Ascorbate increases human oxaluria and kidney stone risk

J Nutr. 2005 Jul;135(7):1673-7. doi: 10.1093/jn/135.7.1673.


Currently, the recommended upper limit for ascorbic acid (AA) intake is 2000 mg/d. However, because AA is endogenously converted to oxalate and appears to increase the absorption of dietary oxalate, supplementation may increase the risk of kidney stones. The effect of AA supplementation on urinary oxalate was studied in a randomized, crossover, controlled design in which subjects consumed a controlled diet in a university metabolic unit. Stoneformers (n = 29; SF) and age- and gender-matched non-stoneformers (n = 19; NSF) consumed 1000 mg AA twice each day with each morning and evening meal for 6 d (treatment A), and no AA for 6 d (treatment N) in random order. After 5 d of adaptation to a low-oxalate diet, participants lived for 24 h in a metabolic unit, during which they were given 136 mg oxalate, including 18 mg 13C2 oxalic acid, 2 h before breakfast; they then consumed a controlled very low-oxalate diet for 24 h. Of the 48 participants, 19 (12 stoneformers, 7 non-stoneformers) were identified as responders, defined by an increase in 24-h total oxalate excretion > 10% after treatment A compared with N. Responders had a greater 24-h Tiselius Risk Index (TRI) with AA supplementation (1.10 +/- 0.66 treatment A vs. 0.76 +/- 0.42 treatment N) because of a 31% increase in the percentage of oxalate absorption (10.5 +/- 3.2% treatment A vs. 8.0 +/- 2.4% treatment N) and a 39% increase in endogenous oxalate synthesis with treatment A than during treatment N (544 +/- 131 A vs. 391 +/- 71 micromol/d N). The 1000 mg AA twice each day increased urinary oxalate and TRI for calcium oxalate kidney stones in 40% of participants, both stoneformers and non-stoneformers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / adverse effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Calcium / urine
  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperoxaluria / chemically induced*
  • Hyperoxaluria / epidemiology
  • Kidney Calculi / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Calculi / epidemiology
  • Kidney Calculi / urine
  • Male
  • Oxalates / urine
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors


  • Oxalates
  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Calcium