Dietary Zinc and Incident Calcium Kidney Stones in Adolescence

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We determined the association between dietary zinc intake and incident calcium kidney stones in adolescents. We also examined the relationship between dietary zinc intake and urinary zinc excretion between cases and controls.

Materials and Methods:

We conducted a nested case-control study within a large pediatric health care system. Three 24-hour dietary recalls and spot urine chemistry analyses were obtained for 30 participants 12 to 18 years old with a first idiopathic calcium based kidney stone and 30 healthy controls matched for age, sex, race and month of enrollment. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between daily zinc intake and incident calcium kidney stones, adjusting for dietary phytate, protein, calcium, sodium and oxalate. Multivariable linear regression was used to estimate the association between dietary and urine zinc, adjusting for urine creatinine and dietary phytate and calcium.


Cases had lower daily zinc intake (8.1 mg) than controls (10 mg, p = 0.029). Daily zinc intake of boys and girls with calcium stones was 2 mg and 1.2 mg less, respectively, than the daily intake recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Odds of incident stones were reduced by 13% for every 1 mg increase in daily zinc intake (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.75–0.99). There was an estimated 4.5 μg/dl increase in urine zinc for every 1 mg increase in dietary zinc (p = 0.009), with weak evidence of a smaller increase in urine zinc in cases than in controls (interaction p = 0.08).


Decreased dietary zinc intake was independently associated with incident calcium nephrolithiasis in this population of adolescents.

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