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ABSTRACT: The different susceptibility to renal stone disease of white and black people has been previously explained in terms of intrinsic (genetics) and extrinsic (diet, lifestyle) factors. However, in South Africa, the absence of stone disease in the black population has not yet been fully explained by either of these. The aim of the present study was to identify potential differences between black and white subjects in South Africa and white subjects in Europe with respect to their relative dietary and urinary risk factors for renal stone formation.
A total of 72 healthy subjects (45 males and 27 females, age range 21-30 years) with no previous history of renal stone disease or specific diseases predisposing to renal stone formation were recruited in South Africa (SA) and in Italy (IT). They were divided in three groups: South African blacks (SA-B), South African whites (SA-W) and Italian whites (IT-W). Each participant provided a 24-hour dietary record and 24-hour urine sample taken over the same period. Nutrients and calories were calculated by means of food composition tables using a computerised procedure. Urinary concentrations of potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphate, oxalate, urate, citrate, magnesium, and creatinine, together with the pH and urinary volumes, were measured.
The mean carbohydrate intake was significantly higher in SA-B (293+90 g/day) than in both SA-W (194+74, p = 0.002) and IT-W (212 +/- 81; p = 0.000). Daily magnesium intake was higher in SA-B (290+124 mg/day) than in IT-W (176+73 mg/day, p = 0.002). The mean daily urinary excretion of calcium was significantly (p = 0.029) lower in SA-B (3.07 +/- 1.68 mmol/day) with respect to SA-W (4.65 +/- 2.44 mmol/day) and IT-W (4.51 +/- 1.89 mmol/day) whereas mean daily urinary excretion of citrate was significantly (P = 0.012) higher in SA-B (3.36 +/- 1.4 mmol/day) than in SA-W (3.09 +/- 1.45 mmol/day) and IT-W (2.36 +/- 0.98 mmol/day).
Although the carbohydrate intake and the percent of energy from carbohydrate of black subjects in this study were higher with respect to white controls, we were not able to show any other relevant difference of the known dietary stone risk patterns between black and white subjects. On the other hand the urinary patterns of black controls seem to be more favourable in term of risk for stone formation than those of white controls showing a lower calcium excretion and a higher citrate excretion in the urine. Our result of higher carbohydrate intake in black subjects is counter-intuitive as it suggests a higher risk of stone formation in this group. This puzzling result may have arisen because our subjects were recruited from the urban population rather than from rural areas, suggesting that western diets and lifestyles may ultimately change the stone incidence profile in the black population.
Archivio italiano di urologia, andrologia: organo ufficiale [di] Società italiana di ecografia urologica e nefrologica / Associazione ricerche in urologia 09/2009; 81(3):171-4.