Recent Research on Nutrition and Kidney Stones

There have been many studies on the role of nutrition in helping to reduce kidney stones.  A recent study conducted Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that previous recommendations to limit dairy products in an effort to reduce the risk of kidney stones was misguided.  This study conducted on more than 90,000 women, showed "that women with the highest intake of dietary calcium had the lowest risk of kidney stones."

Researchers have theorized that this is happening because "calcium is believed to neutralize the absorption of oxalate, a substance that is present in foods such as spinach and beets which has been linked to kidney stone formation."

It is very important to note that the reduced risk of kidney stones was not found for those who took calcium supplements. For those taking calcium supplement the risk of kidney stones increased slightly. Researcher theorized that this happens "because supplements are often not taken in conjunction with meals, limiting the calcium’s ability to neutralize the absorption of oxalate."  This is one of the many reasons why I used diet I to increase my calcium intake, and avoid supplements.


For kidney stones the research suggests that the following foods are appropriate either for avoiding or eating.  As always, check with your doctor and have appropriate blood work done before following any of the research suggestions from this or other sources. The recipes for including these foods in your diet and the research supporting these recommendations are included in my 4 books.

 Foods to consider avoiding

Oxalate combines with calcium to form insoluble crystals that make up most kidney stones.

Hence it is a good idea to avoid most oxalate foods like

green peppers
spinach (seems to produce the most oxalate)
cocoa, chocolate
peanuts, peanut oil
salt - causes more excretion of calcium in urine
lots of meat
soft drinks (have phosphoric acid)
wheat bran

Some foods to consider eating more often


magnesium (dry milk in homemade yogurt increases the percent of magnesium content through food)
2 cups of calcium fortified orange juice a day provides:

     protective citrate,  a substitute for potassium citrate, a drug used to prevent kidney stones

     additional calcium which research shows actually help break up the kidney stones.

6-10  8oz. glasses of water a day
Vitamin C - ONLY 500 mg a day.  Ascorbic acid can inhibit urinary pH (which lowers urinary citrate, a natural inhibitor of kidney stones).
potassium foods, such as fruits and vegetables
small amounts of meat (about the size of a deck of cards), and, if possible, the elimination of red meat from the diet
standard 800-1,000 mg of calcium per day from foods, not supplements.  Low calcium may allow absorption of oxalates.
Having overindulged, drink 2 full glasses of water.
Get 10 mg of Vitamin B6 from food. One source of Vitamin B6: eat the tip of a banana, the dark part lodging between the banana and the skin.
Also check for

Check intake of Thiazide diuretics (water pills) to reduce calcium excreted in urine.

Check your risk for osteoporosis.
Check for sodium in urine before diminishing salt too much.


This index provides a list of further research summaries and recipes on some of the many ways foods can help prevent or reverse specific conditions. Just click on the ones that are of interest to you.

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Rosemary C. Fisher.
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