Q: Can moderate wine consumption prevent kidney stones from forming?—Alfred, London
A: Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that can cause severe pain when passing through the urinary tract. In a 2013 study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, scientists found that moderate wine consumption was associated with a lower risk of kidney stone formation.
"Wine-in-moderation research shows benefits of 30 to 40 percent reduction in [kidney stone production]," Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center nephrologist Dr. Ganesh Shidham told Wine Spectator. "Wine inhibits a hormone called ADH, leading to more urine production and dilute urine, which makes the chance of stones go down." Dr. Shidham cautions that most studies linking moderate wine consumption to reduced kidney stone occurrence are based on questionnaires or population studies, but he says that no studies to date have linked moderate wine consumption with a negative impact on kidney stone sufferers. "All the studies we have show water is the best," he says of kidney stone prevention. "Next is wine."
However, those with a family history of kidney stones may not find relief in moderate wine consumption. Dr. Shidham explains that the course of stones in those with a genetic predisposition is much more aggressive. As always, consult your physician before incorporating wine into a healthy lifestyle.