While it hasn't been scientifically proven, there are many people who support using lemon juice as an effective remedy for kidney stone treatment. Some claim combining a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice to dissolve the kidney stones is the most successful treatment, while others suggest having undiluted lemon juice offers the best results. But with all the controversy surrounding using lemon juice as a kidney stone treatment one thing is certain, it definitely has nutritional benefits for kidney health.

Causes of kidney stones

To determine how lemon juice impacts on the kidneys and specifically kidney stones, it's initially important to understand what causes kidney stones. The causes of kidney stones and different types that are commonly developed are listed below:

Struvite: this type of kidney stone often develops after a kidney infection.

Cystine: these kidney stones are generally the side effect of a genetic disorder.

Calcium oxalate: the most common form of kidney stones, these result from a build-up of calcium in the kidneys.

Uric Acid: often caused from consuming too much meat, shellfish and fish, this type of kidney stone is quite rare.

Kidneys remove excess build-up of calcium by producing kidney stones.

When referring to how effective lemon juice is as a kidney stone treatment, it's important to understand that it's only the calcium oxalate form of kidney stones that it has any impact on. Calcium oxalate kidney stones are a by-product that occurs when the body has too much calcium, which the kidneys try to remove from the bloodstream through excretions in the urinary tract. Some of the causes of excess calcium oxalate are foods such as spinach and kale.

How lemon juice can be effective for kidney health

Although tests haven't been conclusive that lemon juice can dissolve kidney stones, it has been proven to reduce the likelihood of the kidneys developing calcium oxalate stones. Because lemon juice has high levels of citric acid, which tests have revealed lowers the acidity of urine, this results in a lower frequency of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

While lemon juice also contains vitamin C, so far it's been inconclusive whether this also works in conjunction with the citric acid in stopping this type of kidney stone forming.

What amount of lemon juice should you consume for better kidney health?

While it's important to be aware that lemon juice has many benefits for enhanced kidney health, it's crucial to know how much you should be taking on a daily basis. The reason being, if you're not aware of the recommended dosage you may experience side effects such as tooth enamel breaking down or heartburn and ulcers developing.

Generally 60 to 120ml is believed to be a suitable amount of lemon juice to consume to enhance your kidney health and avoid calcium oxalate kidney stones. But lemon juice should never be ingested in an artificial form, it should only be taken raw and natural, directly from freshly squeezed lemons if it's going to have the best results. Bottled lemon juice is often pasteurised, which removes the valuable raw enzymes and strips the nutrients.

Enjoying your daily consumption of lemon juice for increased kidney health

The thought of having a 60 to 120ml of lemon juice on its own doesn't sound overly appealing to most, but there are other ways you can make it more palatable. Whether you choose to add a shot of lemon juice to smoothies, tea, or hot water and raw honey, there are many alternatives available. You can also make healthy lemonade by pouring the juice into cold water and adding Stevia, to avoid having more sugar in your diet. Another well known concoction for improved kidney health is mixing 150ml of olive oil with 150ml of lemon juice, which may not be tasty on its own but could be the basis of a great salad dressing!

Although lemon juice hasn't been scientifically proven to be an effective kidney stone treatment, it has been identified to reduce the chances of developing calcium oxalate stones, which is crucial for kidney health.

In short, in these cases, lemon is an effective preventative measure but not a treatment.

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Author: Dr Phillip Katelaris

About Dr Phillip Katelaris

Dr Phillip Katelaris, a urologist in Sydney. With over 25 years’ experience in urological practice and surgery, Dr Katelaris is a well-respected professional in the field. He has been interviewed on Channel 7, 2GB and 2UE on his expertise and experience in urological practice and men’s health issues.