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I woke up with slight pain in left kidney area



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  • I woke up with slight pain in left kidney area

    I've been experimenting with a ketogenic diet recently. I've kept my diet pretty low carb for the last 5 days (after eating quite a lot of fruit 17th and 18th August), although I am not sure I ever went into ketosis.
    Anyway, this is just some context as I think it may be related. I woke up with some discomfort in my left kidney area this morning. The Internet being the Internet, I only get more confused when reading up. Too much calcium, too little calcium, kidney stones?
    A few ideas: I had (frozen) spinach 2 days in a row (pretty much my only carbs) and also had cheese (Brie and Danish Blue). Also about 20 hazelnuts. I haven't had cheese in a while. Could the calcium in the spinach and cheese have anything to do with this?
    I've also been supplementing with vitamin D (5000UI) for the last month or so as we don't get much sun over here at all. Vitamin D consumption also seems to be linked to kidney stones.
    Would appreciated some feedback from people who have any advice.
    Last edited by FlyingPig; 08-22-2012, 11:59 PM.

  • #2
    A few months ago I had the same kind of symptoms. I had been having a BAS every day for lunch with baby spinach as my greens. I had to cut back on the spinach because I think it was the extra calcium and my kidney's were overworked. I didn't have a kidney stone or an infection. I just changed up my salad greens and I was all better. Not sure if this is exactly what is happening to you, but it could be similar.


    • #3
      Dont completely rule out musculoskeletal issues. Any previous injuries to the area? Previous back, spine, or kidney issues? Does it hurt more in certain positions? More upon certain movements? Have you had noticeable change in urinary output? Are you dehydrated? What makes the pain better?

      Just a few of the pertinent questions to a good history here.


      • #4
        Originally posted by FlyingPig View Post
        I woke up with some discomfort in my left kidney area this morning. The Internet being the Internet, I only get more confused when reading up. Too much calcium, too little calcium, kidney stones?
        Being as you woke up with the pain I wouldn't rule out "slept in an awkward posture and am now experiencing pain from the muscles in that area".

        There are several different type of kidney stones, but they seem to be most prevalent among people eating lots of farinaceous foods but little meat or vegetables with them. That doesn't seem likely for people on Primal-type diets. OTOH, I believe that when you change your diet for the better, if you already have some you might shrink them and they then go on the move, so it's a complex matter. I just wouldn't assume it's stones.

        Vitamin D? I'd get your vitamin D levels tested. Then you know where you are. If you're UK-based, then the Path Lab at Birmingham City Hospital does that mail-order cheap enough:

        Vitamin D Blood Spot Test to the Public Background Information

        In general, if calcium, vitamin D, etc, are up for discussion, then maybe magnesium is worth a thought. Most people can probably do with a little supplemental magnesium, since modern farming methods deplete it in soil.


        • #5
          Thanks very much for the replies.

          @ Penady

          Interesting, it is definitely I will keep an eye on. I read up a bit on oxalate and kidney stones, and found an interesting article by Paul Jaminet, whose work I really respect:

          Dangers of Zero-Carb Diets, IV: Kidney Stones | Perfect Health Diet

          (some reactions by him quoted below)

          I don’t know if the very low carb might have contributed. Hemochromatosis (excess iron) is considered a cause, has that been checked out?

          Since low potassium is almost universal on very low carb diets, I’d look at that as the most likely dietary contributor. Bananas, potatoes, tomatoes are good sources. Eat lots of vegetables. Also, supplement with magnesium and consider using some NoSalt (potassium rich salt, tastes lousy) on foods.

          The most effective remedy is citrate and water. So drink lots of water mixed with lemon juice.
          Vitamin C will probably help too. Antioxidants, like glutathione, selenium, zinc, copper, etc will help prevent new oxalate formation and accretion of the stone. Salt and other electrolytes (balanced with potassium) will also help excretion.
          (I may be susceptible to hemachromatosis - my dad has it - and I was once diagnosed with too much iron in my blood, though the diagnosis was fine the year after, and I've started donating blood now, which should help. Anyway, probably totally unrelated anyway)

          @ Neckhammer

          No previous back, spine or kidney issues (30 year old male). Pain is slightly more as I move sideways to the left.
          Yes, it's just one day so who knows it is just some muscle. While I am not a hypochondriac by any means (I don't even know who my doctor is!) I was once rushed off into emergency thinking I had a heart attack. Turned out it was a combination of anxiety (with hindsight probably exacerbated by a poor sugar and grain diet) and malaria tablets that made me very paranoid, and it felt very real.

