Impact of Prolonged Fasting on the Risk of Calcium Phosphate Precipitation in the Urine: Calcium Phosphate Lithogenesis during Prolonged Fasting in a Healthy Cohort

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Abstract

Purpose:

Intermittent fasting and curtailing water intake for extended periods were likely common in Paleolithic times. Today it occurs for religious and dietary reasons. This restriction in intake should cause a decrease in the urine flow rate while raising the concentration of certain substances in urine to the point of precipitation. In this study we measured the risk of CaHPO4 precipitation following 18 hours of food and water deprivation.

Materials and Methods:

Urine samples were periodically collected from 15 healthy subjects who fasted and abstained from drinking any liquid for 18 hours. The urine constituents Ca2+, HPO42– and pH involved in CaHPO4 formation were measured at various times throughout the fasting day. A comparison was made with control data, which consisted of diurnal urine collections taken throughout a separate nonfasting day prior to the fasting day.

Results:

The mean ± SEM urine flow rate decreased significantly from 0.93 ± 0.1 ml per minute in the control group to 0.37 ± 0.05 ml per minute in the fasting group (p <0.05). Mean Na+ and Ca2+ excretion rates decreased significantly from 127 ± 12 to 54 ± 13 μmol per minute and from 3.2 ± 0.4 to 0.80 ± 0.21, respectively. Mean urinary Na+ and Ca2+ concentrations also decreased from 161 ± 11.6 to 122 ± 16.0 mmol/l and from 3.7 ± 0.5 to 2.0 ± 0.55, respectively. Urinary pH and the concentration of phosphate, citrate and magnesium were not significantly affected.

Conclusions:

Although the steady decrease in the urine flow rate was statistically significant during 18 hours of food and water deprivation, there was no evidence that the calculated risk of CaHPO4 precipitation in the healthy subjects had increased.

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