Study: Drinking OJ can help prevent kidney stones
Drink up your Uncle Matt’s OJ every day, and you may reduce your risk of developing painful kidney stones by 12%, according to one study. OJ has a high level of potassium citrate, which binds to calcium in the urine, preventing stones from forming.
All citrus juices contain citrate, a negatively charged form of citric acid that gives a sour taste to citrus fruits. Researchers examined the effects of orange juice and lemonade — juices with comparable citrate contents — and found that the components that accompany the citrate can alter the effectiveness of the juice in decreasing the risk of developing new kidney stones.
Kidney stones develop when urine is too concentrated, causing minerals and other chemicals in the urine to bind together. Over time, these crystals combine and grow into a kidney stone. In a UT Southwestern study, 13 volunteers — some with a history of kidney stones and some without — underwent three phases, each lasting one week. Chosen in random order, the phases included: a distilled water or control phase; an orange juice phase; and a lemonade phase. There was a three-week interval between phases.
During each phase, volunteers drank 13 ounces of orange juice, lemonade or distilled water three times a day with meals. They also maintained a low-calcium, low-oxalate diet. Urine and blood samples were taken at intervals during each phase. The study was done at UT Southwestern’s General Clinical Research Center.
The study found that orange juice increased levels of citrate in the urine and reduced the crystallization of uric acid and calcium oxalate, the most common components of kidney stones. Lemonade did not increase citrate levels.
All the more reason to drink your glass of OJ every day.
Source: Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.