Kidney Disease – Part One 

What Causes Kidney Stones?

Dr Miriam Young, Medical Herbalist specialises in the treatment of Kidney Disease, Including kidney stones.  

Kidney stones accumulate very slowly over time and can start building as early as childhood.  They are caused by pesticides in food, chlorinated water, alcohol, narcotic drugs, pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, excessive intake of certain low grade vitamin and mineral supplements, (particularly calcium carbonate), coffee and tea, excessive consumption of red meat, low fat foods, genetically engineered food, carbonated beverages, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (a carcinogen), chocolate and sweets, refined sugar, tobacco, food additives and heavy metals.  

What Causes Kidney Stones?
Kidney disease is typically silent in its initial stages; however, by the time you experience symptoms, the disease is usually fairly well advanced. This is why kidney detoxification is such an important part of preventative medicine.

A concoction of these substances combined with dehydration, magnesium deficiency, over-eating, excessive fear, anxiety, stress and/or overwork continually over a period of time, will eventually cause the formation of mineral deposits in the kidneys – leading to crystals and stones. Even though kidney stones affect only 5-10% of the population, most people have small crystalline deposits of some kind. It is only when they reach large sizes, being several inches across, do they cause acute pain. (There is a 60-70% chance of recurrence in these people). Many of us have small deposits however, and these small or even deposits may cause chronic problems and imbalances in the body.  

Many kidney stone formations result from sleeping in after 6 or 7am. Since urine is forced to stay in the body longer than normal, some of its constituents begin to precipitate and form crystals. If sleeping until 8am for example becomes a regular habit, there may even be bacterial infection, accompanied by pain in the joints, headaches or heaviness.

Stones in the kidneys begin as tiny crystals and can end up the size of a golf ball! X-rays do not pick up the tiny crystals, and although they may not be causing a person any pain, they are still able to block the flow of liquid (and Qi) through the tiny kidney tubules. This energetic blockage will in turn cause havoc in the body. The crystals when increasing in size can have sharp angles, which may irritate or cut the ureter during their journey from the kidneys to the bladder. This may cause lower back pain.  

Oxalates, phosphates, urates, uric acid and the amino acids – cystine and cysteine are the most common solutes involved in crystal and stone formation. There are eight varieties of crystals/stones that can be formed by these solutes for various reasons. Calcium oxalate makes up approximately 70% of all diagnosed kidney stone formations. There are also struvite stones, which are stones that are derived from the formation of bacteria. Phosphate stones are formed from eating too many foods that are high in phosphate and low in calcium, such as meats, refined (white) breads, pastas and cereals, and by drinking carbonated beverages.

A regular cup of tea (not herbal or green) contains 20mg of oxalic acid. The body uses calcium to neutralise the oxalic acid, which in excess may eventually turn into calcium oxalate.  Chocolate and cocoa is also high in oxalates. Uric acid crystals are formed when we have excessive amounts of animal protein such as meat, fish, eggs and cheese.  Drinking primarily pure filtered or spring water and dropping the coffee, tea and soft drink has to be a good place to start.  

To Be Continued…