Popular Cold-Fighting Vitamin Linked with Kidney Stones?

Supplements image courtesy of worradmu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Several months ago, we discovered some research that showed the potential risks of taking too much calcium in supplementation form.  Now there’s another popular vitamin supplement commonly taken to prevent colds that might also be a health risk.  Vitamin C, which is not proven to fight a cold once it starts, may also be a culprit for kidney stones.


The Vitamin C Study

The research publication in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzed data from over 23,000 Swedish men with the average age of 59.  After adjusting for other factors including Body Mass Index and dietary vitamin C, men who reported that they used vitamin C supplements were at 92% greater risk of developing kidney stones than those not taking vitamin C pills.

The researchers did not know exactly how many milligrams of vitamin C was in each supplement, but from a big picture view, Vitamin C supplements typically provide 1,000 milligrams per tablet.

Concluding Remarks

This research study certainly has some merit because the physiology of the body dictates that excess vitamin C can be converted into oxalate.  Oxalate makes up kidney stones and people at risk for kidney stones are advised to limit foods containing oxalate (ie. soy products, lentils, peanut butter, spinach, sweet potatoes).

But, like other nutrition research findings, correlations are not always causes.  In other words, a suggestion that vitamin C elevates oxalate levels and causes kidney-stones may not be true.  Also, the research presented in this study only applies to men, who tend to be at greater risk for kidney stones than women.

In short, the researchers fully accept that their study does not prove that excess vitamin C causes kidney stones.  Also, I’m still an advocate of real food over supplementation because there’s a ‘universal law’ suggesting that, ‘nothing in nature takes more than it needs, but when it does, it becomes subject to that law.’

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About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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