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Regular consumption of lemon juice could help prevent kidney stones, suggests new research presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Atlanta, Ga. Lemon juice may help by stimulating the body to produce urinary citrate, a chemical in urine that prevents crystal formation.


Researchers looked at medical records from 100 patients who'd been prescribed lemonade therapy to treat calcium oxalate kidney stones, the most common type. About two-thirds of patients drank roughly 4 ounces of pure lemon juice that they poured into 2.5 liters of beverages throughout the day, or 32 ounces of low-sugar or low-calorie prepared lemonade. The remaining patients combined lemonade and potassium citrate, a drug that helps make urine less acidic and discourages formation of kidney stones.


After 40 months of treatment, all patients experienced increases in both urinary citrate and urine volume, but only those on lemonade therapy experienced a significant increase in urine volume. Increased urine volume may help prevent kidney stones. A similar study presented at the conference involving 12 patients with hypocitrauria (low levels of urinary cirtate) produced similar findings.


Researchers say that lemon juice may be a simple, effective alternative for patients who can't tolerate potassium citrate, but they call for more research to confirm their findings. Others caution that drinking 2 liters of lemonade a day would add a large amount of calories and sugar to the diet.

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