Effect of animal and vegetable protein intake on oxalate excretion in idiopathic calcium stone disease.Br J Urol 1989; 63(4):348-51BJ
Oxalate excretion was measured in healthy subjects and idiopathic calcium stone-formers on dietary regimens which differed in the type and amount of protein allowed; 24-h urine collections were obtained from 41 practising vegetarians and 40 normal persons on a free, mixed, "mediterranean" diet. Twenty idiopathic calcium stone-formers were also studied while on two low calcium, low oxalate diets which differed in that animal protein was high in one and restricted in the other. Vegetarians had higher urinary oxalate levels than controls and although the calcium levels were markedly lower, urinary saturation with calcium/oxalate was significantly higher. This mild hypercalciuria was interpreted as being secondary to both a higher intake and increased fractional intestinal absorption of oxalate. Changing calcium stone-formers from a high to a low animal protein intake produced a significant decrease in calcium excretion but there was no variation in urinary oxalate. As a result, the decrease in calcium oxalate saturation was only marginal and not significant. It was concluded that dietary animal protein has a minimal effect on oxalate excretion. Mild hyperoxaluria of idiopathic calcium stone disease is likely to be intestinal in origin. Calcium stone-formers should be advised to avoid an excess of animal protein but the risks of a vegetable-rich diet should also be borne in mind.