Efficacy of Mixtures of Magnesium, Citrate and Phytate as Calcium Oxalate Crystallization Inhibitors in Urine

J Urol. 2015 Sep;194(3):812-9. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2015.03.099. Epub 2015 Mar 26.


Purpose: The main aim of the current study was to evaluate the effectiveness of mixtures of magnesium, citrate and phytate as calcium oxalate crystallization inhibitors.

Materials and methods: A turbidimetric assay in synthetic urine was performed to obtain induction times for calcium oxalate crystallization in the absence and presence of different mixtures of inhibitors. The morphology of calcium oxalate crystals in the absence or presence of inhibitors and mixtures of the inhibitors was evaluated in 2 crystallization experiments at low and high calcium oxalate supersaturation. The crystals formed were examined using scanning electron microscopy.

Results: Examination of crystallization induction times revealed clear inhibitory effects of magnesium, citrate and phytate on calcium oxalate crystallization, supporting usefulness in the treatment and prevention of calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis. Significant synergistic effects between magnesium and phytate were observed. Scanning electron microscopy images revealed that phytate is a powerful crystal growth inhibitor of calcium oxalate, totally preventing the formation of trihydrate and monohydrate. In addition to crystallization inhibition capacity, citrate and magnesium avoided calcium oxalate crystallization by decreasing its supersaturation.

Conclusions: The synergistic effect between magnesium and phytate on calcium oxalate crystallization suggests that a combination of these 2 compounds may be highly useful as antilithiasis therapy.

Keywords: calcium oxalate; citric acid; magnesium; nephrolithiasis; phytic acid.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Oxalate / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Citrates / pharmacology*
  • Citric Acid / pharmacology*
  • Crystallization
  • Drug Synergism
  • Magnesium / pharmacology*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Phytic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Urine


  • Citrates
  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Citric Acid
  • Phytic Acid
  • Magnesium