The only thing more painful then a kidney stone, is the idea of getting another kidney stone. But could 7-Up be the miracle cure for kidney stones? We’ve heard a lot lately about the downside to soda consumption, and before you ban the bubbly treat indefinitely, you may want to read this. Though it’s too soon to make any definitive recommendations, new lab research suggests that certain citrus-flavored diet sodas (such as 7-Up, Sunkist, Fanta, Fresca, or Sprite) could potentially help prevent kidney stones. Apparently, these sodas contain large amounts of citrate, a compound that is known to curb the development of calcium oxalate stones – the most common type of kidney stone.
The new study was published in the Journal of Urology, and results suggest that citrus-flavored diet sodas could potentially represent a level of added protection for people who are prone to forming kidney stones. The root cause of kidney stone development is the presence of more crystal-forming substances (like calcium, uric acid and oxalate), than the body can effectively dilute using available fluids. According to Dr. Brian H. Eisner, a urologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and lead researcher on the study, people who tend to form kidney stones more readily often have very little citrate present in their urine.
A previous study completed 10 years ago found that consuming a homemade lemonade drink was also helpful in boosting urine citrate levels. This latest study focused on the capacity of commercially available drinks to offer this same benefit, and used diet rather than regular soda in order to limit both sugar and calories. Citrus-based sodas contained somewhat higher citrate levels than the homemade lemonade used in earlier tests.
Doctors frequently recommend taking potassium citrate supplements to treat or prevent calcium oxalate or uric acid stones. The real effectiveness of the homemade lemonade drink is unclear, but Eisner notes that some doctors do recommend it to their patients. Now, urologists may be recommending soda. Dark colas such as Diet Coke, were found by researchers to have little to no citrate.
As noted, it is still too early to say that such sodas can actually help prevent kidney stones, but Eisner and his colleagues are conducting further studies to hopefully address this question. Meanwhile, patients are generally advised to drink 2-3 liters of water or other fluids each day, and of course to seek medical advice as necessary if there are any concerns regarding diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones.