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Eur Urol. 2002 Sep;42(3):289-96.

The effect of different diets on urine composition and the risk of calcium oxalate crystallisation in healthy subjects.

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Division of Experimental Urology, Department of Urology, University of Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Street, 25, D-53105, Bonn, Germany.



The aim of the study was to determine the impact of defined diet modifications on urine composition and the risk of calcium oxalate crystallisation.


Ten healthy male volunteers consumed a self-selected diet (SD) for 14 days, and three different standard diets for a period of 5 days each. Whereas the western-type diet (WD) is representative of the usual dietary habits, the normal mixed diet (ND) and the ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet (VD) were calculated according to the requirements.


The risk of calcium oxalate crystallisation, calculated as relative supersaturation (EQUIL2) from urine composition, was highest during ingestion of diets SD and WD. The intake of diet ND resulted in a significant decrease in relative supersaturation with calcium oxalate by 58% (p<0.05) compared with diet WD, due to a significant decline in urinary calcium and uric acid excretion and a significant increase in urinary volume, pH-value and citrate excretion. In spite of an increase in urinary pH, citrate and magnesium excretion and a decline in calcium excretion, no further significant decrease in the risk of calcium oxalate crystallisation was observed on diet VD, due to a significant increase in urinary oxalate by 30% (p<0.05) on average.


The change of usual dietary habits for a normal mixed diet significantly reduces the risk of calcium oxalate crystallisation. With a vegetarian diet a similar decline in urinary supersaturation with calcium oxalate can be achieved compared to a normal mixed diet. Since urinary oxalate excretion increased significantly, a vegetarian diet without adequate intake of calcium may not be recommended to patients with mild hyperoxaluria.

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