneys Due To Increased Urine Acidity

Theres a common misconception that nutritional ketosis can change the pH of your urine from neutral to acidic and therefore overwork your kidneys.

However, this only happens during ketoacidosis, not ketosis.

Ketoacidosis is a complication that results from dangerously high levels of ketonesand blood sugar, most commonly in people with type I and II diabetes. This combination makes blood too acidic and negatively affects the liver and kidneys.

Ketoacidosis is most likely to occur in people with type 1 diabetes, who cant produce any insulin.

Nutritional ketosis, on the other hand, is different because the level of ketones is in a normal range. When youre in ketosis, you have more ketones in your blood than usual, but not enough to cause ketoacidosis.

The ketogenic diet is all about being in ketosis, not ketoacidosis.

Now that weve debunked those two myths, lets look at why the ketogenic is actually beneficial for your kidneys.

Can Keto Diet Cause Kidney Stones

Can Keto Cause Kidney Stones?

Via Robina Weermeijer / Unsplash

These days, most people use the keto diet to lose weight. No doubt, it is an effective way. As per the modern research, kidney stones on keto are rare, but your diet must be well-formulated. There are several causes of this problem. The most common chemicals which are in these stones of the kidney are uric acid, oxalate, calcium and others.

Due to low dietary magnesium, dehydration, and other genetic factors, people suffer the problem of kidney stones. The level of uric acid level increases during the keto diet. It is due to the less excretion of waste material.

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    Dehydration And Loss Of Electrolytes

    Excretion of oxalate consumes both electrolytes, primarily salt, and water:

    In mammals, oxalate is a terminal metabolite that must be excreted or sequestered. The kidneys are the primary route of excretion and the site of oxalates only known function. Oxalate stimulates the uptake of chloride, water, and sodium by the proximal tubule through the exchange of oxalate for sulfate or chloride via the solute carrier SLC26A6.

    Salt and water are also needed by the kidneys to excrete urea and uric acid.

    Personally, I found that my salt needs increased dramatically on a zero-carb diet. I needed at least a teaspoon per day of salt when zero-carbing, compared to less than a quarter-teaspoon when eating carbs.

    As a result of loss of salt and water, low-carb dieters tend to become dehydrated. This is also a widely-observed side effect on ketogenic diets.

    Weve all seen what happens to urine when were dehydrated: it becomes colorful due to high concentrations of dissolved compounds.

    As urine becomes saturated, it no longer possible for uric acid and oxalate to dissolve. They precipitate out and initial deposits nucleate further deposits to form kidney stones.

    Question: Can Ketosis Cause You To Pass Kidney Stones

    Thats a trick question. It certainly disrupts your bodys chemical balance which can lead to your existing stones melting and, in some unlucky situations, passing. Ideally, your bodys chemical shift would melt stones one element at a time without dislodging them from their current position. But this is not guaranteed.

    ANTIDOTE: Dont cheat! The best way to shake loose a bunch of kidney stones is to go in and out of ketosis a lot. The shift from making the stones to melting the stones unsettles your system.

    If you have no stones in your kidney, then you are fine. You wont make new stones while on ketosis. If you have a crop of growing kidney stones and dont know it, beware. If you know you have kidney stones because you have had troubles in the past, you need to commit to this shift in chemistry and stay in ketosis. Pray that the stone melts in an orderly and smooth way.

    Finally, stay hydrated. A dry kidney is a painful kidney. Never is this truer than when dealing with kidney stones.

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    Why You Shouldnt Worry About Your Kidney Health On Keto

    Several skeptics have confused the masses about whether or not the ketogenic diet is healthy.

    However, the truth is being in ketosis is a normal metabolic state. Our ancestors used nutritional ketosis for survival because they didnt have access to carb-based meals three times a day like we do now.

    Since we have evolved to use ketones for energy, going keto is not going to harm your kidneys.

    In fact, studies are now proving that ketones are the preferred energy source over glucose. The heart and brain both run 25% more efficiently when your body is using primarily ketones for energy.

    And again, the research confirms that a low carb diet, even one high in protein, doesnt harm renal function in people without kidney issues. Those with normal kidney function can handle large amounts of protein without any issue.

    Even if you have diabetes which can put you at risk of kidney dysfunction , keto is beneficial.

    What Researchers Have To Say About Kidney Stones

    What Causes Kidney Stones ð² Not What You Think…

    Kidney stones are one of the most adverse effects of the keto diet or low-carb diet. The Journal of Child Neurology has released studies showing that 13 out of 195 subjects developed kidney stones in children adopting the keto diet to treat children with epilepsy. The study found a decreased risk of kidney stones in children supplementing oral potassium citrate. There is more chance of having a kidney stone risk in the keto diet because of the high protein intake and not following proper diet procedures.

    High consumption of animal proteins increases the acidity of the urine and calcium and uric acid content. This combination enhances your vulnerability, although high uric acid can increase your risk for gout. Keto diet and kidney stones have an expected relationship if you do not follow the rules properly. The diet you follow has proved to be unproblematic.

    Suppose there are varying nutritional amounts and no adequate amounts of vitamins in your diet, the risk of kidney stones increases. You must carefully and with precise accuracy carry out the keto diet or a low-carb diet.

    Speak to your health care provider if kidney stones are a problem during a keto diet or a low-carb diet.

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    How Do I Protect My Kidneys On Keto

  • You should control your sodium intake. Salt, which is frequently absorbed by the kidneys, increases the excretion of calcium.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water.
  • Animal protein should not be consumed in large quantities
  • Food that forms a stone should not be consumed.
  • Take no vitamin C supplements.
  • What Are Kidney Stones And How Do They Occur

    Kidney stones are basically the deposits of mineral salts. They happen when the supersaturated minerals in the urine get collected in the form of hard crystals. These crystals are as small as a sand grain at the beginning stage but can grow into big stones over time. In severe cases, they can grow as large as a golf ball.

    Most of the kidney stones are made of either calcium phosphate or calcium oxalate. The people with a genetic issue, their stones are made of cystine.

    There is not much risk if the stones are diagnosed and treated at early stages as a single stroke is unlikely to damage the kidneys. However, if the size of stones has grown up significantly, it can cause deadly pain and require immediate treatment and even surgery.

    Talking about the risk factors, the main cause of kidney stones are high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. These factors alone can lead to serious kidney diseases. As a matter of fact, a person who gets frequent stone attacks is at a high risk of renal failure and other chronic kidney issues.

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    How Kidney Stones Are Formed

    At one point in time it was thought that uric acid was produced solely from the breakdown of purines found in foods like liver, pork, mushrooms, anchovies, mackerel and dried beans which is why most patients that were susceptible to kidney stones or gout were put on a low purine diet. Unfortunately those diets didnt work too well and almost always had to be supplemented with additional medications that controlled the formation of uric acid. As the Uric acid levels in the blood increased it would form small needle like crystals usually in the joints of the foot causing the painful disease Gout or as it was filtered out through the kidneys it would form kidney stones that would then need to be passed through the urinary track. If both of those things sound incredibly painful, you would be right.

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