DALLAS Aug. 31, 2006 A daily glass of orange juice can help prevent the recurrence of kidney stones better than other citrus fruit juices such as lemonade, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered.
The findings indicate that although many people assume that all citrus fruit juices help prevent the formation of kidney stones, not all have the same effect. The study is available online and is scheduled to be published in the Oct. 26 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Medically managing recurrent kidney stones requires dietary and lifestyle changes as well as treatment such as the addition of potassium citrate, which has been shown to lower the rate of new stone formation in patients with kidney stones.
But some patients can't tolerate potassium citrate because of gastrointestinal side effects, said Dr. Clarita Odvina, assistant professor of internal medicine at the Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research and the study's lead author. In those cases, dietary sources of citrate such as orange juice may be considered as an alternative to pharmacological drugs.
"Orange juice could potentially play an important role in the management of kidney stone disease and may be considered an option for patients who are intolerant of potassium citrate," Dr. Odvina said.
All citrus juices contain citrate, a negatively charged form of citric acid that gives a sour taste to citrus fruits. Researchers compared 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 the urine is too concentrated, causing minerals and other chemicals in the urine to bind together. Over time, these crystals combine and grow into a stone.