Kidney stones are a tough condition to have. Not only are they painful, but they can lead to more dangerous diseases.
Many things can cause kidney stones, but there are a couple of things that you wouldn’t even think of, mainly because they’re regarded as beneficial for your body. And while they are helpful, they can cause you to develop kidney stones if you aren’t careful.
Studies have shown that excessive consumption of foods rich in calcium has an adverse effect on health. In one of these studies, women who were asked to increase their calcium intake ended up with health complications.
These health problems included something called hypercalciuria, a condition characterized by increased calcium urinary levels. In addition, other reports showed that the women had high levels of calcium in their blood, which is commonly known as hypercalcemia.
These findings are closely linked to the fact that consuming too much calcium could cause kidney stones because of hypercalciuria. To explain this, scientists say that the surplus calcium in your urine can easily form salts. These salts will then crystalize to form kidney stones.
Kidney stones will develop due to too many substances in the body that help form crystals. These substances include uric acid, oxalate, and calcium. For this reason, experts advise people against excessive intake of calcium supplements to reduce the risk of suffering from kidney stones. However, other people are advised to consume foods rich in calcium too. The only way to find out what’s better for you is to visit your health provider.
Other studies point out that consuming foods rich in calcium was associated with reducing the chances of developing kidney stones. However, these findings were refuted because there’s a big difference between supplements and a diet rich in calcium.
If you eat food that has calcium, your body gains many different essential nutrients. For instance, eating foods rich in oxalate leaves your body healthy, while oxalate adheres to calcium during excretion.
Supplement calcium is equally essential in increasing the density of your bones, which explains why a doctor may recommend you take it. To reduce the chances of getting kidney stones, it’s better to eat foods rich in calcium or take the recommended calcium supplements together with your meals.
The case of kidney stone development may be more pronounced in people with a history of kidney stone formation. However, it’s better to regulate your intake of calcium, especially in supplements, because of the complicated process of calcium homeostasis.
1. Vitamin D
The intake of vitamin D supplements has been on the rise worldwide, especially among women.
These supplements are taken primarily due to their potential benefits to the body, including helping absorb calcium. However, the intake of vitamin D supplements for a long time also has a harmful side.
For instance, excessive vitamin D supplements intake has also been linked to the development of kidney stones, according to studies. These findings come even as other studies showed that vitamin D supplements are ideal for post-menopausal women because they help prevent osteoporosis, a disease in people with insufficient calcium levels in their bodies.
Calcitriol, the active metabolite of vitamin D, increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium. It’s well known that the excretion of urinary calcium is directly linked to the absorption of the calcium digested in your body. Hence, vitamin D metabolites can potentially increase calciuria, as mentioned before, resulting in the formation of kidney stones.
That said, vitamin D is an essential nutrient for your body as it helps to absorb calcium. Not only that, but this vitamin is also vital for your muscles, nervous and immune systems, and protection against seasonal affective disorder and depression.
However, if you take vitamin D supplements in excess, it becomes toxic to your body, resulting in health complications, such as kidney stones. The stones will develop due to a condition known as hypercalcemia, characterized by too much calcium in the body. The increase in calcium in the body is caused by the intake of excessive vitamin D supplements and has adverse effects, including kidney stones. This is because the excess vitamin D in your body will increase the body’s ability to absorb more calcium.
The excess calcium is then deposited in the kidneys, leading to nephrocalcinosis, a condition that can result in kidney failure. As a result, doctors don’t recommend you take too much vitamin D, despite it being really beneficial.
Due to hypercalcemia, the excess calcium will end up in your blood. It then forms deposits in your arteries and other soft tissues. In women, these deposits may expose them to earlier cases of kidney stones, whose chief component is calcium oxalate. Hence, the risk of the formation of kidney stones increases by the increased excretion of urinary calcium.