Kidney DiseaseOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and the risk of kidney stones

Researchers at the University of Bonn, in Germany, evaluated the effects of supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (omega-3 fatty acids) on risk factors for calcium oxalate stone formation.

First, the details.

  • 15 healthy people ate a standardized diet for 5 days.
  • 20 days later they ate a standardized diet for 3 to 5 days that included 900 mg eicosapentaenoic acid and 600 mg docosahexaenoic acid daily.
  • Daily 24-hour urine samples were collected.

And, the results.

  • After 30 days of  supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the relative supersaturation with calcium oxalate decreased significantly by 23%.
  • The change compared to the standard diet phase was due to significantly decreased urinary oxalate excretion.
  • Other variables were not affected.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “30-day omega-3 fatty acid supplementation effectively decreases urinary oxalate excretion and the risk of calcium oxalate crystallization.”

The authors believe that people who form calcium oxalate stones might benefit from long-term omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

Not everyone agrees. It’s a controversial topic as discussed here and here.

2/4/11 20:35 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.