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Urol Res. 2006 Aug;34(4):227-30. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

Chitosan does not reduce post-prandial urinary oxalate excretion.

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Nephrology Section, University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, and Nephrology Section, New York Harbor VAMC, Department of Urology, St. Vincents Hospital, New York, NY 10010, USA.


Chitosan is a positively charged non-absorbable cellulose-like fibrillar biopolymer derived from shellfish which forms films with negatively charged surfaces. We hypothesized that negatively charged oxalate in the intestinal lumen could attach to the positively charged tertiary amino group of chitosan. We studied the effects of chitosan on intestinal oxalate absorption by measuring urinary oxalate excretion following an oral oxalate load with and without accompanying oral chitosan. The subjects consumed a fixed diet and collected urine for 24 h, in divided periods, during control and experimental protocols. Urine was collected with HCl and thymol as a preservative. For the control period, the subjects consumed an oxalate load, 50 g of cooked spinach, with water for lunch; the post-prandial urine collection was divided into three periods of 2 h. For the experimental period, 1 week later, the subjects consumed the same diet as that during the control period, but added 2 g of chitosan to the oxalate load. Post-prandial urinary oxalate excretion was expressed as mg oxalate/g creatinine. The spinach load was associated with a significant post-prandial increase in urinary oxalate during the control period of 25.7+/-12.8 mg/g creatinine. Accompanying the oxalate load with chitosan was well tolerated. There was no decrease in post-prandial urinary oxalate excretion during the experimental period: oxalate excretion rose by 31.3+/-16.9 mg/g creatinine (P=0.57, NS). We conclude that chitosan does not reduce acute intestinal oxalate absorption and therefore does not affect post-prandial urinary oxalate excretion.

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