Higher dietary zinc intake is associated with an increased risk of kidney stones, according to a new study.

Researchers led by Jie Tang, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, analyzed data from 15,444 adult participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a large U.S. population-based cross-sectional study. Of these participants, 710 reported a history of kidney stones.

Compared with subjects who had the lowest dietary zinc intake (less than 7 mg/day), those with the highest intake (more than 15 mg/day) had a significant 70% increased risk of kidney stones, the investigators reported in the American Journal of Nephrology (2012;36:549-553).

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“Future prospective studies are needed to clarify the causal relationship between zinc intake and kidney stone formation,” the authors noted.