The impact of tea on kidney stones | Lifestyles
Kidney stones are a painful condition that affects millions of people. The Cleveland Clinic says researchers conclude that one in 10 people will have a kidney stone in their lifetime. Natural options for preventing kidney stones, such as drinking tea, may be beneficial for some people. But the key may lie in the tea consumption of individuals.
Kidney stones are usually formed from various substances when there is not enough volume of urine passing through the urinary system. Calcium, oxalate, uric acid, phosphate and even cystine or xantine can become very concentrated in the urine and crystallize in “stones”. A kidney stone may go undiagnosed until it travels from the kidney into the ureter or urethra, where it can contribute to considerable pain. Symptoms of kidney stones include lower back pain, nausea or vomiting, fever or chills, blood in the urine, and inability to urinate.
Kidney stones have to come out somehow. Some pass with urine and others require surgery. Anyone who has suffered from kidney stones in the past is unlikely to appreciate their return, which makes kidney stone prevention a major goal. Drinking tea can help with these efforts, but it is important to recognize that not all teas work.
Experts vary in their opinions on tea and its relationship to kidney stones. In 2013, the Mayo Clinic reported that drinking black tea may help reduce the risk of kidney stones in some women. Drinking green or black tea can also reduce the risk of developing bladder cancer. However, other health professionals claim that not all teas are the same when it comes to preventing kidney stones. WebMD reports that tea is often on the “to avoid” list for people prone to oxalate kidney stones because black teas contain higher amounts of oxalate which can exacerbate the risk.
Data published on KidneyStoners.org cites a 2003 study that found that when healthy volunteers drank six cups of two types of black tea over a 24-hour period, the net result of consuming those cups of tea resulted in negligible increases or decreases in urinary excretion of oxalate in the urine.
Another study published in 1996 in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggested that there is a strong link between tea consumption and reduced risk of kidney stones.
People predisposed to oxalate kidney stones may be more sensitive to teas containing oxalate. Green and oolong teas have lower amounts of oxalate, so they are the best teas for people vulnerable to kidney stones.
A September 2016 study published in the Asian Journal of Urology reported that blumea balsamifera, or sambong, decreased the size of calcium crystals grown in the lab. Sambong can also prevent the formation of these crystals. Sambong comes from a tropical shrub. Additionally, coumarins, which are beneficial compounds found in shrub hydrangea hydrangea paniculata, may have protective qualities for kidney health.
Individuals should carefully weigh the pros and cons of drinking tea against the formation of kidney stones. These people are encouraged to discuss the pros and cons of tea with their doctor.