The role of sodium intake in nephrolithiasis: epidemiology, pathogenesis, and future directions

Eur J Intern Med. 2016 Nov:35:16-19. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2016.07.001. Epub 2016 Jul 19.


The prevalence of nephrolithiasis has doubled over the last decade and the incidence in females now approaches that of males. Since dietary salt is lithogenic, a purported mechanism common to both genders is excess dietary sodium intake vis-a-vis processed and fast foods. Nephrolithiasis has far-reaching societal implications such as impact on gross domestic product due to days lost from work (stone disease commonly affects working adults), population-wide carcinogenic diagnostic and interventional radiation exposure (kidney stone disease is typically imaged with computed tomographic imaging and treated under imaging guidance and follow-up), and rising healthcare costs (surgical treatment will be indicated for a number of these patients). Therefore, primary prevention of kidney stone disease via dietary intervention is a low-cost public health initiative with massive societal implications. This primer aims to establish baseline epidemiologic and pathophysiologic principles to guide clinicians in sodium-directed primary prevention of kidney stone disease.

Keywords: Diet; Diet therapy; Nephrolithiasis; Primary prevention; Sodium, dietary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Calculi / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology*
  • Primary Prevention*
  • Sodium / urine*
  • Sodium, Dietary / adverse effects*


  • Sodium, Dietary
  • Sodium