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Southern California Urology Institute
Gary Bellman, M.D., F.R.C.S.
Board Certified Urologist
Fellowship Trained, Certified in Robotic Surgery

Expertise, Understanding, and
Extraordinary Results


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Can a High Sodium Diet Contribute to Forming Kidney Stones?

By: Dr. Gary Bellman on June 9, 2017, 6:32 pm

There are multiple causes of kidney stones, some of which are inherited and others of
which can be controlled.  One main controllable cause of kidney stones is a high-salt diet.
 
When your body excretes the salt you eat in urine, calcium is excreted as well.  Thus, the more salt you eat, the more salt and calcium will be excreted in urine.  When calcium levels in the urine become too high, the calcium spills out into the urine and form kidney stones with sharp edges that may lodge in the kidney or ureter; higher calcium excretion may lead to kidney stone formation, particularly if fluid intake is inadequate.
 
Our bodies do need some sodium to help to regulate the amount of water in in the body and for the muscles to work correctly, but  most Americans eat more salt than is required, which is no more than 2,300 mg a day for healthy individuals and less than 2,000 mg for those with certain diseases.  This amount is the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt.
 
Tips to Limit Salt Intake

Limiting salt intake is easier said than done, as this seasoning is present in many foods, especially processed foods. The first straightforward tip is to remove the salt shaker from the dinner table.  Additionally, salt is often present in excess levels in processed foods, such as cured meats, canned goods, and many snack foods.  
 
Individuals who are trying to limit their sodium intake can also keep in mind for ingredients and hidden sodium content, such as:
  • monosodium glutamate, or MSG
  • sodium bicarbonate, the chemical name for baking soda
  • baking powder, which contains sodium bicarbonate and other chemicals
  • disodium phosphate
  • sodium alginate
  • sodium nitrate or nitrite
 
Almost all kidney stone patients will benefit from simple dietary changes which include increasing their fluid intake and limiting certain types of food.  Together, these simple steps have been shown to decrease the risk of forming another stone and will also improve overall health and well-being.
 


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