Renal Health and Green Tea
Kidney stones: What causes them?Kidney stones are the result of high amounts of calcium or similar minerals that accumulate in the tract, eventually clumping together and forming stones. These stones can be extremely painful causing the kidneys to swell and at times resulting in blood in urine, nausea, and fever. Most often, kidney stones are made from calcium oxalate.
Tea and its impact on kidney stones
Reports have been conflicting, as far as the link between tea and kidney stones is concerned. Some prior studies claimed that tea contains have amounts of oxalate, and the calcium oxalate levels in the urine can in fact increase because of tea consumption, thereby increasing the risks. However, more recent studies indicate green tea reduces the risk of kidney stones forming, with the risk reducing by 8 percent in women and 4 percent in men.
The difference in inferences is primarily due to the understanding of how extracts of green tea affect the formation of crystals. These extracts bond to calcium oxalate, and result in a change in the shape of the crystalline, preventing it from joining together and forming into stones. Smaller crystals pass through urine more easily and do not cause as much pain as bigger ones. Green tea causes the oxalate crystals to become flat and less stable, breaking them up in turn.
Research is still being conducted to conclusively relate the consumption of green tea with the formation and breakdown of kidney stones. However, it is important to consult a renal specialist before consuming tea, if diagnosed with a renal disorder or kidney stones.