Blackcurrant Juice May Cut Risk of Kidney Stones
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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A glassful of blackcurrant juice may make the risk of a certain type of kidney stone go down, a small study suggests.

Researchers in Germany measured levels of compounds associated with kidney stones in the urine of 12 healthy men aged 18 to 38 and determined their urinary pH levels after they consumed plum, cranberry or blackcurrant juice on separate days.

In the study, pH levels of urine increased after the study volunteers consumed blackcurrant juice, report researchers in the October issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Low urinary pH, which indicates that the urine is more acidic, is associated with uric acid kidney stones. Uric acid kidney stones make up about 10% of kidney stones, which can also be comprised of calcium, oxalate or other minerals. About 85% of stones are comprised mainly of calcium.

Cranberry juice, on the other hand, decreased the urinary pH, suggesting that it may help to treat certain other types of kidney stones or urinary tract infections (UTIs), which affect more than half of women in the US, according to at least one survey. UTI symptoms can be mild, such as a frequent urge to urinate and pain on urination, or more severe, such as high fever, pain and blood in the urine.

The plum juice had no effect on pH level of the urine, or the excretion of compounds that play a role in kidney stones.

The study included only healthy adults or those with no history of kidney stones or kidney disease. Future studies should investigate the effect of juice on the urine of patients with stones, note the researchers, led by Dr. T. Kessler from the University of Bonn in Germany.

SOURCE: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;56:1020-1023.

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