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Can Vitamins Cause Kidney Stones

Calcium And Vitamin D Are Some Of The Most Common Supplements Taken In The Us

Can Vitamin C Cause Kidney Stones? How Much Vitamin C Per Day Should You Take?

Around 77 percent of adult Americans take dietary supplements, per a 2019 survey from the Council for Responsible Nutrition , and vitamin D and calcium are some of the most popular ones out there. According to the survey, following multivitamins, vitamin D is the most popular supplement with 31 percent of adults taking it. And around 20 percent say they take calcium supplements.

The 2014 study also notes that both calcium and vitamin D supplements are “widely recommended” for post-menopausal women in order to prevent osteoporosis, a bone disease likely to occur in people with low calcium levels.

Vitamin C Raises Risk Of Kidney Stones

Men who consume high levels of vitamin C are at twice the risk of kidney stones than men who do not.

The new finding does not strongly establish that vitamin C is responsible for the occurrence of kidney stones, however it may make us wonder whether large amounts of vitamin C are harmful to the body.

Kidney stones are tiny masses of crystals that can painfully obstruct the urinary tract.

Signs and symptoms of a kidney stone include:

  • severe pain from the flank to groin or to the genital area and inner thigh.
  • urinary urgency
  • vomiting
  • blood in the urine

Kidney stones may be caused by diets rich in animal protein, sodium, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and cola drinks. Low fluid intake can also increase stone formation. Women have a typically much lower overall risk of kidney stones than men. Therefore, the outcomes of this study do not apply to women.

The researchers suspected that greater amounts of vitamin C could elevate the risk of kidney stones because the body breaks down the vitamin into material known as oxelate a part of the stones.

Study co-author Agneta Akesson, an associate professor with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said:

It is important that the public is aware that there may be risks associated with taking high doses of vitamin C. Those with a history of kidney stones should consult their doctor before taking high-dose vitamin C supplements.

Talk To Your Doctor About Preventative Medications

If youre prone to certain types of kidney stones, certain medications can help control the amount of that material present in your urine. The type of medication prescribed will depend on the type of stones you usually get.

For example:

  • If you get calcium stones, a thiazide diuretic or phosphate may be beneficial.
  • If you get uric acid stones, allopurinol can help reduce uric acid in your blood or urine.
  • If you get struvite stones, long-term antibiotics may be used to help reduce the amount of bacteria present in your urine
  • If you get cystine stones, capoten may help reduce the level of cystine in your urine

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Understand How To Prevent Kidney Stones

The National Kidney Foundation offers a helpful backgrounder on diet and kidney stones, which are formed when crystals accumulate in the urine. The foundation offers some tips to help prevent the formation of kidney stones. They include:

  • Drink water. Staying hydrated is one of the best measures you can take to avoid kidney stones. Drink at least 12 cups of fluid daily.;
  • Talk with your health care provider about your diet. Sometimes, she will recommend a special diet or medication.
  • Reducing your intake of animal protein, such as beef, poultry, fish, eggs and cheese, may help.

Calcium Supplements Tied To Kidney Stone Risk

Best Can Vitamin C Cause Kidney Stones

But don’t stop on your own if doctor recommended them, experts say

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 13, 2015 — People with a history of kidney stones may have a higher risk of recurrence if they use calcium supplements, a new study finds.

The findings, based on records from more than 2,000 patients, add to evidence linking calcium supplements to kidney stone risk.

But researchers also said that people taking calcium under a doctor’s advice should not stop on their own.

“We’re definitely not advocating that people stop taking calcium supplements if their doctor prescribed them for their bone health,” said Christopher Loftus, the lead researcher on the study and an M.D. candidate at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

Loftus is scheduled to present his findings next month at the American Society of Nephrology’s annual meeting in San Diego. Data and conclusions presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Kidney stones develop when high levels of crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, uric acid and a compound called oxalate — build up in the urine. Most kidney stones contain calcium.

Doctors used to advise people who are “stone formers” to cut down on their calcium intake, said Dr. Mathew Sorensen, an assistant professor of urology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Calcium supplements, on the other hand, have been tied to an increased risk of kidney stones in some studies.

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Vitamin C tends to fall into this category of over-enthusiastic use. “Most people think it’s fine to take as much Vitamin C as they want,” said Prof Rosenbloom. “I know people who take 10,000mg a day” when the upper tolerable limit is 2,000mg a day, she said.

There are repercussions for doing so. “Excessively large amounts of Vitamin C have been occasionally linked to hyperoxaluria, a condition where there is too much oxalate in the urine, said Kong. The excess oxalate can combine with calcium to form crystals and possibly, kidney stones. Otherwise, the most common side effects reported include diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

Kong also warned against an excessive calcium intake. It can harm the kidneys and reduce absorption of other essential minerals like magnesium and iron, she said, adding that fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K are stored longer in the fatty tissues and the liver, and can lead to increased risks of toxicity if consumed excessively.

