- What has changed in the last forty years in your life?
- Are you the victim of nanobacteria?
- Natural protection against kidney stones
I received one of those humorous round robin emails the other day.
They’re usually an instant victim of my DELETE button, but I quite liked this one’s description of the difference between 1970 and now:
1970: Long hair
2020: Longing for hair
1970: Going to a new, hip joint
2020: Receiving a new hip joint
1970: Rolling Stones
2020: Kidney Stones
Indeed, in the rock’n’roll heyday of the ’60s and ’70s it might have been a pleasant surprise to find a ‘Rolling Stone’ in your toilet.
But as you get older, it’s a different story, isn’t it?
Although I haven’t yet suffered the agony of kidney stones, I’ve read a lot about them….
And I must say, they are one of the most fascinating by products of the human body.
A stone that is not a stone
To start off, kidney stones are NOT stones.
They’re small chunks of calcium which crystallize in your kidney when the salts and minerals in your urine are out of balance.
When small, the stones roll easily out of your body through your urine.
But when they grow too large, they can block your flow, causing sudden and extreme pain.
You may also find persistent, intense pain in your back or sides… blood in your urine… cloudy urine… a burning feeling during urination… or fever and vomiting.
So if you suffer any of the above, go and see your doctor immediately.
He or she will be able to work out what’s going on by analyzing your blood or urine. If you do have a stone, an X-ray can spot where it is and how big it is.
Next you need to go for a lithotripsy.
This is where a machine sends tiny shock waves through your body, dissolving the stone into particles tiny enough to pass through your urine.
On my research trail, I stumbled across this piece of advice:
“If you think you are passing a stone in your urine, try to catch it in a strainer. You can then take it to your doctor who can take a look at it.”
This sounds like a good idea in theory. But I’ve been thinking about it further…
Are you supposed to keep a tea strainer hanging in your lavatory?
And if so, what do you tell your guests?
Or… if you feel something strange moving through you while you are at the toilet… are you supposed to run to the kitchen to grab a sieve…. then dash back to catch the stone when it drops?
Sounds like a bit of a palaver to me…. or am I missing something here? (Answers on a postcard please!)
The 3 stone types
There are three main types of kidney stone:
– Calcium stones are the most common. They are made of calcium and oxalate, which are chemicals found in high content in some foods.
– Uric acid stones are caused by eating a lot of meat, fish and poultry. Conditions like gout can also increase your risk of getting them.
– Struvite stones (infection stones) are often found in women. They are caused by having too much ammonia in the urine. Ammonia is produced by the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.
But how exactly are they built up into these big stones?
Well, brace yourself….
I’ve found a fascinating new theory that links the stones in your kidneys to the rocks on Mars…
The theory of nanobacteria
You might be mistaken for thinking that a nanobacterium would be something fairly recently discovered but in fact they have been known about for a while now.
In 1998, a couple of Finnish researchers found that the fluids of our body contain millions of ‘nanobacteria’.
They claim that these bacteria build themselves small mineral shell homes out of a substance called ‘apatite’ (also found in your bones and teeth).
“Apatite may play a key role in the formation of all kidney stones,” reported the Finnish researchers.
They believe the nanobacteria and their homes could build up layer by layer to form the stones.
Many NASA scientists believe there may have been similar nanobacteria on Mars and in meteorites, although the jury’s still out on that one.
Despite its weirdness, this theory is gathering pace…
The Mayo Clinic confirmed the existence of the particles in May 2004. Since then, nanobacteria have been implicated in many medical conditions where there is calcification involved… such as hardening of the arteries and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Pretty deep stuff, huh?
But while this is fascinating and cutting edge science, you probably want to know how to prevent these stones developing in the first place…
How fluids help you fight off kidney stones
Robert A. Hiatt M.D. has written about kidney stones in the ‘American Journal of Epidemiology’.
His best advice is as follows:
“Doctors have long urged kidney stone patients to adopt a low-protein, high-fibre, high fluid diet. But a study suggests that the most important thing to do is drink lots of water – 6 to 10 eight-ounce glasses a day.”
Recent research also suggests that coffee, alcohol and milk are GOOD for kidney stones.
This is because coffee and alcoholic drinks like beer are diuretics (that means that they dilute urine and increase the amount of times you need to go to the lavatory).
Natural protection against kidney stones
You can also try these natural protective remedies…
– Drink cranberry juice. Many experts believe it helps lubricate your urinary tract and aid in the passage of stones. Others believe that cranberry juice reduces the amount of calcium in your urine.
Try drinking two eight-ounce glasses daily as a preventive.
– Also try magnesium rich foods like pumpkin seeds, tofu, wheat germ, seafood and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
Julian Whitaker M.D., president of the Whitaker Wellness Center in California suggests that you supplement your diet with both [magnesium] and vitamin B6 each day.
– AVOID grapefruit juice. Two major studies have found that drinking grapefruit juice more than once a week increased the risk of forming a kidney stone.
It’s not that grapefruit juice CAUSED the stones, but researchers believe it Must have a relationship with other culprits.
Of course, keeping to a good diet is crucial too, but as a Good Life reader you’ll know that already.
Remember… eat good natural food, have a bit of what you fancy, enjoy your life, and all should be well!