The high level of zinc, the key nutrient mineral, in the body may contribute to kidney stone formation, claims a new research.
Zinc may be the core by which stone formation starts, showed the results that might ultimately lead to the identification of new preventive and therapeutic approaches for urinary stone and diseases related to it.
"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," said lead author Thomas Chi, assistant professor of medicine at the University of California - San Francisco. "Kidney stones are hard, often jagged masses of crystallized minerals that form in the kidney."
Drinking too little water, exercise (too much or too little), obesity, weight loss surgery or eating too much salt or sugar in the food are the possible causes of kidney stones, according to the National Kidney Foundation, US. Infections and family history can also lead to kidney stones.
In the study, scientists examined humans and fruit flies to explore the interplay of zinc with oxalate, calcium and other minerals which form kidney stones.
"The idea made sense because our most recent research demonstrates that zinc is important for the mineralization and calcification processes that lead to urinary stones," Chi said.
The results showed that changes in oxalate levels in the urine, which is a known risk factor for kidney stones, tracked well with dietary zinc intake: as zinc dropped, urinary oxalate changed dramatically.
Oysters, red meat, poultry and seafood such as crab and lobsters are rich sources of zinc.
The study appeared in the scientific journal PLOS ONE