Research from a team of investigators, including University of Houston scientists, could lead to a new treatment to prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones. HCA (hydroxycitrate), a natural fruit extract available as a supplement, could represent the first breakthrough in decades, with the potential to not only stop the growth of calcium oxalate crystals, but dissolve them. The researchers compared HCA to potassium citrate, a supplement that currently slows calcium oxalate crystal growth, but causes side effects for some patients. They found that the more powerful HCA binds to crystal surfaces in a way that causes the crystal to break down. A test in humans showed that the supplement is excreted by the kidneys, which is an important first step in determining its potential as a new treatment. While HCA showed promising results in the lab, more research is needed to find out whether it could be tolerated long term and work effectively in patients.
Researchers Propose New Treatment to Prevent Kidney Stones, EurekAlert, August 8, 2016