Health Advice



How to help prevent first-time and recurrent kidney stones

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

When William Shatner was on the set of "Boston Legal," he was whisked off to the emergency room for acute lower back pain. Turned out, he had a kidney stone. When he passed it, he auctioned it off for $75,000, which he donated to a housing charity.

Great use of that wickedly painful stone; but, in general, it's better to take steps to avoid one from ever forming, or, if it happens to you once, to dodge a recurrence.

Kidney stones may indicate chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. And once you develop a stone, there's a 30% chance you'll have another episode within five years. So researchers from the Mayo Clinic looked at how diet can help you dodge the problems.

Their study found that lower intakes of dietary calcium and potassium, as well as lower intake of fluids (less than 108 ounces of water from liquid and foods), caffeine and phytate (a form of phosphorus in bran and seeds), are associated with higher odds of developing a symptomatic kidney stone for the first time. But, if your diet includes plenty of calcium- and potassium-rich foods, you may prevent a repeat attack.

The bottom line: A daily intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium may help prevent first-time and recurrent kidney stones. It's found in sardines, salmon, winter squash, edamame, almonds and dairy (make it non-fat). Also, aim for 3,400 milligrams (men) and 2,600 milligrams (women) of potassium daily. It's in dried apricots, prunes, raisins, orange juice, bananas, acorn squash, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, legumes, nuts and yogurt.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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