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How Effective is Citrate for Kidney Stones?

By Brandon May
Updated Jan 26, 2024
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The use of citrate for kidney stones is a widely practiced strategy for preventing the formation of calcium stones and is a very effective way for reducing these stones in most individuals. Potassium citrate is an important kidney stone inhibitor, and having low levels of this important chemical presents a high risk for the formation of kidney stones. Making sure the urine isn't too acidic and contains enough citrate can help the prevention of kidney stones forming more than it can in treating the actual condition. There is some evidence, however, that treating kidney stones with magnesium citrate aids in decreasing the size of the stones.

When the urine becomes too acidic and calcified, as well as when it falls low in chemicals such as citrate and magnesium, the kidney is placed at a high risk for the development of calcified stones. Acidic foods and beverages have been shown to increase the acidity in the urine to some degree, which aids in the formation of future kidney stones. A high intake of sugar, for example, increases acidity within the blood and can put the body at risk for forming kidney stones if not balanced with the right nutrients the body needs for healthy functioning. One of these nutrients is magnesium, however, research shows that citrate for kidney stones is probably the most important component needed by the body for kidney stone prevention.

Supplementing with citrate is very successful at preventing the formation of future kidney stones, however, little evidence exists which promotes it for the treatment of current kidney stones. The success rate of citrate for kidney stones prevention is very high, and many medical doctors will oftentimes suggest this supplement as a future prevention strategy for those who have already suffered from kidney stones. Citrate for kidney stones is regarded as the best prevention strategy by naturopathic and natural medical doctors. It is unclear, however, if a higher level of citrate would create more problems on the body, so taking the recommended dose is strongly advised.

Researchers have found that the citrate found in oranges is a natural way of preventing the formation of kidney stones. In fact, oranges seems to be the best source of citrate for kidney stone prevention over any other citrus fruit. It is usually not recommended to drink orange juice to receive the citrate benefits, as the juice is higher in sugar than the whole fruit, which may contribute to acidity in the urine. Keeping the body in a neutral state by choosing whole foods that are rich in magnesium are also suggested to keep a balance of nutrients and minerals for a kidney stone prevention plan.

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