Microbiome changes linked to kidney stones, study finds

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A groundbreaking study from the Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University, published in the journal Microbiome, has revealed a big connection between changes in the body’s microbiome and the formation of kidney stones.

This discovery opens up new avenues for understanding and potentially treating this increasingly common condition.

The human microbiome, a complex ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms including beneficial bacteria, has been the subject of intense research in recent years. Scientists are uncovering its crucial role in various aspects of health and disease.

The research team, led by Dr. Jeremy Burton and Dr. Kait Al, delved into this realm by examining the microbiomes in different parts of the body of individuals with kidney stones.

The study involved 83 patients with kidney stones and 30 healthy controls. The researchers analyzed the gut, urinary, and salivary microbiomes of these participants.

Their findings indicated that alterations in all three microbiomes were associated with kidney stone formation.

Kidney stones, affecting about 10% of the population, are typically formed from calcium oxalate, a waste product in the body.

It was previously believed that certain gut microbes, like Oxalobacter formigenes known for breaking down oxalate, played a key role in preventing stone formation.

However, this study suggests a broader and more complex interaction between different microbial communities in the body and kidney stone development.

Dr. Kait Al, the lead author of the study, explains that in healthy individuals, these microbial networks are stable and beneficial, producing essential vitamins and metabolites.

In contrast, those with kidney stones show a breakdown in this network, not only in the gut but also in the urinary tract and oral cavity. This disruption leads to a less healthy microbiome, which may contribute to the development of kidney stones.

Interestingly, the study also found that individuals with kidney stones exhibited more antibiotic-resistant genes, suggesting they had been exposed to more antimicrobials. This finding aligns with the increasing concern over antibiotic resistance and its impact on health.

Dr. Burton, who is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, emphasizes the need for more research in this area.

However, these initial findings highlight the overall importance of maintaining a healthy microbiome. The study suggests that a diet conducive to a healthy microbiome and minimal use of antibiotics could be part of an effective strategy to prevent kidney stones.

This research not only sheds light on the complexities of kidney stone formation but also underscores the interconnectedness of different microbial environments in our body.

It suggests that the key to preventing and treating kidney stones might lie in understanding and nurturing these microscopic communities within us.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about pesticide linked to chronic kidney disease, and this drug may prevent kidney failure in people with diabetes.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about Foods high in calcium and potassium may prevent recurrence of kidney stones and results showing that Eating nuts linked to lower risk of chronic kidney disease, death.

The research findings can be found in Microbiome.

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