We love our ice-cold beers, especially on a hot summer day! As beer is naturally a diuretic, some kidney stone patients believe that drinking beer can help to encourage the passing of a kidney stone.
But are beers actually any good for your stones? And does the type of beer matter? Read on, before you reach out for your next pint!
How can beer help with kidney stone passage?
Beer is naturally diuretic, which means it dilutes the urine and increases the production of urine in your system1.
This may be helpful if you are trying to naturally pass a very small stone that is stuck in the ureter, and searching for ways to pee more often.
However, this would only be helpful for stones that are smaller than 5mm, and you still need to have sufficient fluids in your system. That means drinking more water, and staying sufficiently hydrated.
Does that mean I should drink more beer if I have a stone?
No! For kidney stone patients, the negative consequences of excessive beer consumption definitely outweigh any potential benefits it may have.
As with all alcoholic beverages, beer can cause dehydration. When your body is dehydrated, the concentration of minerals in your kidneys increases, making it easier for stones to form2.
Beers, especially stouts and porters, can also contain a high amount of oxalate3.
This can contribute to a higher risk of forming calcium oxalate stones, which are the most common kidney stones!
‘The darker beers have high oxalate content, so if folks are drinking beer, I would recommend sticking to the light beers.” – Dr Nishant D. Patel
Drink your beers in moderation! If you’re struggling to pass a small stone, water is still your best bet.
Chung, J. (2017, November 15). Flushing kidney stones by drinking beer a myth: Urologist. Taipei Times. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/11/15/2003682294
National Kidney Foundation. (2018, April 16). Can dehydration affect your kidneys? National Kidney Foundation. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.kidney.org/newsletter/can-dehydration-affect-your-kidneys#:~:text=Dehydration%20can%20cause%20a%20build-up%20of%20wastes%20and,lead%20to%20kidney%20damage%20if%20not%20treated%20quickly
Foods & Beverages High in Oxalates. (2017). Retrieved 2 June 2022, from https://med.virginia.edu/ginutrition/wp-content/uploads/sites/199/2014/04/Oxalate-Foods-02.17.pdf