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Questions and Answers

Calcium Oxalate Common Questions & Answers

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Kidney C.O.P.® contains 5 active ingredients: Citric Acid, Magnesium Citrate, Phytin (Inositol or IP6), Pyridine and Musa Paradisiaca. Three of Kidney C.O.P.’s five active ingredients are GRAS, the fourth is listed within National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet Magnesium along with recommended Daily Values and the fifth is ground Musa Paradisiaca (banana stems) a natural food consumed throughout the world. Government Documentation on GRAS Ingredients can be found in CFR Government Federal Code of Regulations Title: 21 - Citric Acid | 21 CFR 184.1033 - Inositol (IP6) (Phytin) Phytic Acid | 21 CFR 184.1370 - Pyridoxine Hydrochloride | 21 CFR 184.1676

Directions: Take two (2) capsules twice daily (AM and PM) preferably with meals. For best results, it is recommended to consume at least six 8-ounce glasses of water daily with lemon juice, decrease caffeine intake, eliminate colas, decrease oxalate-rich foods such as spinach, strawberries, nuts, and tea, decrease sodium, sugar, and red meat consumption and increase fiber intake.

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Kidney C.O.P.® is available both on Amazon and this website (KidneyCOP.com) for only $29.95 for a thirty day supply, which is one bottle.


On Amazon, Kidney C.O.P.® is also available in a 3 Pack for $79.95 (a $10 savings) and in a 6 Pack for $149.70 (a $30 savings).


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Kidney C.O.P.® Customer Service would like to help with Amazon orders; however, Amazon will not permit Kidney C.O.P.® Customer Service to access and edit your order information made on their site for privacy reasons. Only Amazon Customer Service can provide assistance on orders placed on Amazon.


Therefore, please contact Amazon customer service at 888-280-4331 if you ordered through Amazon and they will be happy to help you with your Amazon Kidney C.O.P.® order. If you are in any need of additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Kidney C.O.P. Customer Service at 1-800-586-9424.

The type of crystals include:


Calcium Oxalate Crystals – Calcium oxalate crystals are the most common type of crystals. They are usually made of calcium and oxalate (a natural chemical found in most foods), but are sometimes made of calcium and phosphate. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in food. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, have high oxalate levels. Your liver also produces oxalate. Dietary factors, high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery and several metabolic disorders can increase the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine. Calcium oxalate crystals may also occur in the form of calcium phosphate.


Struvite Crystals – Struvite crystals can happen when you have certain types of urinary tract infections in which bacteria make ammonia that builds up in your urine. Struvite crystals are made of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate. These crystals can grow quickly and become quite large, sometimes with few symptoms or little warning.


Uric Acid Crystals – Uric acid crystals form when your urine is often too acidic. Uric acid can form crystals by itself or with calcium. Uric acid crystals can form in people who don’t drink enough fluids or who lose too much fluid, those who eat a high-protein diet, and those who have gout. Certain genetic factors also may increase your risk of Uric acid crystals.


Cystine Crystals – These crystals form in people with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids (cystinuria).


Other Crystals – Other, rarer types of crystals also can occur.

First you must determine if you have the most common type of crystal, a calcium oxalate crystal, or if you have another type of crystal.


Did you have a 24-hour urine study to determine the composition of urine in relation to crystal formation and the type of crystals?


Did you pass your crystal into a screen/basket/filter and provide the crystal(s) to your physician for composition analysis?

Did your surgeon have a sample of your crystals secured for analysis?


You should ask your physician to inform you as to what kind of crystal you had in the past. Approximately 80% of crystals are made up of calcium and most of these are calcium oxalate.


Crystals are the formation of crystalline structures in the urinary tract (which includes the kidneys, ureters and bladder). Crystals form when your urine contains more crystal forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid — than the fluid in your urine can dilute. At the same time, your urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for crystals to form.


Knowing the type of crystal helps determine the cause and may give clues on how to reduce your risk of getting more crystals.


First you must determine if you have the most common type of crystal, a calcium oxalate crystal, or if you have another type of crystal.


Did you have a 24-hour urine study to determine the composition of urine in relation to crystal formation and the type of crystals?


Did you pass your crystal into a screen/basket/filter and provide the crystal(s) to your physician for composition analysis?


Did your surgeon have a sample of your crystals secured for analysis?


You should ask your physician to inform you as to what kind of crystal you had in the past. Approximately 80% of crystals are made up of calcium and most of these are calcium oxalate.


Crystals are the formation of crystalline structures in the urinary tract (which includes the kidneys, ureters and bladder). Crystals form when your urine contains more crystal forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid — than the fluid in your urine can dilute. At the same time, your urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for crystals to form.


