We know quite well the sort of effects changes in gut bacteria can have on digestion, and scientists have been exploring ways it may impact weight, depression, and other organs. Here’s another for the list: the sort of bacteria we cultivate may increase or decrease our risk of developing kidney stones.

With the weather warming up, the risk of kidney stones goes up too. But you may be able to do more to prevent them if this new study about our bodily bacteria proves true.

While our gut hosts the most famous colony of gut bacteria and our skin the second, they exist throughout the body—in fact, you’re more bacteria than human. Researchers noted that kidney stones were associated with a change in gut and urinary tract microbiome changes, and picked further at that correlation by looking at the effect of antibiotics on the risk for kidney stones.

Sure enough, taking antibiotics increased the risk of developing kidney stones. A particular group, sulfas, which are specifically used for treating urinary tract infections, increased the risk the most, an effect that could linger for up to 5 years.

Kidney stones have become more common lately, and the overprescription of antibiotics may be one factor.

If you want to prevent kidney stones, stick to the usual prevention methods, but add taking a good probiotic to the list—it can only help:

-Drink lots of water, especially as the weather gets warmer. Keeping things flushed out is the best prevention. It may only take one day of heavy activity without water to grow a nasty kidney stone, so always be prepared—throw a reusable bottle in your gym bag, swim bag, or travel bag, and store some sealed bottles in your car in case of emergency.

-Certain foods and drinks may contribute to kidney stones. While kidney stones are made out of mineral deposits, you still need to eat things with calcium (for example) for good health. Stick to a healthy diet and drink mostly water, and you should be good. Avoid cheap multivitamins, as they’re often made out of chalk (whatever the label says). Chalk is a cheap, hard for the body to use source of calcium. Higher quality supplements like Vita One or Cal Mag Complete use minerals that are easy to digest and use, supporting your health rather than clogging your body.

-And adding probiotics to the list, make sure that you’re either eating fermented foods regularly or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement like Flora MGR. The microbiome changes that antibiotics cause can impact more than just kidney stones, so it’s always a good idea to “restock” the body with good bacteria after an illness.

Share your kidney stone tips with us in the comments:


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