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Regular consumption of vitamin C supplements linked to kidney stones risk: Study

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By Nathan Gray+

07-Feb-2013
Last updated on 07-Feb-2013 at 14:20 GMT

Men who regularly take vitamin C supplements are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones, new data suggests.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, finds that regular consumption of vitamin C supplements – in the form of ascorbic acid – at a typical 1000 mg per tablet dose are twice as likely to develop kidney stones as men who do not take any dietary supplements.

However the 11 year follow up study, led by Led by Dr Agneta Åkesson from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found no association or increased risk of kidney stones in those consuming multivitamins – which contain lower levels of vitamin C.

Åkesson and her team said while the findings do not prove the vitamin itself triggers stones to form. But researchers said that because there are no clear benefits tied to taking high-dose vitamin C, people who have had stones in the past might want to think before taking extra supplements.

"As with all research, the results should be corroborated by other studies for us to be really sure," said Åkesson. "Nor can we say anything about whether women run the same risk as men.”

“But given that there are no well-documented benefits of taking high doses of vitamin C in the form of dietary supplements, the wisest thing might be not to take them at all, especially if you have suffered kidney stones previously, " she said.

Study details

The research new study findings are based on data from a large population-based study of men from the Västmanland and Örebro areas of Sweden.

Åkesson and her colleagues identified 23,355 men, all of whom had no history of kidney stones and consumed either no dietary supplements or supplements in the form of vitamin C only. These men were followed for 11 years.

During this study period, 436 of the participants developed kidney stones that required medical attention. The researchers then compared the risk of kidney stones in vitamin C-takers with that in men who did not take any supplements. This analysis was then repeated for men who took only multivitamins.

The results of the study indicate that men consume take vitamin C supplements along – typically at a dose level around 1000 mg per tablet – are twice as likely to develop kidney stones as men who do not take any dietary supplements. However, the regular use of multivitamins was not found to be associated with the risk of kidney stones.

Discussing the findings, the researchers suggested that both the dose received and the combination of nutrients with which the vitamin C is ingested could play an important role in the risk. For this reason, the observed increase in risk does not apply to a normal dietary intake of vitamin C from fruit and vegetables, they said.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2296
"Ascorbic Acid Supplements and Kidney Stone Incidence Among Men: A Prospective Study"
Authors: Laura D. K. Thomas, Carl-Gustaf Elinder, Hans-Göran Tiselius, Alicja Wolk, Agneta Åkesson

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5 comments (Comments are now closed)

is this fellow an idiot

this study was refuted 30 years ago and found it had no base whatsoever---this is a rehash of an attack on Vitamin C---again who ever did this slander against vitamin C is a ignoramus---should be removed from health journalism and should go right comic book fiction

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Posted by A
10 February 2013 | 07h18

Just another PR-stunt to get publicty and research funding

Just like the "acrylamide scare" from Sweden a few years ago, the aim of this study is primarily to raise research money. The ability of several organic acids such as oxalic acid, ascorbic acid and other to form kiney stones have been reported before.

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Posted by S. Palm
08 February 2013 | 07h48

vit c

I have studied high dose vit c for 55 years.
I have taken 15 gms daily for 50 yrs
I have taken 20 to 60gms iv for 5 hrs
There has never been anything but irrational extrapolation of unscientific data to show ANY ADVERSE EFFECTS OF HIGH DOSE C.
THERE ARE FANTASTIC BENEFITS
Stop spreading this nonsense

Sincerely
Charles Schultz
Reasearch Pharmacist

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Posted by charles schultz
07 February 2013 | 21h50

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