Role of Citrus Fruit Juices in Prevention of Kidney Stone Disease (KSD): A Narrative Review

Nutrients. 2021 Nov 17;13(11):4117. doi: 10.3390/nu13114117.


To explore the relationship between citrus fruit juices (oranges, grapefruits, and lemonades) and kidney stone disease (KSD).

Methods: A systematic review was performed using the Medline, EMBASE, and Scopus databases, in concordance with the PRISMA checklist for all English, French, and Spanish language studies regarding the consumption of citrus fruit juices and the relationship to urinary stone disease. The main outcome of interest was the association of citrus fruit juices with KSD.

Results: Thirteen articles met the criteria for inclusion in the final review. Three large epidemiological studies found that grapefruit juice was a risk factor for stone formation, while orange juice did not increase the risk for KSD. Ten small prospective clinical studies found that orange, grapefruit, and lemon juices all increased urinary citrate levels. Only orange and grapefruit juices had an alkalinizing effect and while lemon juice has a protective effect by raising urinary citrate levels, it lacked a significant alkalinizing effect on urine pH. Orange juice and grapefruit juices significantly increased urinary oxalate levels, while orange juice also had a high carbohydrate content.

Conclusion: While orange juice seems to play a protective role against stone formation, grapefruit was found to raise the risk of KSD in epidemiological studies but had a protective role in smaller clinical studies. Lemon juice had a smaller protective role than orange juice. Larger amounts of, as well as more accurate, data is needed before recommendations can be made and a high carbohydrate content in these juices needs to be taken into consideration.

Keywords: citrate; grapefruit; kidney calculi; lemon; lemonade; nephrolithiasis; orange; risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antacids / pharmacology
  • Antacids / therapeutic use
  • Citric Acid / pharmacology
  • Citric Acid / therapeutic use
  • Citrus paradisi / chemistry
  • Citrus sinensis / chemistry
  • Citrus*
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices*
  • Fruit* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi* / prevention & control
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Urolithiasis


  • Antacids
  • Plant Preparations
  • Citric Acid