Background: Greater body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for kidney stones. However, the relation between BMI and the urinary excretion of many lithogenic factors remains unclear.
Methods: We studied urine pH, urine volume, and 24-hour urinary excretion of calcium, oxalate, citrate, uric acid, sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphate, and creatinine in stone-forming and non-stone-forming participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (599 stone-forming and 404 non-stone-forming men), Nurses' Health Study (888 stone-forming and 398 non-stone-forming older women), and Nurses' Health Study II (689 stone-forming and 295 non-stone-forming younger women). Each cohort was divided into quintiles of BMI. Tests of linear trend were conducted by 1-way analysis of variance. Linear regression models were adjusted for age, history of stone disease, dietary intake, and urinary factors.
Results: Participants with greater BMIs excreted more urinary oxalate (P for trend <or= 0.04), uric acid (P < 0.001), sodium (P < 0.001), and phosphate (P < 0.001) than participants with lower BMIs. There was an inverse relation between BMI and urine pH (P <or= 0.02). Positive associations between BMI and urinary calcium excretion in men and stone-forming younger women (P <or= 0.02) did not persist after adjustment for urinary sodium and phosphate excretion. Because of differences in urinary volume and excretion of inhibitors such as citrate, we observed no relation between BMI and urinary supersaturation of calcium oxalate. Urinary supersaturation of uric acid increased with BMI (P <or= 0.01).
Conclusion: Positive associations between BMI and urinary calcium excretion likely are due to differences in animal protein and sodium intake. The greater incidence of kidney stones in the obese may be due to an increase in uric acid nephrolithiasis.