Cranberry Juice and Kidney Stones

There is quite a bit of interest in the cranberry juice and kidney stones connection. Why all the buzz? Well, the results are inconclusive. The properties of cranberry juice have both positive as well as negative attributes.

Cranberry juice and cranberries in general have elevated levels of oxalate. Elevated levels of oxalate in the urine increase the likelihood of calcium binding with the oxalate and forming kidney stones.

Having said that, I use the juice strictly during an episode for its ability to fight bladder infections and its ability in my case to move the stones along the ureter and into the bladder during a kidney stone episode.

That Funky Feeling

I came across the debate after I had suffered a kidney stone attack that left me rolling on the floor for hours. I noticed after the stone had passed that I had some blood in my urine and felt a sense of discomfort in my bladder area.

I told my wife that I had a "weird" feeling down there and she told me that she had a friend who had a bladder infection and she drank 100% pure Cranberry Juice and it cleared it right up. I jumped in my truck and drove down to the grocery store and went to their Health Food section where I found a glass bottle of 100% variety with no sugar added and guzzled it half-way down as soon as I got back in my truck. Within about thirty minutes the discomfort was gone!

Not Just for UTI

You may be saying...yeah, but that just cured the bladder infection. True, but the next time I had a kidney stone attack I was pacing around a friend's garage apartment trying to pass the stone. My friends wife asked if there was anything she could get me and I said, "Cranberry Juice!"

She returned within fifteen minutes with the juice and you won't believe what happened. I took a gulp of the juice and within 60 seconds I felt the urge to urinate. Mind you, I had tried urinating for the past two to three hours with no luck.

Well, within one minute of drinking the juice I passed the stone! Now, to be fair, it might have been a coincidence, but I am not one to question success! In both kidney stone episodes the juice did the trick. I'm a believer!

Cranberry Juice and Kidney Stones Connection?

It is true that there is a connection between cranberry juice and kidney stones. Kidney stone formers should restrict their oxalate intake as much as possible, as 85% of all kidney stones are of the calcium oxalate variety. Cranberry juice and cranberry extract has been shown to increase oxalate levels in the urine by 43%, but it has also been proven to increase urine production. Increased urine production helps flush a stone lodged in the ureter, thus expediting the ordeal.


There is a probable link between drinking lots of cranberry juice and kidney stone formation. If you form kidney stones it is a good idea to avoid drinking it regularly. Do you have to avoid it all-together? Probably not. Moderation rules.

“Cranberry is LIKELY SAFE for most people. Cranberry juice and cranberry extracts have been used safely in research. Cranberry juice is LIKELY SAFE for children. But drinking too much cranberry juice can cause some side effects such as mild stomach upset and diarrhea. Drinking more than 1 liter per day for a long period of time might increase the chance of getting kidney stones.” (National Institutes of Health)

The smart thing to do is drink more water!

I have experienced first-hand restorative properties of cranberry juice when passing kidney stones, both in helping to pass the stone expeditiously as well as clearing up the resulting UTI (urinary tract infection).

Although I've had unusual success with cranberry juice and kidney stones, there are a variety of foods and beverages that you will want to exclude and/or include in a proper diet for kidney stones

How about you? Have you had experience with cranberry juice and kidney stones? If so, please share your story below.

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