In vitro and in vivo study of effect of lemon juice on urinary lithogenesis

Arch Esp Urol. 2005 Dec;58(10):1087-92. doi: 10.4321/s0004-06142005001000019.


Objectives: The diversity of experimental results obtained in the study of the effect of citrus juice on urinary lithogenicity moved us to study the effect of these substances in vitro and in-vivo. The in-vitro study is based on the turbidimetric method on calcium oxalate crystallization. In vivo, we studied the effect of lemon juice consumption on urinary chemistry and we tested it on calcium oxalate crystallization in natural urine.

Methods: The formation of crystals is induced by the addition of the oxalate and calcium solution. Optical density (OD) is measured in a closed system at physiological conditions. The effects of the various juices of lemon, was evaluated by the addition of 50 ml of juice. A male volunteer with no history of kidney stone participated in this study, by lemon juice ingestion. The pH, concentration of oxalate, calcium and citrate were determined before and after ingestion and urine was freshly analyzed by microscopy.

Results and conclusions: In synthetic urine, the inhibition rate of calcium oxalate crystallization increases gradually with the lemon juice concentration. In natural urine, we noted that the kinetics of crystallization of calcium oxalate, before and after ingestion of lemon juice, are comparable. In vivo, after ingestion, a small increase in mean urinary pH (from 6.7 +/- 0.1 to 6.9 +/- 0.1) was noted. Indeed, oxalate calcium means and citrate excretion increased during this period with 33.41%, 6.85% and 3.53% respectively. This increase in the oxalate excretion is probably explained by the conversion of the exogenous ascorbic acid contained in the lemon juice. These results show that the lemon juice presents an important inhibitory effect in vitro. The ingestion of the lemon juice seems to dissipate a effect of great quantity of citrates which in turn increases the excretion of oxalates. The presence of these two elements simultaneously: citrate and oxalate compensate for their opposite effect.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Citrus / metabolism*
  • Crystallization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Urinary Calculi / etiology*
  • Urinary Calculi / metabolism*