New Study Shows Hydroxycitric Acid Can Be Used to Prevent Kidney Stones
A natural fruit extract called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is being proposed as an effective treatment for kidney stones. A new study shows that HCA can dissolve calcium oxalate crystals, which are the most common component in human kidney stones.
The study is a big deal because kidney stone research has stagnated over the past few decades. In the summary for the HCA study, researchers note that “this finding could lead to the first advance in the treatment of calcium oxalate stones in 30 years.”
How the Study Worked
The study was published on August 8 in the online edition of Nature. Researchers at the University of Houston sought to determine whether or not hydroxycitrate (HCA) was an effective inhibitor of calcium oxalate crystal growth.
Approximately 12% of men and 7% of women suffer from kidney stones. Those with high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity have a higher risk. Kidney stone incidents have been rising across America for decades.
Despite the rise in kidney stone rates, preventive treatment hasn’t changed much over the past 3 decades.
To this day, doctors still just recommend that you drink a lot of water while avoiding foods rich in oxalate (like rhubarb, okra, spinach, and almonds). Patients with a more serious risk might be told to take a potassium citrate supplement. Potassium citrate has been shown to slow crystal growth, but it also comes with unwanted side effects.
HCA is chemically similar to potassium citrate, which is how the study came about.
The study involved testing HCA on crystals outside of the human body, examining how HCA and CA bind to calcium and calcium oxalate crystals. HCA was found to form a stronger bond with crystal surfaces. This stronger bond induces a strain on the crystals, which ultimately leads to crystal dissolution.
The study also tested human subjects. Seven people took the supplement for 3 days, allowing researchers to determine that HCA was excreted through urine – a property that was required for the supplement to be used as a treatment.
How to Take HCA
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) can be found in a variety of fruits. However, it’s most commonly seen in garcinia cambogia, the popular Southeast Asian fruit used in diet pills.
HCA is the active ingredient in these diet pills. It’s the part of the pills thought to contribute to weight loss. HCA is thought to work by inhibiting fat production, suppressing appetite, and boosting your metabolism – although limited human research has been performed thus far.
Nevertheless, this latest study indicates that HCA has another potential benefit as a preventive measure for kidney stones – so you might want to pick up some garcinia cambogia supplements the next time you’re at the health food store.
Typically, garcinia cambogia supplements will advertise their dosage of garcinia cambogia along with their HCA content (displayed as a percentage). The most powerful formulas have a concentration of 60% HCA, although 40 to 50% HCA concentrations are also popular. Expect to pay between $20 and $50 for a one month supply of garcinia cambogia diet pills.
You can view the full study on the preventive effects of HCA on kidney stones here.