Knowing the type of crystal helps determine the cause and may give clues on how to reduce your risk of getting more crystals.

We only know of one that has clinical, in-vitro studies and is patented – Kidney C.O.P.(Calcium Oxalate Protector)®.

Certain risk factors may cause your body to form calcium oxalate crystals.


These risk factors include:


  • Dehydration from not drinking enough fluids
  • A diet too high in:
    • Protein
    • Oxalate
    • Sodium (salt)
    • Sugar (like high fructose corn syrup)
  • Digestive Diseases and Surgeries like:
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
    • Ulcerative Colitis
    • Crohn’s Disease
    • Gastric bypass surgeries
    • Hyperparathyroidism (Condition where a very high amount of parathyroid hormone in the blood that causes a loss of calcium. Calcium is needed to bind with oxalate and leave the body)

More regarding Inflammatory Bowel Disease and calcium oxalate crystals


It is important to know that calcium oxalate crystals are more common if you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These conditions affect your body’s ability to absorb fats properly. When fat is not absorbed the right way, the fat binds to calcium and leaves oxalate behind. The oxalate is then absorbed and taken to the kidney, where it can form calcium oxalate crystals.


Similarly, following gastric bypass surgery, your body absorbs less calcium from your digestive system. Because of this, higher levels of oxalate are found in the urinary tract. The build-up of oxalate can form crystals, which can form calcium oxalate crystals.


If your calcium oxalate crystals keep coming back, your healthcare provider may test you for some of these conditions. Your healthcare provider may also look at your lifestyle to help lower your risk factors or help find the cause of your forming calcium oxalate crystals.

Approximately 29 million people in the United States have crystal challenges. That’s 8.8% of the population, or 1 in every 11 people!*


Some Interesting Facts


  • Approximately 80% of crystals are mostly comprised of calcium compounds.
  • Among men, the prevalence of crystals is 10.6% compared to 7.1% for women.
  • 50% of those with crystals have a recurrence within 5 years of the initial event.
  • Emergency department visits for crystal disease increased 20% between 2005 and 2009.*
  • In the southeastern and central southern U.S., there is a high incidence of crystals. This region is often called the “Crystal Belt.”

Approximately 80% of all crystals are composed predominantly of calcium compounds.


The most common cause of crystal production is excess calcium in the urine (hypercalciuria). Extra calcium is normally removed from the blood by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. In hypercalciuria, excess calcium builds up in the kidneys and urine, where it combines with other waste products to form calcium oxalate crystals.


Low levels of urinary citrate, magnesium and high levels of oxalate and sodium along with inadequate urinary volume contribute to calcium oxalate crystal formation.


Calcium oxalate crystals are composed of calcium that is chemically bound to oxalate (calcium oxalate) or phosphate (calcium phosphate). Of these, calcium oxalate is much more common. The less common calcium phosphate crystals typically occur in patients with metabolic or hormonal disorders such as hyperparathyroidism and renal tubular acidosis.


Increased intestinal absorption of calcium (absorptive hypercalciuria), excessive hormone levels (hyperparathyroidism, hypervitaminosis D), and renal calcium leak (kidney defect that causes excessive calcium to enter the urine) can all cause hypercalciuria.


Prolonged inactivity also increases urinary calcium and may cause calcium oxalate crystals. (This is why astronauts in space tend to lose bone mass and form calcium oxalate crystals.)


Renal tubular acidosis (inherited condition in which the kidneys are unable to excrete acid) significantly reduces urinary citrate (a natural urinary antacid) as well as total urinary acid levels and can lead to crystal formation, usually calcium phosphate crystals.


Substances exist normally in urine that can prevent calcium oxalate crystals from developing. Magnesium, citrate, pyrophosphate and other enzymes all act in the body as a deterrent to crystals forming and attaching to the surface of kidney tubes. Having too little of these substances present in urine can trigger calcium oxalate crystals.


Certain medications such as calcium-containing antacids, loop diuretics and glucocorticoids can increase calcium secretion into the urine. Too much vitamin D can also lead to increased calcium.


Hyperparathyroidism occurs when too much parathyroid hormone is produced by the body, causing calcium to be pulled from the bones into the blood and subsequently into the urine. This helps to explain the association between calcium oxalate crystals and low bone density.


Kidney disease can cause high calcium levels in the urine when calcium is not properly absorbed back into the bloodstream.


High blood pressure and obesity have also been associated with hypercalciuria.


