Supplements and Kidney Stones

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    Nov 05, 2007 4:20 PM GMT
    I'm a "starter" in the weight training world and have been working with a personal trainer three times a week for the past month. I have a 12 week contract with him and haven't missed a session yet. I've also been trying to put on weight over the past month and have been using Muscle Milk once or twice a day. This past Saturday, I passed a massivekidney stone icon_cry.gif and I wonder if the supplement had anything to do with it?? Can anyone recommend a supplement for weight gain that doesn't run the risk of creating new kidney stones? Any advice is greatly appreciated and thanks in advance to anyone who can help me out with this.

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    Nov 05, 2007 7:59 PM GMT
    What kind of kidney stone? Apatite? Uric acid? Calcium Oxalate?

    Most common is calcium oxalate.

    Do they know the "cause" of the stone? That is, excess calcium, excess oxalate, fucked up pH in your kidney, etc?

    While dietary calcium doesn't increase your chances of stones (and actually will bind dietary oxalate and carry it out before it gets to your kidneys) calcium supplements have been shown in older women (given for osteoporosis) to increase chances of stones. Check if your supplements have more than 2-3x your daily allowance of calcium.

    If they are calcium oxalate stones, lemon juice (added to your water) can help adjust your kidney pH somewhat to decrease precipitation of stones.
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    Nov 05, 2007 8:13 PM GMT
    Hmmm.....I can't help but think how interesting it is that I passed one too after using the same supplement for about three months myself! It wasn't a big one and it wasn't very painful, but it sure shocked the hell out of me! I have since stopped using the MuscleMilk, but not because I saw any connection between it and the stone. In fact, I still don't know if there is a relation, but now that the question has been posed, I think I will follow this thread too.

    Glad you brought it up, AM.

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    Nov 05, 2007 8:54 PM GMT
    I haven't had the stone analysis results given to me yet, but I'm going to guess that it's calcium oxalate. I have "hyper calcuria" and take a diuretic to flush out excess calcium - and I drink tons of water, as well. I had a long history of stones and had both ureters replaced so that stones wouldn't get obstructed on their way out. The problem with this one was that it got stuck at the bladder neck and had to be 'forced' out. It wasn't too bad, but I was surprised at how large it was. My most recent CT scan showed multiple bi-lateral stones....but, they were all less than 3mm. This one was the size of a pea!

    I like the idea of adding lemon juice to water and increasing the acidity. I'll start that right away. Thanks for this tip, Dr. Science!

    Sahem - I'm going to ask my urologist if there's any correlation and will loop around to this again.

    p.s. My photo is 'awaiting approval' so the profile is locked until it's been accepted.
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    Nov 05, 2007 9:27 PM GMT
    It's an interesting question, but sounds as if you already knew the answer.

    Kidney stones form when crystal-forming salts reach saturation concentrations within the kidney. The controlling factors are the concentration of the salts and the pH of the solution. In your case, the high calcium concentration would push the equilibrium toward precipitation.

    I doubt that a moderate consumption of protein supplement would cause stones for most people. There are have been statistical associations between high protein diet and kidney stones, however, putting patients on reduced- protein diets had no effect on subsequent stone formation.

    Several researchers have proposed that most kidney stones are caused by bacterial infections, but their work is not yet widely accepted. Bacteria can cause mineral formation by a variety of mechanisms, but as far as I know, nobody has yet proved that the species isolated from kidney stones can cause their formation in a second individual. (There are a few pesky ethical limitations to doing the proper experiment.)
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    Nov 05, 2007 11:59 PM GMT
    My kidney stones are caused by "hypocitraturea" which means I excrete too much citrate, fucking up the pH of my kidneys.

    Increasing potassium levels can also increase the solubility quotient in your kidneys, but that's usually done as a side thing (Combining it with say, citrate in the form of potassium citrate pills).

    I passed a stone about 2-peas large last week. It's... marvelous. It's my first stone in three years.

    The lemon juice has shown some very promising results in preliminary studies.

    Like I said, they've actually discovered that dietary has either no effect or a beneficial one (binding oxalate before it can get into your blood stream). There's a relatively good consensus now that reducing dietary calcium (unless it's exceptionally high via calcium supplements) is actually a *bad* plan because your body maintains a level of calcium in your kidneys no matter what. If you reduce the calcium levels then your body will simply pull more calcium from your bones to keep the level constant.
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    Nov 06, 2007 6:03 PM GMT
    I could be totally off base, but I find it hard to (or just don't want to) believe that using Muscle Milk for three weeks could have contributed to such a huge volume change of an existing 3mm stone and grow it to 8mm. Can a stone really grow that fast? It's scary to think so....

    Do you think that if I change the Muscle Milk shake from milk to water it will make a significant difference in stone risk? Also, I'm using Detour bars most days....does this add to stone risk too? I really want to increase the calories, but I don't want to overload my system with things that will add to stone formation. If the use of milk in the shakes is negligible, then I might just have to back off of all supplements and come up with a menu that packs in calories but is lower in protein and calcium.

    Thanks to all for your feedback.
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    Nov 06, 2007 6:47 PM GMT
    Despite multiple tests they have yet to show any correlation between milk and stone formation.

    I'm unfamiliar with MuscleMilk, and moreso with the precise reason for your stones (hypercalciurea means you have too much calcium in your urine, but there are several causes).

    For me, stones can form and grow to about 3-4mm in about a month, so your growth is similar in your time span.

    The question is, where is your high calcium coming from? The most common reasons are:

    Excessively high dietary calcium

    And less commonly, rickets. Also, exceptionally long bedrest can cause hypercalcemia or HCU as the bones soften. This is unlikely in your case, clearly.

    The real answer here is you have to *have to* go talk to your doctor. It could be that you happened to be skirting the limit of calcium levels and the increase pushed you over the edge. Or that the increase in protein adds just enough extra stress on your kidneys to knock you over a threshold. In either case a simple dietary change will fix it.

    But, it could also be that you're flirting with complete renal failure (which can cause hyper-parathyroidism) in which case extreme dietary change, hormone therapy, and more are required so your entire body doesn't shut down.

    So... doctor. See one. If they don't give you clear answers, get another. I've been through a bunch of nephrologists and urologists to stick with ones who will explain things, and keep up on the literature. It's worth it. Kidneys are not something to mess with. See a doc.