Here’s Why You Need More Magnesium For Kidney Stone Prevention
We probably like to think that in wealthier countries, we never have to deal with real nutrient deficiencies. After all, just about every corner has a market with full produce sections.
We have clean water, access to protein, and even plenty of food assistance when money is an issue. But that does not mean we always have the optimal health. Some of us make bad diet and lifestyle choices.
Some of us simply don’t know about all the nutrients we need. Some of us have health conditions that make absorbing proper nutrients very difficult.
And all this brings us to magnesium.
Magnesium deficiencies are actually extremely common – even in the United States of America. In fact, it’s estimated that somewhere around 80% of the population is deficient in this important nutrient.
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- Do you deal with depression or anxiety?
- Do you have hormone balance problems?
- Do you have muscle cramps or spasms?
- Do you struggle with your sleep?
- Do you have poor bone strength?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Are you tired all the time?
- Are you deficient in other minerals too?
You just may have a magnesium deficiency. Taking a simple magnesium supplement could literally turn your health world around.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Kidney stones are one of the most painful health problems we have to deal with as humans. And a magnesium deficiency could be to blame.
Though the information below on magnesium could help you with all those health problems listed above, I want to focus primarily on avoiding kidney stones through magnesium. You will learn about how much to take, what type of magnesium to take, and whether or not you should focus on food sources.
By the end of this article, you should have everything you need to fix a magnesium deficiency and say goodbye to kidney stones.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a very important mineral in the human body. It plays an essential role for all of your cells and around 300 enzymes. Here are some other things magnesium can greatly help:
- Mental health (mood swings, anxiety, etc.)
- Muscle cramps
- Repeated infections
- Restless leg syndrome
- Heart problems
- And more
This list is why it’s so amazing that magnesium really does not get the attention it deserves when it comes to nutrients and our health.
The Magnesium and Kidney Stone Connection
Medical professionals have understood the magnesium and kidney stone connection for centuries. And modern science confirms the idea: when you are deficient in magnesium, you are more likely to develop a kidney stone.
In fact, when doctors perform “24-hour kidney stone risk profiles,” they look specifically at your magnesium level to see the odds you have of developing a stone.
This happens for many different reasons.
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- Having enough magnesium in the body helps prevent the formation of the crystals that turn into kidney stones
- Calcium-oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone, and magnesium actually prevents them from joining up together
- Magnesium affects the way your body absorbs calcium; without enough magnesium, you can build up too much calcium and end up with a kidney stone
And here’s the thing: even if you do not have a marked magnesium deficiency, your kidneys still may benefit from this extra daily magnesium.
One study looked at 55 people who dealt with repeated kidney stones, but did not have any outward signs of a magnesium deficiency. Together, they all averaged .8 stones a year. After taking 500 mg of magnesium daily, that number dropped to .08 stones per year.
85% of patients didn’t have another one during the yearlong study. In the control group that didn’t take magnesium, 59% did have a stone.
Not only did the magnesium supplementation work, there were very few side effects. The researchers concluded, “Magnesium treatment in renal calcium stone disease is effective with few side effects. No clinical signs of magnesium excess were observed.”
These are extremely convincing numbers showing the power of magnesium.
How To Get More Magnesium: Take a Supplement
The best way for a kidney stone sufferer to get more magnesium is to simply take a magnesium supplement.
But just how much should you be taking? Here’s a rundown:
- Women between 19 and 30 years old: 310 mg a day
- Women 31 years old and over: 320 mg a day
- Men between 19 and 30 years old: 400 mg a day
- Men 31 years old and over: 420 mg a day
Of course, if you are completely deficient, your doctor may recommend a different amount. Do not take any more than these recommendations without the say so of your doctor. Too little magnesium causes issues as we’ve seen, but so does too much.
