Researchers have found proof that a citrus fruit extract can hamper the growth of painful kidney stones and dissolve the crystals.
The most common component of kidney stones are the compound hydroxycitrate (HCA) which dissolves calcium oxalate crystals. Study says that it acts as an effective drug for the painful condition.
“HCA shows promise as a potential therapy to prevent kidney stones,” the researchers explained and published online in the study, the journal Nature.
“The findings are the result of a combination of experimental studies, computational studies and human studies,” said lead author of the study Jeffrey Rimer, Associate Professor of at the University of Houston in the US.
Kidney stones are usually small, hard mineral deposits that are formed inside our kidneys. Diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity can increase the risk, and the reported incidence is on the rise.
For over the last three decades, there are no many changes in the preventive treatment. Patients who are at risk of developing stones are told by doctors, to drink lots of water and avoid foods that are rich in oxalate, such as rhubarb, okra, spinach and almonds.
It is recommended to take citrate (CA), in the form of potassium citrate, a supplement that can slow crystal growth, but not many people are able to tolerate the side effects.
“HCA may be preferred as a therapy over CA (potassium citrate),” the researchers said.
The studies of CA and HCA has determined that while both these compounds inhibit the growth of calcium oxalate crystals, HCA was said to be more potent and displayed distinctive qualities that adds benefit to the development of new therapies.
HCA was also tested in human participants. Seven people were asked to take the supplement for three days. This allowed researchers to determine that HCA is excreted through urine, which was the requirement for the supplement to work as a treatment.
Rimer explained,”The research established the groundwork to design an effective drug, questions remain. Long-term safety, dosage and additional human trials are needed.”