EPIC-Oxford: Kidney Stone Risk for Vegetarians not Increased


A report from EPIC-Oxford did not find a higher risk of kidney stones among vegetarians (which included vegans).

Because many vegetarians and vegans eat a high-oxalate diet, I have been interested to see if a prospective study might find a higher risk of kidney stones.

A recently released report from EPIC-Oxford measured the risk of being hospitalized for a kidney stone over the course of five years for people in various diet groups (1). Vegetarians (including vegans) had a 31% lower risk (.69, .48–0.98) as compared to high meat-eaters.

The other diet groups were:

Moderate meat-eaters, 50–99 g of meat per day – 0.80 (.57–1.11)
Low meat-eaters, < 50 g of meat per day – 0.52 (.35–0.80)
Fish-eaters – .73 (.48–1.11)

Oxalate intake was not measured.

I have updated Oxalate at VeganHealth.org with this info.

The authors also found a correlation between zinc intake and kidney stones. However, this finding barely reached statistical significance and the rate of kidney stones were very low in this population (.6% over five years). Kidney stones were not a common enough side effect in the recent Cochrane Database Analysis of clinical trials on zinc to be mentioned in their report.

Considering all of this, I am not worried that a modest zinc supplement will lead to a kidney stone.

Support JackNorrisRd.com

If you like my posts, please like my posts! Or share them. Thank you!

I greatly appreciate donations of any amount (click here).

Purchase anything through these links and JackNorrisRD gets a percentage:


1. Turney BW, Appleby PN, Reynard JM, Noble JG, Key TJ, Allen NE. Diet and risk of kidney stones in the Oxford cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Eur J Epidemiol. 2014 Apr 22. [Epub ahead of print] | link

2 Responses to “EPIC-Oxford: Kidney Stone Risk for Vegetarians not Increased”

  1. Dan Says:

    Vegans may be somewhat protected from kidney stones by virtue of their typically lower calcium intake. Of course this protection would be nullified by supplementing with calcium (especially in combination with vitamin D). The large US Women’s Health Initiative (an RCT) showed a significant increase in kidney stones in women assigned to take calcium + vitamin D supplements.


  2. Jack Norris RD Says:


    There’s a lot of evidence that calcium decreases the risk of kidney stones. I can see 1,000 mg per day as being enough to push someone towards kidney stones (as taken the RCT you mention), though the finding was barely significant. I would seriously doubt that dropping one’s calcium intake from about 1,000 mg per day to about 400-600 mg per day would be the reason vegans have lower kidney stone risk. The semi-vegetarians in this EPIC study had even lower risks than the vegans.

Leave a Reply