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Attention Men Taking Vitamin C

By on March 3, 2013

Take your vitamin supplements, take your vitamins, this has been a mainstay in our health culture for quite a while. Now a new study undermines this to some extent by finding that men who take vitamin C supplements are at higher-than-average risk of developing kidney stones. Ouch!

The findings don’t prove the vitamin itself triggers stones to form. But researchers said that because there are no clear benefits tied to taking high-dose vitamin C, people who have had stones in the past might want to think before taking extra supplements. The new finding “suggests that stone formers who take regular vitamin C may actually place themselves at increased risk,” said Matlaga, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Researchers led by Laura Thomas of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm used data from a large study of middle-aged and elderly Swedish men who answered a series of questions on their diet and lifestyle, then were tracked for an average of 11 years. Because this study was based in a Nordic country, it’s unclear if the findings are applicable to men of color. The current analysis included 907 of those men who said they took regular vitamin C tablets and more than 22,000 who didn’t use any nutritional supplements.

orangejuiceruOf the vitamin C users, 3.4% developed kidney stones for the first time during the study, compared to 1.8% of non-supplement users. Men who took vitamin C supplements at least once a day had the highest risk of kidney stones, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“It has long been suspected that high doses of vitamin C may increase the risk of kidney stones as some of the vitamin C absorbed by the body is excreted in urine as oxalate – one of the key components of kidney stones.” Men are more likely to form stones than women. The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends 90 mg of vitamin C per day for men – the amount in a small glass of orange juice or a cup of broccoli.

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