Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on March 21, 2022
Traditional home remedies, passed on for generations in the family, are often more beneficial than they are credited for. One such frequently used supplement is apple cider vinegar or ACV for short.
Over the decades, ACV has emerged as a highly acclaimed medicinal cure for many health issues. But, what is the relationship between kidney stones and apple cider vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar for Kidney Stones
Proponents rave about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Studies show that ACV has many beauty applications ranging from using it as a face wash to treat acne, to general-purpose skincare, and even using ACV for hair growth.
However, apple cider vinegar for weight loss as well as a home remedy for gout are two of the most popular applications. The versatility of ACV has left researchers wondering about whether or not ACV can dissolve kidney stones.
In this article, we’ll see what the research says about apple cider vinegar and kidney stones and whether ACV should be considered a viable natural remedy.
What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis), not to be confused with gallstones, are solid masses made from chemicals and by-products from the urine that accumulate in the kidneys. However, they begin developing at any part of the urinary tract.
Waste compounds from the urine often begin forming crystals due to insufficient liquid presence. Similar crystals keep joining together long before they become a stone of calcium, urate, oxalate, cystine, or other harmful chemicals.
On some occasions, the kidney works to ensure the stone is excreted out of the body through the urine. However, it may also move down the urinary tract into the ureter, urethra, or bladder, causing pain and discomfort.
- Read More: ACV and Baking Soda: What Are the Benefits?
Kidney Stones vs UTIs
A urinary tract infection (UTI) refers to an infection in the urinary system. This happens when bacteria or fungi from the urinary tract infect the kidneys, uterus, bladder, or urethra.
While UTI and kidney stones are some of the most prevalent kidney diseases, they are not interconnected. A UTI is most often caused by an external contaminator, while kidney stones happen due to the deposition of consumed substances.
The trigger factor for both diseases also varies greatly. UTI concerns an individual’s urinary hygiene, sexual activities, and menstruation. Kidney stones are commonly caused by obesity, gastrointestinal diseases, a high-protein salt diet, or lack of hydration.
Scientific research has constantly reiterated the antimicrobial and antifungal properties of ACV, but is that enough? Let’s see what science says about how to get rid of kidney stones with apple cider vinegar.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Dissolve Kidney Stones?
Most research studies using ACV for kidney stones are a bit vague. Beyond mere anecdotal claims, little direct evidence proves the use of ACV as a means to dissolve kidney stones once they’re formed. But, its chemical composition and other medically proven advantages may help in prevention.
A case study from 2019 is one such example where 9000 participants were involved. Regular consumption of vinegar, with high acetic acid concentration, reported reduced chances of nephrolithiasis. (1)
A similar conclusion was reached by a 2017 study that focused upon factors influencing kidney stones. With other beverages like tea and legumes, fermented vinegar displayed a significant role in reducing the risk of the disease. (2)
ACV offers negligible quantities of carbs, fats, or proteins. However, sufficient traces of potassium have been recorded in the vinegar. Many of its acclaimed health benefits, including the impact on kidney stones, are due to this composition.
A 2016 report by the American Society of Nephrology studied the effect of dietary protein and potassium on kidney stone formation. It concluded positive results regarding stone prevention with an adequate potassium intake. (3)
Another case study by The Korean Urological Association discusses the role of dietary therapy in dissolving kidney stones. It includes mention of citric acid and potassium as effective preventive measures. Traces of both of these substances are found in ACV. (4)
A common health benefit associated with ACV is its ability to detox and cleanse the body. Research studies have asserted this with positive results showing its antimicrobial and antifungal activities. The anecdotal claim by proponents is that this resistance to microbes helps ACV dissolve kidney stones in their initial stages. (5)
- More Reading: Best Time to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
How to Get Rid of Kidney Stones with ACV?
When using ACV as a natural remedy for kidney stones, remember to not drink it in its concentrated form—always dilute it first. Making a detox drink is a helpful approach to dilute the vinegar and add some extra flavor. To make an apple cider vinegar and honey shot, here’s what you need:
- One cup of hot water
- One tablespoon raw, organic ACV
- One teaspoon of honey
Mix the hot water with the organic ACV and stir it well. Top it off with some honey or a sweetener of your choice, and a simple ACV detox drink is ready! You may always add a personal touch of your choice, like cayenne pepper, cinnamon, or turmeric.
Apart from dilution, we also suggest you avoid consuming more than two tablespoons of ACV per day.
Other Ways to Take ACV
If you’d like to bypass the hassle of preparing an ACV drink, you can use an alternative method for intake. ACV is a very versatile liquid, available in many different forms.
- For a more appealing option, look into buying delicious ACV gummies.
- Kidney stone patients may consume ACV pills or capsules.
- If you’d like to take a subtle approach and only consume small amounts, try adding ACV to your everyday meals. For instance, cooking it with meat and vegetables or making a vinaigrette salad.
Potential Side Effects
- Delayed stomach emptying or digestive issues
- Erosion of tooth enamel (this is why diluting ACV with water is important)
- Burning or sore throat following consumption
- Skin burns from excessive contact with ACV
Other Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones
- Stay Hydrated: Consuming sufficient water is the most important part of reducing the risk for further stone formation and dissolving the pre-existing ones. Once part of the urine, the stones will easily excrete out. Minimize beverages such as coffee, tea, or alcohol that promote dehydration and drink as much water as possible.
- Lemons and Limes: Citrus fruit containing citrate is great for dissolving kidney stones. Citrate will ensure the breakdown of small stones and will be particularly effective for calcium stones. (6)
- Maximize Dietary Calcium. Not all calcium contributes to kidney stone formation. Research shows that dietary calcium intake appears to decrease the risk of symptomatic kidney stones, while supplemental calcium increases the risk. (7)
Final Thoughts on ACV and Kidney Stones
Some of the research behind apple cider vinegar for kidney stones may be inconclusive, but it seems likely that ACV can at least help in prevention. When paired with some of the other natural remedies, such as staying hydrated, adding citrus fruit into your diet, and avoiding fluids that lead to dehydration, you should be able to keep this issue under control.