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Ketosis and Kidney Stone Prevention

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/16/2024

When adopting the keto diet, many people want to also ensure that they are protecting themself from the possible formation of kidney stones.

Learn about kidney stones, common causes, and how you can work to prevent them while adhering to the keto diet.

Understanding the Ketosis Diet and Kidney Stones

While the ketosis diet is beneficial for weight loss, it can also increase calcium excretion through urine. Ketones have a tendency to attach themselves to calcium, resulting in more of it being eliminated from the body.

The role of calcium in kidney stone formation

Excessive urinary excretion of calcium often leads to kidney stones. While this might sound scary, don't panic. You can take steps to avoid this problem occurring.

When too much calcium ends up in your urine instead of being absorbed into your bones and muscles where it belongs, these extra minerals can form crystals when they accumulate over time and aren't flushed out effectively. This leads to the formation of kidney stones.

The trick here isn’t necessarily avoiding a ketogenic lifestyle altogether but rather learning how to make tweaks that would help us stay on track without increasing our risk for stones.

Human Kidney stones medical concept as an organ with painful mineral formations

The Impact of High Oxalate Foods on Kidney Stones

Many folks love their spinach salads and chocolate treats, but did you know these are high in oxalates? These naturally occurring compounds can increase your risk for kidney stones. Yes, even healthy foods like spinach and cruciferous vegetables can cause issues.

The Benefits of Kale

If the news about spinach has got you down, don't fret. Kale is an excellent substitute that's low in oxalates compared to spinach, making it an excellent choice for those following a ketogenic diet.

Besides being great for your waistline, kale helps protect against kidney stones. This humble vegetable not only supports weight loss goals but also keeps your kidneys happy by reducing the risk of stone formation.

Dietary Calcium and Its Role in Preventing Kidney Stones

Many people might be surprised to learn that dietary calcium can play a crucial role in preventing kidney stones. It's not only the quantity that matters, but also when and with what foods it is consumed.

The Importance of Cheese in a Ketosis Diet

Cheese is more than just a tasty addition to your keto meals; it could also help keep those pesky kidney stones at bay. This is because cheese, as an excellent source of dietary calcium, can bind with oxalates from other foods within our digestive system.

Oxalates are compounds found naturally in many foods we eat daily. When they bind with calcium during digestion - rather than later on inside the kidneys - they're harmlessly eliminated through waste.

This way, enjoying some delicious cheese alongside high-oxalate dishes like spinach or chocolate can prevent these oxalates from causing trouble.

So next time you reach for that hunk of cheddar or crumble some feta over your salad, remember you’re doing something good for your kidneys, too.

The Importance of Citrates for Kidney Stone Prevention

It's time to spotlight citrates and their crucial role in kidney stone prevention. The relationship between citrate levels and kidney stones is straightforward: the lower your body's citrate levels, the higher your risk of developing kidney stones.

Incorporating Lemon Juice into Your Diet

Lemons aren't just great for adding zest to dishes or brightening up a glass of water; they're also loaded with citrates.

Adding lemon juice to your diet can help raise those essential citrate levels. This doesn't have to be complicated—simply squeezing some fresh lemon juice into your kale shake or a glass of water can do wonders.

This simple yet effective method works because lemons are rich in natural citrates. Consuming them regularly not only adds a refreshing twist to your meals but also helps decrease the risk of kidney stones by increasing citrate concentration in urine.

Magnesium Intake and Kidney Stone Prevention

Battling kidney stones can be a difficult challenge, yet it is achievable. One surprising remedy is magnesium.

Magnesium-rich foods

Choosing the Right Magnesium Supplement

You might wonder how to get more of this stone-fighting super mineral into your diet. One way could be through magnesium supplements.

Sometimes, you may come across supplements that have both calcium and magnesium in them. While they may seem like a two-for-one deal unless there's a specific need for extra calcium - stick with pure magnesium supplements instead.

The reasoning behind this is that adequate magnesium intake alone can help prevent kidney stones from forming by reducing oxalate levels, a significant contributor to stone formation.

Can Vitamin K2 Help Prevent Kidney Stones?

The potential role of vitamin K2 in preventing kidney stones is a fascinating subject of study. While vitamin K2 is widely recognized for its benefits in promoting bone and cardiovascular health, its influence on kidney stone prevention is unclear.

Kidney stones are typically composed of various minerals, primarily calcium oxalate, and their formation is a complex process influenced by multiple factors.

Some research suggests that vitamin K2 may help by supporting proper calcium metabolism and reducing the accumulation of calcium in soft tissues, which could indirectly contribute to a lower risk of certain types of kidney stones.

However, it's essential to understand that vitamin K2 alone is unlikely to dissolve kidney stones or be a definitive preventive measure.

Preventing kidney stones typically involves maintaining proper hydration, dietary adjustments, and, in some cases, medical interventions. If you're concerned about kidney stones, consulting a healthcare professional for personalized advice is advisable.


While adopting the keto diet can be beneficial for weight loss, it's essential to be mindful of potential kidney stone formation. Excessive calcium excretion and high oxalate foods are common culprits.

However, incorporating kidney-friendly options like kale, cheese, and lemon juice into your diet can help mitigate these risks. Additionally, maintaining proper hydration and considering supplements like magnesium may offer further protection.

Consulting a healthcare professional for personalized advice is always wise. With the right strategies, you can enjoy the benefits of the keto diet while safeguarding your kidney health.

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