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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
General Health Channel
Reported May 23, 2013

Kidney Stone Smarts: The Truth About Cola and Calcium

DURHAM, N.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- If a sharp pain hits your back or side, beware, it could be a warning sign of a kidney stone. Every year one million people in the U.S. are treated for them and there’s a lot of mis-information about the masses.

Jennifer Miller has had two kidney stones.

“It was horrible pain. It’s the worst pain. It’s just like childbirth,” Jennifer Miller told Ivanhoe.

Both needed to be surgically removed. During her ordeals, she heard a lot of bad information.

“There’s so many myths that I found out that aren’t true,” said Jennifer Miller.

The biggest one Kidney Stone Specialist Doctor Michael Lipkin hears? Avoiding calcium cuts the chances of kidney stone recurrence. Wrong! While it makes up about 75 percent of stones, Assistant Professor of Urology, Michael Lipkin, MD, at Duke University, told Ivanhoe that, “avoiding calcium is detrimental to kidney stone recurrence.”

To reduce the risk, he recommends 800 to one thousand milligrams of calcium or about three dairy servings a day. He also tells many patients, like Jennifer, who’ve had a stone to drink 100 ounces, about three liters of fluids a day to prevent future stones; but could the extra minerals in hard water actually cause kidney stones? Probably not! Research shows hard water has little to no impact on your risk.

The doctor says when it comes to cola he believes some are bad.

“It is controversial. In my practice I do tell patients to try to avoid dark colas,” said Dr. Lipkin.

Many dark sodas contain phosphoric acid which has a questionable link to an increase in kidney stone risk.

However, as Dr. Lipkin explained, “there are actually sodas that can help prevent stones.”

He says those with citrus, like Sprite, diet orange soda, even Mountain Dew can help prevent calcium in the urine from forming a stone, but make sure you have plenty of water too!

A few more facts about kidney stones, they are more common in Caucasians. And men get them more often than women, but the number of women getting them is on the rise. Finally, if you have more than one, you’re much more likely to develop additional stones in your lifetime.

For additional research on this article, click here.

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If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Andrew McIntosh at


         Michael Lipkin, MD
         Assistant Professor of Urology
         Duke University Medical Center

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