Thursday, September 03, 2009

Help for Kidney Stones

Dr. Steve Chaney is a rare bird – so to speak. A very, very smart man who can talk about scientific topics in a way that even I, a non-science person, can understand. Dr. Chaney teaches Biochemistry and Bio-Physics to medical students at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Dr. Chaney reviews scientific studies and papers for those of us who don’t, or can’t, read them. He recently reviewed a study about the effects of sports drinks on kidney stones – I found it interesting so thought I’d pass it along. Thanks Dr. Chaney!

When you are the leader in the natural food supplement industry, people sometimes test your products without you even knowing about it.

That was exactly what happened with a recent study comparing the effects of Shaklee's Performance and Gatorade on the risk of kidney stone formation.

This was the ultimate independent study. Shaklee didn't initiate it. They didn't support it. And, in fact, they didn't even know about it until it was published a couple of weeks ago (J.W. Goodman et al, Urol. Res., 37: 41-46, 2009).

Before I get into the results of the study, perhaps I should start with an explanation of why you would even want to do that kind of study.

Let's start with the problem - kidney stones. They are extremely painful, and they can damage the kidney - particularly if they form over and over again.

To a urologist the solution is simple - just drink two liters of water a day. The problem is that you have to really, really, really like water to drink two liters a day, and most people just aren't that into water.

In fact, previous studies had shown that even when patients had a previous kidney stone and were told by their urologist to drink two liters of water a day, the average result was an increase of only 0.3 liters a day of water.

So this group of urologists asked what people were drinking instead of water.

The latest trends show that soft drink consumption is decreasing and consumption of sports drinks and energy drinks is increasing. And, there was absolutely no information on whether sports drinks increased or decreased the risk of kidney stone formation.

So they decided to look at two well-known sports drinks, Shaklee's Performance and Gatorade, to see whether they would increase or decrease the risk of kidney stone formation compared to the consumption of an equivalent amount of water.

They looked at the effect of each sports drink on the amount of citrate in the urine and by how much they increased the pH of the urine because each of these decreases the risk of kidney stone formation.

They also looked at the effect of each sports drink on the amount of sodium and calcium in the urine because each of those increases the risk of kidney stone formation.

Performance significantly increased the amount of citrate and the pH of the urine, while Gatorade had no effect on either of them. Neither Performance or Gatorade had an significant effect on sodium or calcium levels in the urine. Thus, they concluded that Shaklee's Performance was superior to either Gatorade or water alone at deceasing the risk of kidney stone formation.

Now you might be tempted to say that this study was of more interest to urologists than the general public. But my guess is that if you have ever suffered through a kidney stone this study is of great interest to you.

But to me the more important conclusion is that, once again, independent clinical studies show the superiority of Shaklee products.

My kids and I love the orange Performance. I particularly enjoy it mixed with a Pomegranate Cinch Tea packet. A burst of energy – and no nasty crash. What’s not to love?

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