What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are formed by the crystallization of certain excretory products. Kidney stones are medically known as nephrolithiasis or renal calculi. Kidney stones are formed from imbalanced mineral ions.
AdvertisementsWhen the urine is supersaturated with minerals salts and chemicals such as calcium oxalate, struvite (ammonium magnesium phosphate) or uric acid, there is mineral crystallization in the kidney.
In fact, in normal conditions, factors like calgranulin, a protein formed in the kidney, citrate and magnesium in the urine inhibit renal stone formation. Chronic dehydration, certain medicines and highly acidic or alkaline urine can promote renal calculi. Small kidney stones are passed out painlessly in urine.
But some renal calculi may block part of the urinary system causing severe pain in the abdomen and groin and also cause kidney inflammation. A larger stone passing through ureter, the slender tube connecting kidney to the urinary bladder, can induce some of the worst pain that humans can experience.
Does magnesium inhibit kidney stones?Yes. Recent research by Julie M. Riley et al, published in Journal of Endourology, December 2013, throws light on the beneficial effects of Mg2+ on kidney.
The presence of Mg2+ in the medium had resulted in inhibition of calcium oxalate formation. Higher the concentration of Mg2+, greater is the effect on blocking calcium oxalate formation. The reaction was synergistic with citrate in inhibiting calcium oxalate formation. The inhibitory action continued even in acidic pH environment.
Julie M. Riley et al. concluded that,
The presence of magnesium ions tends to destabilize calcium oxalate ion pairs and reduce the size of their aggregates. Mg2+ inhibitory effect is synergistic with citrate and remains effective in acidic environments.Mg2+ through food sources can help in preventing kidney stone formation. Magnesium rich food sources like pumpkin seeds, greens and nuts can help in boosting the mineral intake. Its supplement in the form of oxide, hydroxide, citrate or malate salts of Mg2+ may also be taken. The dietary surveys in USA reveal that the intakes of magnesium are lower than the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). It is estimated that nearly one million Americans develop kidney stones each year.
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2.Massey L. Magnesium therapy for nephrolithiasis. Magnes Res. 2005;18(2):123-6.
3.Riley Julie M., Kim Hyunjin, Averch Timothy D. Kim Hyung J. Effect of Magnesium on Calcium and Oxalate Ion Binding. Journal of Endourology. December 2013, 27(12): 1487-1492.
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