Is zinc related to the formation of kidney stones?

A completely opposite hypothesis about kidney stones has been debunked.

When salts accumulate in the kidneys, kidney stones develop. This mechanism appears to be influenced by zinc. However, it was not previously known whether zinc promotes or prevents the formation of kidney stones. According to an American research team, both scenarios can be applied.

Researchers from the University of Houston in the US say that zinc promotes and prevents the formation of kidney stones. The results bring previously contradictory views on the subject in line. The results were recently published in the journal Crystal Growth & Design.

Zinc and kidney stones: two options

Kidney stones consist of inorganic salt crystals, especially calcium oxalate crystals, as well as organic matter such as proteins that crystallize or stick together in concentrated urine. These deposits can cause severe pain as they pass through the urinary tract.

Zinc has the ability to affect the growth of these crystals. However, there are competing theories in the scientific world. While some believe that zinc has a growth inhibitory effect, others believe that it speeds up the formation of kidney stones. Both camps are right, as the current study’s working group shows, because zinc inhibits and promotes calcium oxalate crystal formation.

What is the role of zinc in the formation of kidney stones?

“Zinc slows down the formation of calcium oxalate crystals and at the same time modifies their surface, leading to defects in the form of adhesions,” says Jeffrey Rimmer of the University of Houston, who led the study with Professor Abraham E. Dockler. . The resulting anomalies create places where new crystals can settle and grow, the researchers say.

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How to do the search

To study the effect of zinc on crystal evolution, the researchers used a combination of laboratory studies and computer modeling. “These are tools that enable us to understand how different species in urine may affect crystal development at a practical molecular level,” explains Reimer.

The surface of calcium oxalate crystals can be altered by zinc.

Atomic force microscopy investigations confirmed the findings about the dual role of zinc in calcium oxalate crystals. Zinc ions have a unique ability to alter the surface of calcium oxalate crystals.

Zinc has a pronounced effect.

Further experiments in which the researchers exposed the crystal to other ions normally found in urine, such as magnesium ions showed that the effect is indeed unique. The conclusion concluded that “it had little or no effect while zinc had a significant effect”. News from the Bulgarian business magazine in brief.


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