SPOKANE, Wash. — Linda Massey, a professor of human nutrition at Washington State University Spokane and a nationally recognized expert on mineral nutrition, has received a $178,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study salt’s role in calcium kidney stone formation. The study results will be used to make dietary recommendations about the amount of dietary salt for calcium kidney stone formers.

According to Massey, Americans typically ingest 12 grams of salt a day, twice the recommended daily amount. “A reduction to 3 grams a day may decrease the risk of more calcium-containing kidney stones and slow rates of bone loss, thus reducing risk of osteoporosis as well,” she says.

Massey will test the theory that people who have high calcium levels in their urine (hypercalciuria), and thus are more likely to form kidney stones, appear to be more sensitive to dietary salt effects on urinary calcium.

Her prior research has investigated the roles played by milk, meat, caffeine, herbal tea and other foods in kidney stone formation. The American Dietetic Association recognizes her dietary recommendations with regard to kidney stones as national standards of practice.