Kidney Stones
A 9-month-old child, who suffers from kidney stones, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Hefei, Anhui province October 16, 2008. Reuters/Jianan Yu

Calcium oxalate crystals, the most common component of human kidney stones, may be dissolved by a natural fruit extract, US researchers have found. The finding may lead to the first advancement in treating calcium oxalate stones in 30 years. Thus, a new way to prevent kidney stones has been discovered and that should have men rejoicing.

Kidney stones are an extremely painful condition and have been compared with childbirth in women. Kidney stones also affect women. However, Jeffrey Rimer, associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Houston, said that the natural fruit extract hydroxycitrate (HCA) is capable of dissolving calcium oxalate stones.

HCA can be found in numerous tropical plants such as Hibiscus subdariffa and Garcinia cambogia. The compound has shown great promise as a potential treatment for kidney stones. In fact, HCA may soon be preferred over potassium citrate (CA), said Rimer. The researchers in the study, published in journal Nature, used atomic force microscopy for studying interactions between HCA and crystals under realistic growth conditions. Hey were able to record crystal growth in real time.

The new technology allowed researchers to find out that HCA is more advantageous as well as potent for new therapies over CA. Although the groundwork for designing an effective HCA drug is almost over, experts need to fix the dosage and find out if the drug would be safe for long-term use.

“But our initial findings are very promising. If it works in vivo, similar to our trials in the laboratory, HCA has the potential to reduce the incidence rate of people with chronic kidney stone disease,” Rimer said in a statement.

Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. The lifetime risk of developing kidney stones is one in 10 for Australian men and one in 35 for women. Around four to 10 percent of Australians suffer from kidney stones at some point. Unfortunately, the reason why kidney stones form is not known in most cases, writes