Is Red Wine Good for Kidney Stones?

Is red wine good for kidney stones? Learn about kidney stones and effective treatments in this comprehensive article.

What Is a Kidney Stone?

Is red wine good for kidney stones? Let’s take a look at what kidney stones are and the possible effects of red wine.

A kidney stone is a hard, pebble-like mineral deposit that forms in the kidneys. Its size varies, ranging from tiny grains to larger, solid masses, and can be made of various substances, such as:1

  • Calcium
  • Oxalate
  • Uric acid
  • Cystine
Is Red Wine Good for Kidney Stones

How Are Kidney Stones Formed?

When substances in the urine become highly concentrated, they can crystallize. The crystals begin sticking together, forming a stone. These stones can remain in the kidneys or travel through the urinary tract. 

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones can cause symptoms such as:2

  • Severe pain in the back or side and lower abdominal pain
  • Bloody urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Constant urge to urinate

The pain often occurs when the stone moves and blocks the urine flow, causing pressure to build up.

Why Do Kidney Stones Form?

Different factors contribute to the formation of kidney stones. They include:

Concentrated Urine

When urine is concentrated, it means a large amount of dissolved substances are present. This can happen in the following ways:

  • Not consuming enough fluids; dehydration
  • Excessive body weight
  • Diet
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Certain supplements and medications

Imbalance of Substances

An imbalance of substances in the urine can increase the risk of stone formation. This involves an irregular concentration of calcium, oxalate, uric acid, or cystine.

For example, suppose there is an excess of calcium in the urine. In that case, it can lead to the formation of calcium stones. These calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones.

Lack of Inhibitors

Certain substances in the urine help prevent the formation of crystals and stones, such as:3

  • Citrate
  • Magnesium
  • Urinary prothrombin fragment 1
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Osteopontin

However, deficiencies in these natural inhibitors can disrupt the balance. This promotes an excess of stone-forming substances leading to stone formation.

Genetic Factors

Some people may have a genetic predisposition to develop kidney stones. The risk may be higher if there is a family history of kidney stones.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Underlying medical conditions that can increase the risk of developing kidney stones include: 

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Digestive diseases

Is Red Wine Good for Kidney Stones?

So, is red wine good for kidney stones? Here are the proposed mechanisms by which red wine might inhibit the formation of kidney stones: 

Increased Urine Output

Red wine, like other alcoholic beverages, can act as a diuretic. This increases urine production. Such action can help dilute the urine and reduce the concentration of stone-forming substances. This makes it less likely for kidney stones to form.4

Antioxidant Properties

Red wine contains antioxidants, such as resveratrol. Resveratrol has been associated with potentially protective effects against kidney stone formation. 

Antioxidants may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. This prevents and reduces stone formation.

Inhibition of Crystal Formation

Studies suggest inhibitory compounds exist in red wine, such as polyphenols. These polyphenols may inhibit the formation of crystals that contribute to stone formation. 

They may also interfere with crystal growth and aggregation. This effect potentially reduces the risk of stone formation.5

Modulation of Urine Chemistry

Red wine consumption has been linked to changes in urine chemistry, like increased urinary pH (alkalinity). This increased alkalinity in urine can affect the solubility of certain substances. This could potentially reduce the risk of specific kidney stones, such as uric acid stones.

Excessive alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on overall health. It is always advisable to consume alcohol in moderation. 

Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice, especially if there is a history of kidney stones or other kidney-related conditions.

How Does Red Wine’s Inhibitory Effect Compare to Other Lifestyle Factors in Kidney Stone Formation?

While research has shown that red wine could reduce kidney stone formation by as much as 49%, this does not mean it is okay to neglect other solutions.6

In fact, there are many lifestyle choices that can inhibit the formation of kidney stones. They include the following:

Stay Hydrated

This is the most effective measure to prevent kidney stones. Drinking plenty of fluids dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stone formation. Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day, and even more if you live in a hot climate or exercise frequently.

Limit Sodium Intake

A high-sodium diet can increase the risk of kidney stones. Too much salt prevents the calcium in the urine from being reabsorbed into the blood. 

This leads to high urine calcium levels, causing kidney stones. Try to limit your sodium intake to the recommended level of 2,300mg per day or lower.

Limit Animal Protein

Diets high in animal protein can boost the level of uric acid and decrease the amount of citrate, both of which increase the risk of stones. 

Try to limit animal protein in your diet, such as:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Fish

Eat Calcium-Rich Foods

Though it might seem counterintuitive, getting enough calcium in your diet can prevent kidney stones. This is because dietary calcium binds with oxalate in your intestines, reducing both the formation and the growth of calcium oxalate stones. 

Limit Oxalate-Rich Foods

Foods high in oxalate can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Oxalate-rich foods include:

  • Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Peanuts
  • Chocolate
  • Soy products
  • Wheat bran

However, maintaining a balanced diet is still important, so don’t eliminate these foods without first speaking to a healthcare professional.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of kidney stones. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise may help reduce your risk.

