Case Study: Prevention of Renal Stones in a Professional Athlete

 In Men's Health, Pain Medicine

Stephen W. Parcell, ND

A 30-year-oldmale triathlete presented in June of 2004 with a history of renal stones occurring after the Ironman events (2000 and 2002). Each episode required hospital admission for pain control. The patient expressed significant anxiety and asked for help in preventing a renal stone reoccurrence at his next Ironman event. The races are extremely demanding physically, with winning times between eight and nine hours, depending on conditions.

On physical exam, muscle fasciculations were noted in the calf muscles bilaterally. The patient was a frequent user of electrolyte formulas, but admitted to difficulty in staying hydrated. He also complained of foot and leg cramps, eye twitching and tight muscles. He took an occasional multivitamin and ate a balanced diet with moderate use of caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.49.35 PMThe patient received four IVs (see sidebar), infused over 90 minutes, three weeks prior to his next Ironman competition. With no treatment other than these nutritional IVs, the patient has completed three Ironman competitions since June 2004 and has had no recurrence of renal stones. Over the last 15 months he has received one nutritional IV per month as maintenance.

Because of the intense training demands on professional athletes, nutritional deficiencies may exist. Low potassium, vitamin C and magnesium status, coupled with dehydration, may increase the likelihood of forming renal stones. Intravenou infusion of potassium, vitamin c and magnesium may be a helpful intervention in this patient population. Athletes who are non-compliant with traditional naturopathic, oral nutritional intervention may benefit the most from IV therapy.


Parcell headshotStephen W. Parcell, N.D. is the past vice president of the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Physicians (CANP). He earned his degree from Bastyr University after completing premedical studies at the University of Vermont. He is a graduate of the medical massage program at Brenneke School of Massage. Dr. Parcell has worked at the American Institute for Biosocial and Medical Research as a consultant for the nutritional supplement industry and has co-authored National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant proposals.

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