, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 289–297 | Cite as

Ascorbic acid intake and oxalate synthesis

  • John Knight
  • Kumudu Madduma-Liyanage
  • James A. Mobley
  • Dean G. Assimos
  • Ross P. Holmes
Invited Review


In humans, approximately 60 mg of ascorbic acid (AA) breaks down in the body each day and has to be replaced by a dietary intake of 70 mg in women and 90 mg in men to maintain optimal health and AA homeostasis. The breakdown of AA is non-enzymatic and results in oxalate formation. The exact amount of oxalate formed has been difficult to ascertain primarily due to the limited availability of healthy human tissue for such research and the difficulty in measuring AA and its breakdown products. The breakdown of 60 mg of AA to oxalate could potentially result in the formation of up to 30 mg oxalate per day. This exceeds our estimates of the endogenous production of 10–25 mg oxalate per day, indicating that degradative pathways that do not form oxalate exist. In this review, we examine what is known about the pathways of AA metabolism and how oxalate forms. We further identify how gaps in our knowledge may be filled to more precisely determine the contribution of AA breakdown to oxalate production in humans. The use of stable isotopes of AA to directly assess the conversion of vitamin to oxalate should help fill this void.


Ascorbate Vitamin C Oxalate Metabolism 



Funded in part by NIH Grant DK73732.

Compliance with ethical standards


This work was supported in part by NIH grant and DK73732.

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the investigators.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Knight
    • 1
  • Kumudu Madduma-Liyanage
    • 1
  • James A. Mobley
    • 2
  • Dean G. Assimos
    • 1
  • Ross P. Holmes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of UrologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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