Increased vitamin D levels may prevent a wide range of diseases, according to recent studies. However, some previous studies led to a concern that vitamin D supplementation could increase an individual’s risk of developing kidney stones.
However, a study of 2,012 participants – published in the American Journal of Public Health –found no statistically relevant association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH)D) serum level in the range of 20 to 100 ng/mL and the incidence of kidney stones.
This study – led by Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine – used data from the nonprofit public health promotion organization GrassrootsHealth to follow more than 2,000 men and women of all ages for 19 months.
Only 13 individuals self-reported a kidney stone diagnosis during the study.
“Mounting evidence indicates that a Vitamin D serum level in the therapeutic range of 40 to 50 ng/mL is needed for substantial reduction in risk of many diseases, including breast and colorectal cancer,” said Garland, adding that this serum level is generally only achieved by taking vitamin supplements. “Our results may lessen concerns by individuals about taking vitamin D supplements, as no link was shown between such supplementation and an increased risk for kidney stones.”
The study did show that older age, male gender and higher body mass index (BMI) were all risk factors for developing kidney stones. According to the researchers, individuals with high BMI need higher vitamin D intake than their leaner counterparts to achieve the same 25 (OH)D serum level.
Additional contributors to the study include Stacie Nguyen, Leo Baggerly and Christine French of GrassrootsHealth, San Diego; Robert P. Heaney, MD, of GrassrootsHealth and the Department of Medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska; and Edward D. Gorham, PhD, MPH, UC San Diego Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.