Purpose: Urinary oxalate is a primary determinant of the level of calcium oxalate saturation and the formation of calcium oxalate crystals, a key event in kidney stone formation. The primary objective of this study was to compare the effects of calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide on oxalate absorption.
Materials and methods: An experimental model was used that allowed differentiation between endogenously and oxalate load-derived urinary oxalate. Twenty-four healthy subjects (10 males, 14 females) participated in three oxalate load (OL) tests: control (OL alone), calcium carbonate (OL with concomitant calcium carbonate ingestion), and magnesium oxide (OL with concomitant magnesium oxide ingestion). Oxalate loads consisted of 180 mg. unlabeled and 18 mg. 1,2[13C2] oxalic acid. Timed urine samples were collected after the OL for analysis of oxalate, calcium, magnesium, and creatinine.
Results: Both the calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide treatments were associated with significantly lower load-derived oxalate levels at all time points within the initial 24-hour post-oxalate ingestion period compared with levels observed for the control treatment. There were no treatment effects on endogenous oxalate levels. The efficiency of oxalate absorption for the calcium carbonate (5.1%) and magnesium oxide (7.6%) treatments was significantly lower than that for the control treatment (13.5%).
Conclusions: The results suggested that magnesium was nearly as effective as calcium in reducing oxalate absorption and urinary excretion. Higher levels of urinary oxalate, calcium, and magnesium in males appeared to be largely a function of body size since gender differences either disappeared or were reversed when a correction was made for urinary creatinine excretion.