Are Cranberry Juice Drinks the Cause of Kidney Stones?

Are Cranberry Juice Drinks the Cause of Kidney Stones?
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Kidney Stones

For many years it was believed the cranberry juice drinks could be used as a home remedy to help prevent kidney stones. After the latest research results were concluded, it’s now believed cranberries may very well be the cause of kidney stones. Cranberry juice may not be the perfect remedy for kidney stones as once thought because of the minerals it contains.

If you have had kidney stones in the past, it’s very likely you will have them again. Once you have been diagnosed with the stones it’s very common for them reoccur. The cause of kidney stones occurs when salts and minerals in the urine begin to stick together. The minerals and salts begin to crystallize into hard masses in the kidneys. Once the minerals and salts have crystallized (forming stones) it causes pain in the lower back and abdomen. This often produces a frequent urge to urinate and pain while doing so.

Cranberries Linked to Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

The main causes of kidney stones are from calcium and oxalate in the urine. People with a history of having oxalate kidney stones are at an increased risk of getting them again. Oxalate kidney stones are the most common form of kidney stones. Cranberry juice drinks contain high concentration levels of oxalate, which increases the risk for getting the stones. Oxalate is the most common component in kidney stone formation.

Cranberry Risks

Cranberry juice contains many risk factors for creating kidney stones. Recent studies have shown that consuming cranberry juice alters the components of urine. Cranberry juice increases magnesium and calcium levels in the urine. Cranberry juice also raises levels of calcium present in urine. Cranberry converts calcium and vitamin C into oxalate, increasing the risk for kidney stones. The juice contains the same minerals as other foods that are known to cause kidney stones. These foods include: coffee, chocolate, nuts, spinach, wheat, and bran.

Although cranberry juice has shown to be effective in preventing brushite kidney stones, these are very rare and unlikely to occur. Although the juice will reduce the risk for these kidney stones there is little chance the will ever form anyway. It’s in people’s best benefit not to drink cranberry juice in large quantities because it will raise their chances of getting the most common form of kidney stones, oxalate kidney stones.


“Kidney Stones: Preventing Kidney Stones through Diet” By Monica Rhodes, May 30, 2007

“Cranberry (Vaccinium Macrocarpon)” February 1, 2008

“Cranberry Juice not a good Kidney Stone defense” August 25, 2008 Journal of Urology

Photo: “Cranberries in a Blue Bowl” By Melodi2 Stock.xchng


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