Some people are born with a genetic tendency to secrete excess oxalate into the urine. This condition, hyperoxaluria, is rare; most cases of hyperoxaluria arise from other causes. For one, diets rich in oxalate may place someone at risk for calcium oxalate crystals. Oxalate-rich foods include beets, chocolate, nuts, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, tea and wheat bran. Excessive amounts of vitamin C can also increase oxalate levels, as can inflammatory bowel disease.


High amounts of dietary protein can lead to increases in both calcium and oxalate levels in the urine. The elevated protein results in lower urine pH — an acidic environment that makes it easier for calcium oxalate crystals to form. It also decreases citrate levels in the urine that help prevent calcium oxalate crystals from forming. The risks of crystal formation can often be minimized by paying close attention to diet and good hydration.

Some calcium oxalate crystals are as small as a grain of sand. Others are as large as a pebble. A few are as large as a golf ball! As a general rule, the larger the crystal, the more noticeable are the symptoms! Symptoms could be one or more of the following:


  • Severe issues on either side of your lower back
  • A vague issue or stomach ache that doesn’t go away
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy

Small crystals (<6mm) usually pass on their own but often with extreme pain and taking 8 to 22 days to pass! Large crystals (>6mm) often causes infection, blockage of urine and muscle contractions thereby causing severe pain. With large crystals, outpatient surgery is often necessary. This is usually performed in an operating room under local or general anesthesia.


Issues usually happen when either small or large crystals try to move down the ureter and out of the urinary system. When the crystals begin to pass they often cause irritation or blockage which can increase pressure in the kidney above and start causing issues. This issue often builds rapidly leading to extreme challenges.


As a crystal moves down the ureter, it tends to become lodged in three locations of natural narrowing:


At the ureteropelvic junction where a partial or total obstruction happens at the place where the organ that produces urine (the kidney) and the tube that carries it to the bladder (the ureter) are joined at the crossing of the ureter over the iliac vessels or at the entrance of the ureter into the bladder.


Depending on where a crystal is located along this path, the issues associated with it can vary. Crystal issues usually start high up near the kidney then migrates towards the abdomen and eventually down towards the groin as the crystal moves further down the ureter. As a crystal is almost ready to come out, patients may feel the urge to urinate.

Most physicians feel that crystals only cause issues if they are blocking the ureter and/or passing down towards the bladder. Calcium oxalate crystals that are not obstructing, such as those located in the kidney’s calyxes, are generally thought to not cause issues. This explains why some patients can have extremely large crystals filling up their entire kidney with no or minimal issues.


It is believed however that some non-obstructing calcium oxalate crystals can cause issues because they either block a small tubular structure in the kidney itself (the collecting tubules) or for other unclear reasons. Supporting this view is a recent medical journal article suggesting that the treatment of small non-obstructing “papillary” crystals may provide relief. (Gdor et al, Multi-institutional assessment of ureteroscopic laser papillotomy for chronic pain associated with papillary calcifications, J Urol 2011)

50% of those with crystals will have a recurrence within 5 years of the initial event.*

US Healthcare System


The US healthcare system has an estimated cost of over $10 Billion annually for main crystal interventions*


Despite the fact crystals have an overall low risk for bad outcomes, procedures to treat crystals lead to complications that require hospitalization or emergency care for one in seven patients.*


$30,000 per patient is the average cost of an emergency room visit for crystals*


Outpatient surgery for crystal removal can cost up to $40,000. The average cost in the USA is $19,000! **


Patients


Hopefully you have healthcare insurance as surgically treating a crystal will be expensive even in most cases even when you have insurance!


WORK PLACE INSURANCE


~50% Patients have $1000+ deductible**


Average deductible for single coverage is $1,836 in small firms, compared to $1,105 for workers in large firms.


MEDICARE


After your deductible is met, an individual typically pays 20% of the Medicare -approved amount ($1,288 is the deductible for each benefit period but that can change in the future)


COMMERCIAL


Insurance plans after the ACA or “Obamacare” was implemented have been standardized into “metal” tiers – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.


For an example, a bronze plan has an actuarial value of approximately 60%, meaning that the insurer expects to pay for 60% of total costs associated with covered medical services, and that – as a group – the enrollees would pay for the remaining 40% of total costs through their combined co-payments, coinsurance, and deductibles.***


OUT-OF-POCKET MAXIMUM


Health plans sold in the Marketplace must have an out-of-pocket maximum for in-network services of no more than $6,850 for an individual plan and $13,700 for a family plan.


For better or worse, the ACA under “Trumpcare” is likely to change deductibles and out of pocket expense for all of the above.

We recommend that you speak to your Veterinarian concerning this question. Kidney C.O.P.® was not tested for dogs. Dosing would have to be adjusted.