Although we are familiar with lemons for making fresh lemonade, natural household cleaning or facial tonics, folk medicine claims that this juice, which is rich in vitamin C, may in fact dissolve kidney stones although science does not yet confirm this. But science does agree that the use of lemons in our diet can certainly be beneficial to the health of our kidneys.
Types of Kidney Stones
The main contributors to kidney stones include:
- Calcium Oxalate — Too much calcium deposits in the kidneys (the most common).
- Struvite — Caused after a kidney infection.
- Cystine — Usually the result of a genetic disorder.
- Uric Acid — Results from overconsuming meat, fish, and shellfish (rare).
Calcium is a mineral necessary for the teeth, heart, bones, and nervous system. When the body has too much calcium, the kidneys react by extracting it from the blood and letting it out through the urine. There is a problem when the body also has too much oxalate, a plant found in foods like kale and spinach. This combination can form calcium oxalate, the most common of kidney stones.
Lemon Juice for Kidney Health
Lemon juice which is high in citric acid (not ascorbic acid or vitamin C) seems to reduce the development of calcium oxalate stones. In studies they have found that the citric acid from lemon juice reduces urine acidity and at the same time reduces the development of kidney stones.
Vitamin C is another one which seems to help but definitely lemon juice helps to prevent kidney stones before they even start forming.
How Much Lemon Juice Should You Consume?
2-4 ounces of lemon juice is enough citric acid to support kidney health. It is best to consume raw so do not purchase in bottles as this process strips of many nutrients. You can drink it as a shot by itself or put in smoothies or mix it with honey and hot water or make your own fresh lemonade by mixing it with cold water. If you need it to be sweet you should add stevia.
If learning more about which foods contribute to improving and supporting normal kidney function and which foods may not be quite so helpful, be sure to check out our All-Natural Kidney Health & Kidney Function Restoration Program on our shop page.
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Zuckerman JM1, Assimos DG. Hypocitraturia: pathophysiology and medical management. Rev Urol. 2009 Summer;11(3):134-44.
Oussama A1, Touhami M, Mbarki M. In vitro and in vivo study of effect of lemon juice on urinary lithogenesis. Arch Esp Urol. 2005 Dec;58(10):1087-92.