A question that can be found online in many places when people start a carnivorous diet is about kidney function, then it will almost always move into the realm of kidney stones.
Well, there is definitely more good news for you on this diet versus any other as you remove all the foods which contain the largest cause, calcium oxalates.
Does a carnivore diet cause kidney stones? The carnivore diet doesn't cause kidney stones, the cause is a collection of calcium oxalates that accumulate to form stones and these come from things like peanuts, spinach, chocolate, and more. These oxalates then attach to each other and slowly grow to create a stone.
Let us dive into your kidneys and how it is possible to treat them well and get their support for your life without issues and concerns. This should help you have peace of mind when you hear from people how "dangerous" your diet is, arm yourself with facts from real sources and you'll be all set.
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While there is a lot of disinformation online around meat consumption leading to increased kidney failure this is all entirely not found in the literature.
Unless you have pre-existing kidney issues eating a carnivore diet isn't going to increase your risk of kidney damage.
One of the things you can and should be doing to avoid kidney stones is to drink enough water each and every day. This will help you to urinate more frequently and help to avoid build up of calcium or uric acid.
One of the largest causes of human kidney stones are calcium oxalates which are contained in popular "health" foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, legumes, and even chocolate and tea.
Oxalates in a recent study were shown to have a correlation to mitochondrial dysfunction and risks also. Another recently pointed out that chronic exposure of ionic oxalate can alter breast cells, transforming the normal breast cells into tumor cells.(NIH Source)
Some typical examples of food in your local area that contain high levels of oxalate include: peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, chocolate and sweet potatoes. Though it also needs to be noted that the oxalate content of food can vary due to differences in things like your soil quality and the state of ripeness.
As you can see from this list a lot of the foods on the list are vegetables and fruits, nuts, and more. While meat "can" cause a uric acid stone traditionally a carnivore diet itself isn't massively high in protein versus a standard diet.
While meats could cause kidney stones your body is very attuned to cleaning itself of those byproducts of consumption as we have been eating meat for a million years, only recent times has allowed for simple and continuous vegetable intake.
While protein has been shown to cause a different type of stone this doesn't typically happen for most with adequate drinking of liquids.
The current research done to date has NOT found that kidney stones occur more often among those who follow low-carb or ketogenic diets for other conditions.
What is well known is that diabetes and high blood pressure cause more than two-thirds of all chronic kidney disease. Preventing, controlling or reversing these two conditions with a low-carb or carnivore diet may prevent the future development of kidney disease.
In 2005, kidney experts reviewed all the available scientific literature and concluded “while protein restriction may be appropriate for treatment of existing kidney disease, we find no significant evidence for a detrimental effect of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy persons.”Nutrition and Metabolism
What this may come from is that it takes a very long time for a kidney stone to form and when people report this to their doctor they say they are on a low-carb diet and it is immediately the "cause".
While I can't rule out the possibility that a carnivore diet could give you a kidney stone there is a load of other contributing factors which are at play in when you get a kidney stone.
There are many "home remedies" that can help with kidney stones which are typically agreed upon with medical backing: (source)
I have had a calcium based kidney stone almost 14 years ago and the pain was something I can't really explain in a helpful way. I have a very high pain tolerance and I was just broken down doubled over on the couch unable to sit, lay, or stand without pain.
They are a serious issue, especially if you have a large stone or multiple stones. I can say that while I have always been worried that I may have another I have increased my drinking to a much more consistent level and haven't had any issues being low-carb for now over 3 years+.
Please make sure if you feel you are having health issues that you speak and be honest with your physician, having them on your side will be invaluable to your long term success.
If you read this far you are amazing! I would love to hear from you in the comments below if I helped you gain knowledge and useful information, additionally I would like to know if I got anything incorrect that you believe should be researched more and updated. As always to get the word out please join our new Carnivore Rx group on Facebook and share this out on social media!