Prospects for dietary therapy of recurrent nephrolithiasis

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2009 Jan;16(1):21-9. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2008.10.010.


The goal of this article is to propose a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that tests a hypothesis that dietary manipulation prevents recurrent kidney stones. Dietary interventions based on epidemiologic and pathophysiologic data are reviewed. The only diet trial successful in preventing stones showed that calcium intake of 1,200 mg/d, accompanied by restriction of animal protein, salt, and oxalate ingestion, was superior to 400 mg of calcium and restricted oxalate intake. This study may be worth repeating in women and in a society in which salt restriction might be less effective (eg, United States). The net result of diet trials establishes significant positive effects on urine chemistries, but these have not yet shown efficacy with regard to stone recurrence. Oxalate restriction alone could be effective, but many questions regarding which populations to study are not defined, and dietary oxalate's contribution to stone formation is disputed. Would such a study be limited to patients identified as having high dietary oxalate intake or high intestinal oxalate absorption? Would colonization with Oxalobacter formigenes influence the result? The increased prevalence of stones is linked to weight gain and obesity, making weight loss a possible therapy to prevent stones. Randomized trials show that diets consisting of low-fat content or low-caloric content cause modest weight loss and might be effective in reducing stone formation. Because the efficacy of thiazides in the prevention of stones in patients with hypercalciuria is clear, I propose dietary comparison of higher calcium intake to thiazides for the prevention of calcium-based kidney stones.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nephrolithiasis / diet therapy*
  • Nephrolithiasis / epidemiology
  • Nephrolithiasis / prevention & control*
  • Prevalence
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Secondary Prevention