Study Finds Increased Risk of Kidney Stones in Men Who Take Vitamin C

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A new study published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has concluded that consuming high amounts of vitamin C may contribute to the formation of kidney stones in men. Researchers found that men who took vitamin C supplements had a higher overall risk of developing kidney stones in the future.

The study itself was conducted in Sweden by researchers working through the auspices of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Scientists working on the project analyzed data from larger studies to come to their conclusions.

Here is some of the key information that emerged from the JAMA study published on Monday.

* In a piece that accompanied the study, JAMA editors noted that researchers followed 23,355 men over the course of 12 years for their study.

* The men were divided into those that took vitamin C supplements but no others, and men who took no supplements of any kind.

* The men who took vitamin C supplements consumed 1000 mg worth of vitamin C in such supplements per day.

* Both the authors of the study and the JAMA editors noted that vitamin C is an oxalate. An oxalate,according to WebMd, is a "compound found in some foods," and is also "a waste product by the body."

* Oxalates that bond with calcium create the most commonly found variety of kidney stones.

* As the JAMA editors noted, the link between kidney stones and vitamin C has been explored in other large studies before. The link between the two appears so far to be true for men but not necessarily for women.

* The vast majority of the men in the study did not take the vitamin C supplements. Reuters reported on Monday that only 907 of the more than 23,000 men who participated in the study actually took a daily vitamin C supplement.

* Critics of the study point out that there is an association between the two, but that the findings shouldn't discourage a person from consuming vitamin C. Dr. Brian Matlaga, a urologist specializing in kidney stones at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Medicine, told Reuters on Monday that he wouldn't necessarily "hold this up" and tell people that they "shouldn't take vitamin C, and here's the evidence."

* Dr. Laura Thomas, one of the co-authors of the study, appears to agree. She told Reuters that the nutrient "is part of a healthy diet," and that the connection between vitamin C and kidney stones "is likely to depend both on the dose and on the combination of nutrients with which it is ingested."

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.

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