The prospect of the benefits of cranberry tablets for kidney stones is bleak, as studies that have been conducted on the effects of these tablets have shown mixed results.
First let us have a brief up on the condition of kidney stones. True to its name, this condition is marked by the formation of stones inside the kidneys. Scientists are of the view that this condition does not have any definite cause, and more often than not, a group of conditions may be responsible for the formation of kidney stones in people who stay highly vulnerable to develop the condition. Now these stones can occur in different types. The most common type of kidney stones are calcium stones, sometimes known as calcium-oxalate stones. These stones are a result of higher concentration of calcium or oxalate in the urine, which allows the minerals to stick together, thus forming into stones.
Then there are uric acid stones (caused by high amount of acid in the urine), and struvite stones (magnesium-sulfate stones) which usually are a result of an infection such as a urinary tract infection. A type of kidney stones known as cystine stones can also develop, but the condition is a rare occurrence. Characteristic symptoms of this condition include severe pain that originates in the area below the ribs, pain while urinating, urine becoming pink or red, nausea or vomiting, increased urge to urinate, and fever if infection is also present. Now speaking of cranberry tablets, they are formulated nutritional supplements that contain concentrated form of cranberries.
Are Cranberry Tablets Good for Kidney Stones?
Since long, cranberries have been known to work wonders in the treatment of urinary tract infections, and know for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer benefits. However, when it comes to the subject on kidney stones, latest research have been able to produce results that might sound disappointing to those who believe that these berries are a natural treatment option for treating or curing kidney stones. Research have shown mixed results about how would cranberries affect this condition of the kidneys.
You might have gone through what I have explained above, that most common types of kidney stones are known to be the calcium-oxalate stones, especial in the United States. Cranberries, as to what experts have said, have the ability to increase the levels of both calcium and oxalate in the urine. So considering this, it may be obvious that their consumption, especially in the form of tablets, may increase the chances of calcium-oxalate stones formation in people who tend to be susceptible to it. The same goes with uric acid stones, as cranberries also tend to increase urine uric acid levels.
Having said that, the fact that cranberries help in treating urinary tract infection, may show some beneficial results. As mentioned, struvite stones may follow infections such as urinary tract infection thus, cranberries tablets may in fact, help in reducing the chances of forming these types of kidney stones in vulnerable people.
So what can be inferred from the above explanation is, the research on the use of cranberry tablets for the treatment of kidney stones does not have any solid results, which can provide with a definite answer. With this view in mind, patients with kidney stones, or those who are prone to develop the same, must always exchange words with their doctors before considering the inclusion of cranberry or any of its product in the diet. As cited, since most cases of kidney stones turn out to be the calcium-oxalate types, cranberry tablets may not be a good choice to go for.
In case of small kidney stones, drinking as much as 1.9 to 2.8 liters a day, and using over-the-counter pain relievers may be good enough for managing the pain and other symptoms. However, for cases wherein, the stones are too large or are on the verge of causing complications, treatment may consist of using sound waves to break the stones, or surgery to remove them from the area where they have formed.