Many studies indicate that up-regulated production of 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D3 (calcitriol) with increased intestinal absorption of calcium is the primary event causing idiopathic hypercalciuria. Thus, a low calcium diet appears to be a straightforward strategy in calcium stone formers with hypercalciuria (HCSF). However, the efficacy of such a regimen has never been established, and lowering calcium intake from 1000 to 400 mg/day further enhances calcitriol production. On a diet chronically restricted in calcium, many stone formers increase their intake of animal flesh protein. The latter is known to increase renal mass, and calcitriol levels indeed are positively correlated with renal mass in animals as well as in HCSF. Thus, low calcium and high animal flesh protein consumption are independent stimuli for further up-regulation of calcitriol production. The rise in calcitriol suppresses parathyroid hormone synthesis thereby diminishing renal tubular calcium reabsorption, and increasing urinary calcium losses. Since calcitriol up-regulation also increases bone resorption, the combination of low calcium and high protein intake is particularly likely to induce negative calcium balance and thus osteopenia. Finally, low calcium intake carries the risk of insufficient intestinal binding of oxalate with subsequent increases in intestinal absorption and urinary excretion of oxalate. Indeed, most recent studies suggest that high amounts of calcium, when ingested simultaneously with oxalate-containing meals, are able to prevent hyperoxaluria during severe oral oxalate loading.
"Low Calcium Diet in Hypercalciuric Calcium Nephrolithiasis: First Do No Harm,"
Scanning Microscopy: Vol. 10
, Article 21.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/microscopy/vol10/iss2/21