If youre not sure what the maximum safe limits of the vitamins and minerals are, check here.


Keeping to the expiry date isnt the only thing to ensure your vitamins effectiveness. Png advised to keep them in a cool and dry place, or refrigerated once opened.;


A Dozen Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Kidney Stones

1. Maximize fluid intake. Especially drink fruit and vegetable juices. Orange, grape and carrot juices are high in citrates which inhibit both a buildup of uric acid and also stop calcium salts from forming.

2. Control urine pH. Slightly acidic urine helps prevent urinary tract infections, dissolves both phosphate and struvite stones, and will not cause oxalate stones. And of course one way to make urine slightly acidic is to take vitamin C.

3. Avoid excessive oxalates by not eating rhubarb, spinach, chocolate, or dark tea or coffee.

4. Lose weight. Being overweight is associated with substantially increased risk of kidney stones.

5. Calcium is probably not the real culprit. Low calcium may itself cause calcium stones .

6. Most kidney stones are compounds of calcium and yet many Americans are calcium deficient. Instead of lowering calcium intake, reduce excess dietary phosphorous by avoiding carbonated soft drinks, especially colas. Cola soft drinks contain excessive quantities of phosphorous as phosphoric acid. This is the same acid that is used by dentists to dissolve tooth enamel before applying bonding resins.

7. Take a magnesium supplement of at least the US RDA of 300-400 mg/day. More may be desirable in order to maintain an ideal 1:1 balance of magnesium to calcium. Many people eating “modern” processed-food diets do not consume optimal quantities of magnesium.

10. Persons with cystine stones should follow a low methionine diet and use buffered vitamin C.

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And High Levels Of Calcium Can Result In Kidney Stones

According to Gallagher, hypercalciuria “can contribute to kidney stones,” he explained in a statement. That excess calcium in the urine can form salts that crystallize, resulting in kidney stones, the experts at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center explain. “The use of calcium and vitamin D supplementation may not be as benign as previously thought,” Gallagher said.

Symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain on either side of your lower back, a stomach ache that doesn’t go away, blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, or urine that smells bad or looks cloudy, per the National Kidney Foundation .

What Really Causes Kidney Stones

Too much of this vitamin can lead to kidney stones!

A recent widely-publicized study claimed that vitamin C supplements increased the risk of developing kidney stones by nearly a factor of two. The study stated that the stones were most likely formed from calcium oxalate, which can be formed in the presence of vitamin C , but it did not analyze the kidney stones of participants. Instead, it relied on a different study of kidney stones where ascorbate was not tested. This type of poorly organized study does not help the medical profession or the public, but instead causes confusion.

The study followed 23,355 Swedish men for a decade. They were divided into two groups, one that did not take any supplements , and another that took supplements of vitamin C . The average diet for each group was tabulated, but not in much detail. Then the participants who got kidney stones in each group were tabulated, and the group that took vitamin C appeared to have a greater risk of kidney stones. The extra risk of kidney stones from ascorbate presented in the study is very low, 147 per 100,000 person-years, or only 0.15% per year.

Key points the media missed:

So we have a poorly designed study that did not determine what kind of stone was formed, or what caused the stones that were formed. These are serious flaws. Drawing conclusions from such a study can hardly be a good example of “evidence based medicine.”

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Kidney Stones And Vitamin K2

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Can Calcium Supplements Cause Kidney Stones

Can calcium supplements cause kidney stones? To understand this, you should know that calcium oxalate stones form when urine becomes highly concentrated. The calcium oxalate contains forms crystals and stones. It can occur due to lesser intake of water or taking foods rich in oxalates like spinach, French fries, chocolates, beet, and nuts.

Calcium by itself is not the one that can form a stone. If you start consuming fewer amounts of calcium then the body starts dissolving bones to release calcium and maintain adequate amounts in the blood. This leads to excess excretion in urine and crystallization to form stones.

Again the same question Can calcium supplements cause kidney stones? So, According to various studies, the higher the amount of Dietary Calcium to consume, the lesser chances of calcium stones. However, if along with dietary intake of calcium, calcium supplements are taken, it increases the chances of kidney stones. Why this difference?

The answer is that the calcium presents in food cones with dietary oxalate and is excreted in the feces without being passing and absorbed as crystals in the urine. If you consume calcium supplements without food, then these supplements cannot bind with oxalate in the intestines. So, the food and the supplements are available to be passed in urine and form crystals and stones.

