Your chances of getting a kidney stone can be substantially reduced by taking in a healthy amount of calcium from non-dairy sources, researchers say.
Kidney stones are caused by a buildup of chemical waste in urine that eventually forms into crystals that are difficult to pass through the system. Symptoms of a kidney stone can include pain in the lower back, blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting or a fever.
Experts believe a kidney stone can have a variety of different origins which include obesity, eating foods with excess salt or sugar, hereditary issues and not drinking enough water.
A study featured in the online edition of The Journal of Urology examined the amount of dietary calcium related to both non-dairy and dairy products and if this relationship can lead to a lower risk of kidney stones.
Dr. Eric Taylor from the Maine Medical Center in Portland led a team of researchers on an analysis of three separate studies: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Nurses' Health Study I and the Nurse's Health Study II.
These studies followed over one million healthy men and women under the age of 60 for a duration of 20 years. Every four years participants were asked to complete food frequency surveys to establish their calcium intake.
Individuals involved with the study were split into five groups depending on how much calcium they were exposed to. The group with highest calcium intake showed a 77 percent better chance of lowering their risk of a kidney stone compared to the group with the lowest calcium intake.
Men and women who took in over 450 milligrams of calcium a day from non-dairy products showed a 50 percent better chance of warding off kidney stones. Those who took in over 800 milligrams of calcium a day from dairy products reduced their kidney stone risk by 30 percent compared to those who took in around 150 milligrams, Reuters reported.
"This is another piece of data to suggest that there's no role for dietary calcium restriction for kidney stones," Taylor told Reuters. "Although most stones that form in the kidneys are made of calcium oxalate, people should not be afraid of consuming calcium in foods."