If your child needs a magnesium supplement, talk to their doctor first. Here are the general guidelines for kids and teens:
- 1 to 3 years old: 80 mg a day
- 4 to 8 years old: 130 mg a day
- 9 to 14 years old: 240 mg a day
- Teenage girls: 360 mg a day
- Teenage boys: 410 mg a day
If you start experiencing any nausea or diarrhea, stop taking your magnesium supplement and talk to your doctor or naturopath. You may need to try a different type of magnesium (as we will learn about next) and/or a different amount.
Also, if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or any intestinal disease, talk to your doctor before taking your magnesium supplement.
What Type of Magnesium Should You Take?
When you go to the health food store to pick out your magnesium supplement, there isn’t just one jar that says “magnesium” – there are actually many different types of magnesium.
- Magnesium chelate
- Magnesium glycinate
- Magnesium threonate
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium chloride oil
- Magnesium orotate
And which one you pick is actually very important. Some are better absorbed by the body. Some cause diarrhea.
For the case of kidney stones, you can try magnesium chelate or magnesium glycinate. The body easily absorbs both of these and they shouldn’t have any laxative effects.
Magnesium Through The Skin
You can also benefit from magnesium on your skin.
If you don’t want to use a magnesium oil directly on your skin, you can try a magnesium body butter. Here is a video that shows you how to make your own.
Should You Eat More Magnesium-Rich Foods?
Normally one of the best and safest ways to get more of a nutrient is to eat it. But there’s a bit of a problem when it comes to eating more magnesium for kidney stone prevention: oxalate. The two tend to go together.
Foods like almonds, sesame seeds, figs, beans, soy, chocolate, and spinach are high in magnesium (good for kidney stones), but also high in oxalate (bad for kidney stones).
So the goal should be to focus primarily on your magnesium supplement, and then add in a few extra foods that do happen to be higher in magnesium and lower in oxalate.
Here is a short list of some foods that are high in magnesium, but low or moderately low in oxalates. These are your best bests for boosting your magnesium through your diet.
- Dairy (milk and cheese)
Talk to your doctor about any diet recommendations for your particular kind of kidney stones. If you do not have the common calcium-oxalate stones (for example, you may have the less common uric acid stones), you may not need to limit your oxalate. This would allow you to enjoy a lot more magnesium-rich foods.
Does More Magnesium Equal No More Kidney Stones? 4 More Steps To Take
As we have seen magnesium plays such a vital role in keeping your kidneys healthy and warding off the kidney stones. But is popping a magnesium supplement all you need to do? Definitely not.
Here are 4 more steps you should be taking alongside magnesium to keep your kidney stones away for good:
1. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is one of the main ways we end up with kidney stones in the first place. When our urine is too concentrated, more of those stone-forming substances can start to crystalize and join together. Make sure you are drinking at least 8- 8oz. glasses of water everyday, and even more if you are active. Check to make sure the color of your urine is clear or very light yellow. If it’s darker, drink more.
2. Take Chanca Piedra
Chanca piedra is an herb that has been used for centuries to prevent and treat kidney stones. It helps prevent stones from forming in the first place, but it also helps dissolve the stones and relax your ureters so the stone can pass more easily. It can be taken as a tea, but taking it as a supplement is ideal.
3. Limit Animal Protein
Eating animal protein has been shown to increase the risk of kidney stones. This includes non-meat sources like eggs. The best thing to do is decrease the portion size when you do eat meat. Then replace some of your meals with vegan meals. If you include beans, lentils, quinoa, and plenty of veggies – your overall protein content won’t decrease.
4. Limit Salt and Sugar
Salt and sugar aren’t good for any health problem, so it’s no surprise that they’re bad for kidney stones too. Avoiding processed foods is key. Then replace some magnesium rich options for sugary options. Blending a frozen banana makes a delicious ice cream replacement.
Magnesium and Your Kidney Health
Combining these lifestyle choices along with the magnesium supplement should allow you to greatly limit if not entirely avoid any more kidney stones.
Remember that if a magnesium deficiency was leading to your kidney stone problems, it was probably also leaving you with other health problems. You may be pleasantly surprised that other parts of your body start working better and feeling better too.
There’s no reason to be a part of that 80% statistic, buy some magnesium and get feeling better soon!