Kidney Stones and Lemonade

A medical connection between kidney stones and lemonade?

Oftentimes, doctors prescribe potassium citrate to increase urinary citrate levels. Whereas potassium citrate may have some side effects, lemonade does not and provides a safe and natural cure for kidney stones.

Urological centers that treat kidney stones will place their patients on a lemonade therapy as part of a larger regime and diet for kidney stones.

A study done by the Duke University Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center, followed patients that had kidney stones and lemonade therapy. They discovered that the patients had slowed their formation of kidney stones and their existing stone accumulation had been reduced.

Lemonade Therapy

As far as scientific research is concerned, lemonade therapy and potassium citrate therapy have proven to be the most effective natural kidney stone remedies.

Potassium citrate helps increase citrate levels in the urine to prevent oxalate from forming.

Kidney Stones and Lemonade

Lemonade is also effective in treating kidney stone formation and is recommended by doctors at the Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center, Duke University Medical Center, Division of Urology, Durham, North Carolina. Both produce higher urinary citrate levels that reduce calcium oxalate binding.

According to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, lemonade therapy combined with potassium citrate was more effective than lemonade therapy alone at increasing urinary citrate.

Below is a copy of the abstract (Permission secured through Rightslink 2012.)

Lemonade Therapy Increases Urinary Citrate and Urine Volumes in Patients with Recurrent Calcium Oxalate Stone Formation


Potassium citrate is prescribed to patients with calcium oxalate (CaOx) stone formation to increase urinary citrate and pH, thus reducing CaOx crystal formation.

Lemonade therapy (LT) might also increase urinary citrate and the total urine volume. We compared the effects of LT alone (group 1, n = 63) and potassium citrate plus LT (group 2, n = 37) in patients with CaOx stone formation on the urinary citrate and total urine volume to determine the efficacy of LT.


Adult patients with CaOx stone formation and three or more clinic visits from 1996 to 2005 and three or more UroRisk profiles were included in our retrospective analysis.


Urinary citrate increased maximally by 203 and 346 mg/day for groups 1 and 2, respectively. The maximal total urine volume increase was 763 and 860 mL/day for groups 1 and 2, respectively. The urinary citrate and total urine volume increased sooner during follow-up for group 1.

By the last clinic visit, the urinary citrate and total urine volume had decreased in both groups. However, group 1 sustained a greater total urine volume than did group 2 (2.35 ± 0.10 standard error versus 2.17 ± 0.12 L/day). Urinary citrate was greater in group 1 (765 ± 56 standard error versus 548 ± 56 mg/day for group 2), but the change from baseline to the last visit was significant (P = 0.008) only in group 2.


LT resulted in favorable changes in urinary citrate and total urine volume in our series. Potassium citrate with LT was more effective than LT alone at increasing urinary citrate. Because maximal changes for urinary citrate and total urine volume were achieved earlier in follow-up, individualized encouragement and motivation should be provided to patients at each visit for sustained prevention.

Lemonade recipe:

Add 1/2 cup of lemon concentrate to 7 cups of water.

Sweeten to taste.


My sister-in-law recently found this sweet treat using lemon juice and stevia.

Other beverages have implications for kidney stones. Coffee, tea, grapefruit juice, beer, wine, alcohol and cranberry juice can either be beneficial or detrimental.

Find out more about kidney stone beverages.

More Fluids

The key is to drink more! More water, more lemonade...more fluids in general. Water and lemonade are the best choices for kidney stone sufferers.

Doctors at the Duke University Kidney Stone Center recommend drinking at lest 3 liters of water per day. That sounds like a lot, but the point is to create an environment in the kidneys and bladder that is not conducive to the production of urine salts that crystallize resulting in kidney stones.

For those of you that like medical seminars, here is a video taken at Duke University of Michael Lipkin, MD. Assistant Professor, Duke Urology of Raleigh. "Kidney Stones: Symptoms, Prevention and Relief". You'll find him quite informative. He even talks about kidney stones and lemonade.

Many people can understand the necessity of drinking more fluids but find it hard putting it into practice.

Find a way to make yourself drink more, whatever it takes. Carry around your own giant thermos. Measure out 3 liters at the beginning of the day and take it with you wherever you go.

Try pouring three liters worth of water or lemonade into some glasses and see what 3 liters of liquid looks like when poured. Maybe that will give you a mental image of what it is going to take.

The point is to drink more water (lemonade). You'll be glad you did!

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Litholink Website

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Return from Kidney Stones and Lemonade to Kidney Stone 911 Homepage

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