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Vitamin D Serum Levels And Vitamin D Prescription: A Link With Kidney Stones

Since calcitriol increases digestive calcium absorption and, at least temporarily, serum calcium levels, it should necessarily increase urine calcium excretion to maintain calcium homeostasis . The prescription of cholecalciferol or analogous treatments increases circulating levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which may act with low affinity on VDR or be transformed into calcitriol, with a higher affinity to VDR . The production of calcitriol is fortunately limited by parathyroid hormone synthesis suppression, through calcium sensing receptors and calcitriol signalling in parathyroid cells. Since parathyroid hormone promotes renal calcium handling in the distal tubules, its suppression may also increase urinary calcium excretion.

Although there is a large consensus that high calcitriol levels increase urine calcium and kidney stone formation, whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D circulating levels or widespread vitamin D prescription could influence kidney stone formation is still debated.

Treatment And When To See A Doctor

Best Can Vitamin C Cause Kidney Stones

If a person suspects that a kidney stone is the cause of substantial pain or discomfort, it is important to see a doctor.

Although most people experience no long-term consequences from kidney stones, they can be extremely painful and require medical monitoring.

In most cases, treating kidney stones involves increasing fluid intake, taking pain medications, and using medications that make the urine less acidic.

People with smaller stones may be able to go home and wait for the stone or stones to pass. People with larger or more severe stones may need to stay in the hospital.

Stones that are too large to pass or that become stuck in the urinary tract may require surgery. Surgery to remove the stones may also be necessary if an infection has developed around it.

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Calcitriol And Absorptive Hypercalciuria

The main component of kidney stones is calcium oxalate, and, to a lesser extent, calcium phosphate. Increased urinary calcium excretion or hypercalciuria is one of the main risk factors promoting calcium kidney stone formation. Early studies have demonstrated increased intestinal absorption of calcium in most cases of idiopathic hypercalciuria, defining absorptive hypercalciuria . Intestinal calcium absorption depends on the calcium intraluminal concentration , but the main factor responsible for transcellular calcium absorption is 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D . Vitamin D, whether produced in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol or absorbed from the diet or supplements must actually be activated as 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the liver and then as calcitriol in the kidneys to exert its biological effects.

Calcitriol binds the vitamin D receptor in enterocytes and increases calcium transport across digestive epithelia through the gatekeeper transient receptor potential vanilloid 6 transporter .

Calcitriol also binds VDR in parathyroid cells, decreasing parathyroid hormone synthesis. PTH increases calcium influx through the gatekeeper TRPV5 in distal tubular kidney cells. Thus, PTH decrease by calcitriol may be associated with increased urine calcium excretion .

Vitamin C And Kidney Stones

High doses of vitamin C can increase your risk of the most common type of kidney stone, calcium oxalate.Kidney stones happen when waste accumulates and clumps together in your kidneys, causing pain and difficulty urinating. More than half a million people seek emergency care for kidney stones every year, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Since the kidneys partly convert the vitamin C you ingest into oxalate, an excess could increase the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones, according to research from 2015 .

Generally speaking, the vitamin C people get from food isnt likely to be high enough to lead to kidney stones.

However, vitamin C supplements could increase the risk. A 2013 study on 23,355 men found that those who took vitamin C supplements experienced double the rate of kidney stones.

To help minimize the risk of kidney stones, the National Institutes of Health recommends that adults consume no more than

Our bodies cant make vitamin C. Instead, we get it from food or supplements.

Vitamin C offers a number of important benefits for the body, including:

  • helping wounds heal
  • keeping blood vessels, skin, bones, and cartilage healthy
  • improving absorption of other nutrients

A severe vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, a condition that can cause serious complications throughout the body.

A persons levels of vitamin C can also change quickly if they take a supplement or the vitamin is given intravenously.

  • red and green bell peppers
  • strawberries

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What To Expect At Your Doctor’s Office

If you are in extreme pain, your health care provider may give you a strong pain reliever. Your provider will need a urine sample to check for infection and to see if your urine is acidic or alkaline, which indicates the type of stone you have. You may need to collect your urine for 24 hours if this is not your first stone. Your provider will also take a blood sample and may request additional tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as a computed tomography scan , ultrasound, or x-rays.

With time, the stone generally passes out of the body by itself. If it doesn’t pass, or if you have severe pain, bleeding, fever, nausea, or can’t urinate, your provider can shatter the stone with shock waves , and the smaller pieces can pass with much less pain. In rare cases, surgery may be required.

Vitamins That Can Damage Your Kidneys If Overdosed

Does Taking Calcium Lead to Kidney Stones?

Your kidneys regulate the daily balance between your intake of water and salt.

Getting sufficient nutrients from a healthy diet can help you improve kidney function, but you don’t typically need vitamin supplements for this purpose, according to a March 2014 review in Sports Medicine.

In fact, overloading your body with vitamins can damage your kidneys. Speak with your health care provider before using dietary supplements.

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