Avoid Vitamin C Supplements

Research suggests that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can contribute to kidney stones. This is because the body converts vitamin C into oxalate.7

Before making significant changes to your diet or lifestyle, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider. If you have a history of kidney stones, you may need more personalized advice based on the type of stones you have formed in the past.

Do Other Alcohol Types Have the Same Impact on Kidney Stones?

Is red wine good for kidney stones? It can be in moderation. What about other types of alcohol? Let’s explore the effects of other alcohol types on kidney stone formation: 


Evidence has shown that beer can reduce the risk of kidney stones by 41%. This can be due to its diuretic effects, increasing urination frequency and decreasing urine concentration.8

Note that this does not promote an increase in beer consumption. Individuals should not surpass 12 oz per day.

Spirits (Hard Liquor)

Spirits like vodka, whiskey, or rum do not provide the same potential benefits as beer or red wine in kidney stone formation. Excessive consumption of spirits can lead to dehydration.

This loss of water increases the risk of kidney stone formation. Excessive alcohol consumption, regardless of the type, can negatively affect health.

Non-Alcoholic Options

This includes alternatives like water, lemonade, and tea. These beverages are generally considered the healthiest choice for kidney stone prevention. 

Staying well-hydrated is crucial to maintain proper urine volume and dilution. Adequate hydration goes on to reduce the concentration of stone-forming substances.

Relevant Factors

The impact of alcohol on kidney stone formation is influenced by various factors. This includes the amount consumed, lifestyle choices, and individual health considerations. It is always advisable to consume alcohol in moderation.

Please take personalized advice from a healthcare professional, especially if you have a history of kidney stones or other kidney-related conditions.

Recommendations for Patients on Red Wine Consumption and Kidney Stone Risk

Here are some recommendations on red wine consumption to reduce kidney stone risk:

Moderation Is Key

Is red wine good for kidney stones? It can be in moderation. This means limiting your intake to one glass per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. 

Excessively consuming red wine can have negative effects on your health. This increases the risk of various health conditions.

Stay Hydrated

Maintaining adequate hydration is crucial. Proper hydration reduces the risk of kidney stone formation. Alongside red wine consumption, drink plenty of water throughout the day. 

Water helps dilute urine and prevents the excessive concentration of stone-forming substances.

Consider Individual Risk Factors

The risk of developing kidney stones can vary based on different factors. These include medical history, underlying conditions, and dietary habits. 

Suppose you have a history of kidney stones or are at a higher risk. In that case, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.

Balanced Diet

Is red wine good for kidney stones? While red wine consumption may benefit kidney stone formation, it should be considered in the context of a balanced diet.

Add a variety of the following to your diet: 

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean proteins

Also, reduce the intake of high-sodium and high-animal protein foods. These foods can increase the risk of kidney stones.

Regular Check-Ups

Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are vital, especially if you have a history of kidney stones or concerns about kidney health. 

These experts can track your kidney function and assess risk factors. They also provide tailored recommendations to reduce the likelihood of kidney stone formation. 

Remember, these recommendations should be personalized based on individual health profiles. Consult a healthcare professional for specific guidance on red wine consumption. They can help in developing a kidney stone risk management plan.

What Are the Challenges to Getting Rid of Kidney Stones?

Getting rid of kidney stones can present several challenges. Here are some common obstacles people may face:

Pain and Discomfort

Kidney stones can cause intense pain and discomfort. This happens when stones block the urinary tract. The pain can be severe and medical intervention is often needed for relief.

Size and Location

Kidney stone occurrence can affect the treatment approach. Larger stones may be more challenging to pass naturally. These stones may need medical procedures to break them into smaller pieces. 

Stones located in some regions of the urinary tract may pose challenges for removal. Examples of such areas include the ureter or kidney. 


Kidney stones tend to recur in some individuals. Even after successfully getting rid of one stone, there is a risk of developing new stones in the future.

So, managing underlying risk factors and implementing preventive measures becomes crucial. This helps to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

Treatment Options

The appropriate treatment option for kidney stones depends on various factors. This includes the size, location, and composition of the stones. 

Treatment options can include:

  • Natural passage
  • Medication
  • Lithotripsy (breaking the stones using sound waves)
  • Ureteroscopy (using a thin tube to remove or break the stones)
  • Surgical procedures

Selecting the most suitable treatment can be challenging and requires consultation with a healthcare professional.


Preventing the formation of new kidney stones can be a persistent challenge. It often involves making long-term lifestyle changes. Good strategies include adopting a balanced diet and staying well-hydrated. It is also important to manage underlying medical conditions and any risk factors.

Individual Variations

Each person’s experience with kidney stones can vary, such as:

  • Stone composition
  • Health
  • Genetics
  • Treatment response 

Finding the most effective treatment and preventive strategies requires individualized approaches. Overcoming these challenges often involves a multidisciplinary approach. 

This consists of the help of urologists, nephrologists, and other healthcare professionals.

Is Red Wine Good for Kidney Stones

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