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  1. Massini, Lisa A. MS, RD
  2. Han, Haewook PhD, RD
  3. Seifter, Julian MD
  4. Dwyer, Johanna T. DSc, RD


Nephrolithiasis, or kidney stones, is the presence of renal calculi caused by a disruption in the balance between salt solubility and precipitation in the kidneys, usually because of dehydration or certain genetic predispositions. The lifetime prevalence of kidney stones in the United States is 12% among men and 7% among women. There are many myths regarding the relationship between diet and risk of various types of kidney stones, which are addressed in this article. Conclusions are as follows: All individuals should avoid very high or very low total intakes of calcium. Stone formers should optimize fluid intake to increase urine volume and decrease stone risk. All individuals should aim for the dietary reference intake (DRI) for vitamin C, and those prone to oxalate stones should avoid excessive dietary supplementation. Eating amounts of protein near the DRI does not increase risk of stone recurrence, even if protein is from animal sources. Consumption of fruits and vegetables (at least 5 servings/day) may decrease risk for kidney stones. Follow the dietary recommendations that accompany kidney stone medications to maximize their efficacy. Strive for the DRIs for magnesium and potassium because they appear to be protective against kidney stones. Hyperuricosuric patients can reduce their uric acid excretion and increase their urinary pH by reducing purine intake.