Do Vitamin C Supplements Raise Your Risk of Kidney Stones?

If you’re a man who likes to take care of his wellness with a few vitamin C supplements here and there, you may actually be putting your wellbeing at risk. This is according to a new study, published in Jama Internal Medicine, which found that men who regularly take the vitamin C supplement ascorbic acid are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones.


Led by Dr Agneta Âkesson from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the 11 year follow-up study found that men who consume a typical 1000mg per tablet dose of ascorbic acid were twice as likely to develop kidney stones as men who do not supplement their diets. However, the researchers found that multivitamins – which contain lower levels of vitamin C – did not have any association with increased risk of kidney stones. The researchers therefore asserted that the findings do not prove that the vitamin alone triggers stones to form, but as there are no clear benefits from taking vitamin C in high doses, you might want to rethink your supplement intake if you’ve had kidney stones in the past.


For the study, the researchers analysed data from a large population-based study of men from the Västmanland and Örebro areas of Sweden. This involved 23,355 men, all of whom had no history of kidney stones and consumed either no dietary supplements, or vitamin C supplements only. Over a period of 11 years, 436 men developed kidney stones that required medical attention. When discussing the findings, the researchers surmised that both the high dose of vitamin C, and the combination with which the vitamin is ingested, have an important role to play in men’s risk of kidney stones. They therefore asserted that you should not be worried about your normal dietary intake of vitamin C from fruit and vegetables.


According to Âkesson, ‘As with all research, the results should be corroborated by other studies for us to be really sure. Nor can we say anything about whether women run the same risk as men. But given that there are no well-documented benefits of taking high doses of vitamin C in the form of dietary supplements, the wisest thing might be not to take them at all, especially if you have suffered kidney stones previously.’

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