Higher Vitamin D Does Not Raise the Risk for Kidney Stones

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The Vitamin D Society wants to make the public aware of a recent study which reported that high levels of vitamin D had a lower risk of kidney stones.

Many physicians have been afraid to recommend doses of vitamin D that would produce the serum levels of 25(OH)D found in this study

The Vitamin D Society wants to make the public aware of a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health, which reported that study participants with the highest vitamin D blood serum levels actually had a lower incidence of kidney stones(1). These results show that higher vitamin D intake cannot be a substantial cause of kidney stones because as participants vitamin D levels increased, kidney stone cases actually decreased. The study was sponsored by GrassrootsHealth (GRH), a nonprofit public health research organization, and was led by Dr. Cedric Garland, professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California San Diego. The research team used data collected from 2,012 participants enrolled in GrassrootsHealth’s D*action study. This study is the first of its kind to include participants with a wide range of 25(OH)D blood serum levels, especially on the higher end of the spectrum between 100 nmol/L and 250 nmol/L, and is therefore a more rigorous test of the suggested association with kidney stones than previous studies.

“Many physicians have been afraid to recommend doses of vitamin D that would produce the serum levels of 25(OH)D found in this study, which correspond to intake of approximately 4000 IU/day of vitamin D3 in adults. The findings of this study should free them from any substantial concern about raising the risk of kidney stones due to serum 25(OH)D and vitamin D intake in this range,” said Garland. “And we know of no other risks at these levels for almost every person age 9 years or older.”

The study did show that older age, male gender and higher body mass index (BMI) were all risk factors for developing kidney stones.

The Scientists Call to D*action, a document published by a group of prominent vitamin D doctors, researchers and scientists through GrassrootsHealth, recommend that people of all ages achieve optimal vitamin D blood serum levels of between 100-150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA) for best overall health and disease prevention(2). Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk for many serious diseases including bone disease, various cancers including breast and colorectal, infections, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

“This work supports the conclusion that natural vitamin D levels should be attained and maintained" said Perry Holman, Executive Director for the Vitamin D Society. “We recommend that people have their 25(OH)D level tested either through their family doctor or by purchasing a home test kit through health suppliers such as GrassrootsHealth. If your vitamin D test score is low, below 100 nmol/L Canada or 40 ng/ml USA, you should take immediate action to increase your vitamin D intake.”

November is Vitamin D Awareness month. “During vitamin D winter in Canada it is impossible to produce vitamin D through outdoor sun exposure from November through March,” reports Dr. Reinhold Vieth, University of Toronto. “Vitamin D is produced in the skin from UVB sun exposure when the UV index is above 3 and your shadow is shorter than your height.”

Dr. John Cannell from the Vitamin D Council recommends sunlight, sunbed or D3 supplementation to increase your vitamin D blood levels.

About the Vitamin D Society:
The Vitamin D Society is a Canadian non-profit group organized to: increase awareness of the many health conditions strongly linked to vitamin D deficiency; encourage people to be proactive in protecting their health and have their vitamin D levels tested annually; and help fund valuable vitamin D research. The Vitamin D Society recommends people achieve and maintain optimal 25(OH)D blood levels between 100 – 150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA).

For further information, please contact:

Perry Holman
Vitamin D Society




1.    Nguyen S, Baggerly L, French C, Heaney RP, Gorham ED, Garland CF. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range of 20 to 100 ng/mL and Incidence of Kidney Stones. Am J Public Health 2013 Oct 17

2.    GrassrootsHealth – Scientists’ Call to D*action

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Perry Holman
Vitamin D Society
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