The Vitamin Kid

Avoiding bad medicine and finding non-toxic treatments that actually work

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Location: Ankeny, Iowa, United States

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Does megadose vitamin C cause kidney stones?

From Linus Pauling's book, Cancer and Vitamin C:

There has been much discussion in newspaper articles about the possibility that a high intake of vitamin C may cause the development of kidney stones. This suggestion is largely based on a misunderstanding. It is known that some kinds of kidney stones (the less common ones) tend to form in acidic urine, and others tend to form in alkaline urine. Physicians sometimes recommend to certain patients that they keep their urine either alkaline or acidic, in case that it is known that the patient may develop kidney stones of one kind or the other. Large doses of vitamin C as sodium ascorbate keep the urine alkaline, whereas large doses of this vitamin as ascorbic acid make it acidic. This question really has nothing to do with vitamin C, because any other alkalinizing agent, such as potassium citrate, can be used to make the urine alkaline, and any acidifier, such as ammonium chloride, can be used to make it acidic. Some people, of rare genotypes, such as those who convert most of the ascorbate to oxalate, may be unable to tolerate large doses of vitamin C, but the very small number of the cases reported in the medical literature indicates that there are not very many of these unfortunate individuals. The risk of kidney stone formation as a result of high ascorbate intake is very remote indeed.


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