Kidney stones are small, pebble-like objects formed by mineral deposits in the kidneys. They can cause severe pain and sometimes require shock wave therapy or even surgery to remove, but researchers from the University of Chicago now believe our beneficial gut microbes may be able to help.
Specifically, a type of bacteria called Oxalobacter formigenes may play a key role in the prevention of kidney stones by reducing the amount of oxalate in the urine. Oxalate is a substance secreted by the kidneys and the main energy source for Oxalobacter formigenes.
Too much oxalate in the urine can lead to the formation of kidney stones. However, findings from the study, published online this month in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, revealed that Oxalobacter formigenes worked to reduce urine oxalate levels in mice by 32.5 percent.
“Probiotic bacteria have several health benefits,” noted lead author Dr. Hatim Hassan in a recent news release. “The fact that these factors retain their biological activity and can effectively reduce urinary oxalate excretion in mice indicates their significant potential as novel therapeutic agents.”