Does Vitamin C Cause Kidney Stones?
I am often asked by patients whether or not high doses of vitamin C causes kidney stones, so I wanted to write a blog entry on this topic in order to clear vitamin C’s name!
What Started It All
Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were a few case reports that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) metabolized to oxalate and that high doses of vitamin C caused increases in serum and urine oxalate. One study published in the early 1970s regarding a case report of a man who produced excessive amounts of oxalate hypothesized that if he consumed large doses of ascorbic acid, he might have a higher risk of forming oxalate kidney stones.
What Actually Happened
It was later found that the earlier papers claiming that people taking high doses of vitamin C had increased serum and urine oxalate levels was due to an oversight in the laboratory method. The studies who found an increase in urine oxalate levels used a laboratory method that involved heating urine for 30 minutes at 100˚C. Alternatively, when the heating method is not used, a significant increase in urine oxalate levels was not found.
It’s quite interesting how a rumbling of a thought can snow-ball out of control into a rampant rumour, even in the science world!
** Please note that this is NOT medical advice and that you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking this supplement
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- Briggs MH, Garcia-Webb P & Davies P. Urinary oxalate and vitamin-C supplements. Lancet. 1973; 2: 201.
- Fituri L, Allawi N, Bentley M, et al. Urinary and plasma oxalate during ingestion of pure ascorbic acid: a re-evaluation. Eur Urol. 1983; 9: 312-315.
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