          I think dehydration is a possibility, although it never occurred to me this could ever happen to me as I drink LOADS of water every day and go to the toilet about every hour (I drink about 3 litres per day, though it is possible I got less in the last few days) as a result. Still, I've been pretty much close to ketogenic recently and apparently dehydration occurs much more quickly then. I did notice my urine is yellower than normal, something I attributed to ketones, but maybe I am just not getting enough water?

          Due to unforeseen circumstances this morning (I was called into work unexpectedly and had to rush, with no proper food at work available) I only had my first meal at 4pm, and the feeling stayed with me during the day. Nothing major at all, just something I noticed that was never there before.

          I feel better now after I had some fruit, salad and salmon, and I have some sweet potatoes in the oven for tonight (with rest of salad and a nice Irish steak smothered in butter). I drank quite a bit of water too so that will have helped too. I think I'll stop this ketogenic experiment. I believe there is a time and place for it (and it certainly helped me), but I am going to become a bit more "balanced" I think (OK I hate this word, but it seems appropriate in this context).

          @ Lewis

          Yeah, I won't make assumptions and I'll probably be just fine tomorrow. As for vitamin D, I've been supplementing for about a month and a half now (5000IU per day) and I tried to get some sun in the last few days but this is the UK (NI) and at this very moment it is pouring down again... Thanks for that link, I was not aware testing vitamin D levels can be done via post. Do you know how much they charge? If it's not too expensive I will definitely do it. In a few months time, when my body should have been healed a bit more, I want to have a full blood test done to see what vitamins and nutrients I am missing. It is quite possible I need some extra magnesium. (so far I only supplement vitamin D, vitamin K2 every day and some alpha lipoic acid every few days, not sure if I should include cod liver oil as I try to have fatty fish a few times a week).

          Thanks all for the input, I really appreciate the fact that there is a good community here with sensible advice.
          Last edited by FlyingPig; 08-23-2012, 11:32 AM.


          • #6
            If it starts to feel like you are peeing razor blades then it's an infection and you should see the dr.
            Female, age 51, 5' 9"
            SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

            Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
            2013 goals are to get fit and strong!


            • #7
              Could also be gas.
              Female, age 51, 5' 9"
              SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

              Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
              2013 goals are to get fit and strong!


              • #8
                Update morning after: I feel great, no pain whatsoever.

                My working hypothesis is it may have been a combination of being low carb for the last few months, start of supplementation with vitamin D without any magnesium supplement, and being a bit dehydrated a few days before. Or it was just nothing at all... (then again, I am almost never ill and I know if my body tells me something, I better pay attention)

                I need to read up on the magnesium thing but I am very wary about any kind of supplements to be honest and would like to get as much as I can out of food. I can see the need for vitamin D in the lousy climate I live in, and after reading the Weston Price research K2 should benefit me too (I had tooth decay, the reason why I evaluated my life and became primal). Currently sitting on the fence about magnesium and fish or cod liver oil.


                • #9
                  I had a bad case of whoknowswhat weeks ago and I'm still struggling to get on the right track, spinach doesn't agree with my liver anymore, apparently they hold some toxicity and I'm highly sensitive to it, go figure. I got hepatitis from eating boiled spinach and I'm getting better by loading on bacon and coconut oil
                  Being in a ketotic state changes the way kidneys handle sodium, sodium intake should go up to compensate, extra magnesium and potassium are always a good idea for me and it doesn't mean that applies to other people. I can't stand D vitamin supplements, for some reason my gut hates it but I get some sunshine and q10 to compensate my forced statin therapy.
                  Lately I've been toying with bassenpulver, it helps during this hot days and it helps a lot more because I have this very low ph thing going with me since ever.
                  Getting iron and other levels checked wouldn't hurt, and as long as you are a donor that would come for free (draining blood is one of the available therapies for hemochromatosis anyway) because as other illness which progress by accumulating some stuff we shouldn't it just really shows later in life.
                  I know I stress it out a bit but getting your kidneys checked wouldn't hurt either, and could solve that minimal problem today saving you huge bad stuff tomorrow, just my 2 c.

                  No limits, only my will and the worlds I build.