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Banana may prevent kidney stones, study says

Banana trees

Banana stalk may be the next alternative herbal remedy against kidney stones according to a study done on mice by Pharmacy students at the San Pedro College in Davao City.


Kidney stones or renal calculi are hard masses developed from the crystalized substances from the urine. Factors attributed to the formation of the kidney stones include low fluid intake, acidic urine, and high intake of foods rich in protein (meat and beans), salt (canned and processed foods), and oxalate (spinach, tea, nuts, and cocoa).


In the study, laboratory mice were drug-induced to develop kidney stones and were given banana stalks that were processed into capsules for 10 days.


Laboratory examinations showed that mice fed with banana capsules did not show signs of developing kidney stones. Blood and urine examination conducted on the mice revealed healthy functioning kidneys.


Researchers attributed to the high magnesium and potassium content of banana for its ability to prevent the formation of kidney stones. They explained that magnesium combines readily with the oxalates in the food we eat, inhibiting the growth of a type of kidney stone known as calcium oxalate crystals. Potassium on the other hand balances the acidity of the urine preventing increase in urine acidity and development of calcium oxalate crystals.


While treatments for kidney stones are available, the student researchers argued that prevention is still better. The cost of treatment for removal of kidney stones can be exorbitant and may be beyond the reach of the poor. The researchers expressed that the study will help with the development of affordable remedy against kidney stones.


The research, entitled, “The Anti-Urolithiatic Activity of the Tundan Saging (Musa paradisiaca Linn.) Pseudo-Stem Capsule in Ethylene Glycol-Induced Albino Rats (Rattus norvegicus): A Potential Preventng Agent for Kidney Stone Formation,” was recently awarded second prize at the Gruppo Medica award during the Philippine National Health Research System week Celebration in Cebu on August 12, 2014.