Toni Jordan

Should You Take a Calcium Supplement If You Have a Kidney Stone History?

Kidney stones are no laughing matter. The pain experienced with a kidney stone has often been likened to that of labor. No wonder the person who’s been afflicted with the illness of a kidney stone is so eager to avoid another one!

One question that often arises when there’s a kidney stone history relates to the use of calcium supplements. It’s commonly believed that you shouldn’t take a calcium supplement if you’ve had with kidney stones. Is this true?

Many women take a calcium supplement to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, particularly if they’re lactose intolerant and are unable to add dairy foods to their diet. If they’ve had a history of kidney stones, they may be understandably concerned about a repeat encounter with this painful condition.

It was initially thought that too much calcium in the diet could increase the risk of kidney stones, but more recent evidence suggests that this isn’t so. In fact, it’s now believed by some experts that when you take a calcium supplement, you may reduce your risk of developing a kidney stone.

Why might you reduce your risk of kidney stones when you take a calcium supplement? Most kidney stones are made up of crystals of calcium oxalate.

When you take a calcium supplement or take in significant quantities of calcium, the calcium can bind to oxalate while it’s still in the intestinal tract causing it to be eliminated in the feces. This reduces the amount of oxalate that enters the urine where it could conceivably crystallize to form kidney stones.

Culprit when it comes to a potential encounter with kidney stones is the presence of oxalate. Avoiding foods containing high levels of oxalate appears to be beneficial if you have a kidney stone history. Some of these foods include wheat bran, soy, nuts, chocolate, as well as some fruits and vegetables, mainly berries. The goal should be to keep your oxalate intake low, so less is available to be excreted in the urine.

If you have a kidney stone history, there’s no reason not to take a calcium supplement, although it’s best to talk to your doctor before doing so. You can also get a list of foods high in oxalate by doing a Google search. By avoiding high oxalate foods and drinking at least two liters of water per day, you can significantly reduce your risk of another unpleasant encounter with kidney stones.