The mainstream media is all in a lather this summer over a “hot,” new study that links extreme weather to an increased risk of kidney stones. For the study, researchers analyzed medical records for 60,433 adults and children. And compared them to weather records for the years between 2005 and 2011. They discovered when temperatures rose in cities like Chicago, Dallas, and Philadelphia, hospital visits for kidney stones spiked as well. And the largest spike occurred within three days of the hottest days recorded.
Of course, the politically correct media immediately attempted to lay this finding at the feet of “climate change.” (Curiously, they don’t call it “global warming” anymore after last winter. Plus, this summer, another “polar vortex” plunged temperatures throughout the U.S. to 10 degrees or more below average during what is normally the hottest week of the year in the middle of July.)
But the researchers linked their finding to dehydration, which I believe is already an epidemic in the U.S. Between the poor quality of drinking water…all the soft drinks…sports beverages and energy drinks full of chemicals…many people are dangerously dehydrated. And they don’t even know it! Even chocolate, excessive coffee, and green/black tea can cause dehydration due to the presence of caffeine–which can cause the kidneys and GI tract to lose water.
Green/black tea consumption presents a double whammy. It contains caffeine. And it deposits stone-forming oxalic acid in the kidney.
In the April 2014 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, I pointed out this problem. Plus, you would have to drink about 16 cups of green/black tea per day for the health benefits to kick in. That kind of habit could contribute to kidney stones as well. (Subscribers to my newsletter can access this archived issue on my website at for free. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.)
Of course, nobody pointed out in these reports that kidney stones don’t suddenly appear overnight. I explained this concept to one concerned Daily Dispatch reader who worried his consumption of dark chocolate over just one year caused his kidney stones.
But this theory simply isn’t true.
Kidney stones build up slowly over time due to the deposition of minerals and acids in the kidney’s drainage system (ureters). And chronic dehydration is certainly a contributor.
In the end, this study merely illustrates the point I’ve been making all along…chronic dehydration causes kidney stone formation. On hotter days, dehydration turns a forming kidney stone into a more severe problem. It can cause a sudden increase in acute pain. And it probably pushed these patients over the edge to seek treatment for a problem that’s been building for years.
Interestingly, researchers did not find this heat effect on kidney stones in Los Angeles, which was also included in the study area. Perhaps the residents in that hot, dry desert have already gotten the message about staying hydrated.
So, what should you do to protect against kidney stones?
Avoid soft drinks, sport beverages, and energy drinks. And limit your exposure to caffeine, oxalic acid, and tannic acids in green/black tea. Instead, stay hydrated by drinking South African red bush (rooibos), which is naturally caffeine-free and oxalic acid-free. Plus, it’s low in tannic acid.
I helped develop a brand of red bush called Red Joe ®. You can add this water-soluble powder pack to any beverage, hot or cold. In addition to providing fluid and electrolytes, it nourishes your cells to provide hydration on a cellular level. Especially during the hot summer months.
- “Daily Mean Temperature and Clinical Kidney Stone Presentation in Five U.S. Metropolitan Areas: A Time-Series Analysis,” Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1307703