November 28, 2012

Gluten and Kidney Stones – Is there a connection?

 

More and more gluten-disease connections are being made on a daily basis.  Part of the skepticism surrounding the gluten free diet, is that many people claim that going gluten free is a cure all for disease.  Of course this is not the case, however; gluten has been linked to hundreds of different medical conditions.  For more on this topic, watch this >>> video <<<  A recent case study reported resolution of kidney stones with a gluten free diet.  The abstract of the report is listed below:

A young boy with prior constipation developed recurrent severe calcium phosphate kidney calculi, sometimes sufficient to cause acute kidney failure and hydronephrosis. After several major surgeries, food allergies were determined by serum immunoglobulin E testing, and when he finally went on a gluten-free diet, he stopped forming calculi and has had no surgeries related to kidney calculi since. Hyperoxaluria was not identified in this child by 24-hour urine analysis, unlike most other reports of kidney calculus formation in individuals with gluten intolerance.

Source:

Iran J Kidney Dis. 2012 Mar;6(2):146-8.

How Can Gluten Contribute to Stone Formation?

There are numerous potential mechanisms, but two of the most plausible have to do with gluten and it’s impact on proper nutrient digestion and absorption, and gluten as a trigger for the autoimmune response.  Clinically, I have personally treated patients who have had complete resolution of kidney associated disorders by going on a gluten free diet.  Some of these problems include:

  • Renal stones
  • High blood pressure
  • Stages I-IV kidney failure
  • Abnormal glomerular filtration
  • Abnormal blood urea nitrogen
  • Abnormal creatinine levels

A review of medical literature on the topic shows even more connections between gluten and kidney dysfunction.  The following is a page snapshot from the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

Vitamin D Deficiency – A Contributor to Kidney Stones

Another common contributor to kidney stone formation is vitamin D deficiency.  I have seen many patients with chronic recurrent kidney stone formation become asymptomatic after correcting low levels of vitamin D.  This can be checked for by any doctor.  Just ask him/her to run a 25 OH D test.  This important nutrient helps regulate the level of calcium in your blood stream.  Vitamin D deficiency can cause your body to pull calcium out of the bone and into the blood stream.  When this happens too aggressively, the kidney attempts to filter the calcium out of the blood and into the urine.  For many, this process can lead to the formation of renal calculi (stones).

From:Holick, Michael.  Am J Clin Nutr 2004;79:362–71.

Critical Functions of Vitamin D

  • Regulation of mineral balance and bone health
  • Regulation of muscle strength and balance
  • Regulation of appropriate immune response and autoimmune disease
  • Regulation of blood sugar
  • Regulation of Blood pressure
  • Regulation and control of cell maturity and cancer formation

For more information on vitamin D visit this link <<<

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One Response to “Gluten and Kidney Stones – Is there a connection?”

  • Deb says:

    Calcium oxalate stone problems run in my family and extended family, and the doctors’ only consistent prevention recommendation is to drink a lot of water. I’ve read how gluten can cause a decrease in blood flow to the frontal cortex part of the brain. Although different organs in the body, is it possible that gluten could also decrease blood flow in the kidney, further contributing to stone formation? Nutritional difficiencies make sense as well, but I was just wondering. If they didn’t know until somewhat recently that gluten slowed flow of blood to areas of the brain, might this affect be occurring elsewhere?

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