A recent study by researchers at the University of California has revealed that extra zinc in the body may trigger the formation of kidney stones. The researchers believe that the findings could pave a path for new research on prevention of kidney and urinary stones.
In addition, the researchers hope to find its use in treating the medical conditions associated with kidney stones. "The ultimate goal of our research team is to prevent kidney stone formation and to understand the mechanisms by which they form a part of that effort," lead author and researcher Thomas Chi said in a statement.
According to Chi, kidney stones arise out of crystallization of minerals that deposit as hard masses inside the kidney. However, family history of kidney stones and infections may also result in their formation. According to the National Kidney Foundation in the U.S., lifestyle factors such as abundance or scarcity of physical exercise, dehydration, consumption of excess salt or sugar and weight loss surgery may contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
During the study, the researchers found that the interaction of zinc with calcium, oxalate and other minerals can form kidney stones. The researchers studied zinc because it has long been known to facilitate the calcification and mineralization process. The researchers found that with increased dietary intake of zinc, the level of oxalate in the urine increased as well. Oxalate levels in urine is a known risk factor for kidney stones. With decrease in dietary intake of zinc, the oxalate level also reduced.
The study findings have been published in the journal Plos One.