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No Kidney Stone Link to Calcium

October 03, 1985

Painful kidney stones are probably something that you'll want to avoid at all costs.

Contrary to a popular fallacy, restricting calcium-rich foods from your diet will do little to prevent this painful medical problem.

"There is no scientific evidence that eating calcium-rich foods--even in large amounts--can promote kidney stone formation in healthy people," said Dr. Charles Sharp, an endocrinologist and assistant professor of medicine at USC.

According to a 1979 study by the Food and Drug Administration, which reviewed the safety and effectiveness of food nutrients, calcium intakes up to 2,500 milligrams did not significantly raise urinary calcium in normal people. This calcium intake is equal to more than two quarts of milk daily and three times the recommended allowance.

Eliminating calcium-rich foods such as dairy products from your diet can increase your risk of bone loss, according to Sharp. "It's especially important for the elderly, who are more prone to bone disease, to include calcium in their diet," he said.

Diet Secondary

"In general, little is known about the cause of kidney stones," Sharp said. "In almost all cases, however, diet plays a secondary role for those people who are susceptible to kidney stones. Genetic factors or medical problems are usually the primary cause.

"Chemical analysis of the stone, urine and blood by a physician is essential in designing a specific treatment."

For the general public, however, no dietary changes are recommended to avoid kidney stones.

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