Magnesium and Kidney Stones
All minerals that occur naturally and are derived from food sources are vital for normal body functions, and one among these vital minerals is magnesium which is extremely important for maintaining good health. Now, human body contains numerous complex proteins called enzymes that bring about specific biochemical reactions. For the enzymatic reaction to occur successfully it also requires organic compounds like vitamins and minerals. Magnesium plays a critical role in most enzymatic reactions occurring in human body and its deficiency can deteriorate normal functions of almost every organ system in the body.
Magnesium has a natural calcium channel blocking effect. Normally, calcium channel blockers prevent the entry of calcium into human cells. Cells contain large porous channels through which calcium can enter and if these channels are obstructed through muscle cells that contract tubes, the fluid can pass through the tubes more freely for they will relax and increase in width. Now, kidney stones are composed of various minerals and can vary in size and shape. Moderate sized and large stones can get lodged in the ureters, a tube that carries urine away from the kidneys into the bladder. Since calcium channel blocker can assist in widening the ureters, passage of a kidney stone through them is made easier thereby hastening the voidance of kidney stone.
Magnesium inhibits calcium oxalate crystal formation. Generally, human urine consists of substances that prevent crystallization of minerals found in urine. In some individuals, these substances may not perform its functions the way it should, leading to stone formation; or stones may also be produced when stone forming substances are greater in quantity than it normally should occur, encouraging crystallization of minerals in urine. Of all types of kidney stones formed, calcium oxalate is considered to be the most commonly produced one due to many factors, but mainly from consuming oxalate rich foods. The mineral called magnesium aids in preventing calcium from combining with oxalate to form crystals. Magnesium also helps in displacing calcium, making it a more soluble compound that can be easily excreted.
When magnesium is ingested in huge quantities, either by way of consuming magnesium rich foods or choosing to take supplements, urinary magnesium excretion increases. This in turn, because of its affect on calcium, will aid in reducing kidney stone formation composed of calcium oxalate. Hence, to follow a diet rich in magnesium and low in oxalate producing foods is recommended for those who are prone to producing calcium oxalate kidney stones. All types of kidney stones give rise to almost similar symptoms. Expelling a stone out of the system can be a painful episode for the individual. However, tiny ones can be voided with little or no pain. Every kidney stone sufferer would opt for natural remedies and ways to prevent any further stone formation to avoid having to go through the excruciating pain again.
Increasing intake of magnesium rich foods would be a necessary step to be taken by such people. Pumpkin seeds, cowpeas, Lima and black beans, artichokes, cornmeal, buckwheat flour, etc. are all natural sources of magnesium. Although spinach too is a good source of magnesium, it is also high in oxalates; so this leafy vegetable should be eliminated from the person’s daily diet.
In addition to this, if the sufferer maintains to take his or her regular supply of fluids, kidney stone formation can be prevented to a large extent.