Article by Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., DACBN, MS, CFMP complements of Functional Medicine University
Oxalate (or oxalic acid) is a compound found in a variety of plant-based foods. Under a microscope, oxalates are jagged in structure and look somewhat crystalline.
During metabolism, oxalic acid combines with other minerals like calcium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium to form compounds like calcium oxalate and sodium oxalate in the kidneys. This in turn may be responsible for mineral deficiencies.
One of the most common issues with increased oxalates in the urine (hyperoxaluria) is the formation of kidney stones. However, if the body struggles to eliminate oxalate it can accumulate as crystals anywhere in the body. Commonly it accumulates in blood, then the eyes, bones, skin, muscles, blood vessels, heart and other organs.
High oxalates have also been linked with autism and inflammatory bowel disease. It can also be an underlying issue in those with ongoing gut problems or irritable bowel syndrome.
Tissue destruction, fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are all issues that can be related to oxalates because oxalate in tissues trigger the inflammasome reactions of the body's innate immune system.
As a side note, the thyroid will also suffer as oxalates can bind to T3 and disturb thyroid function.
The following list of vegetables should be helpful in identifying foods high in oxalates.
As you can see from the list above your favorite spinach (> 900 mgs of oxalates) green smoothie may be contributing to a host of health issues.
Low oxalate diets involve eating less food that's high in oxalates. Foods high in oxalates include certain types of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and legumes.
On a low oxalate diet, you should limit your oxalate to 40 to 50 mg each day.
Whether for kidney stone prevention or to address other possible chronic health conditions, a low oxalate diet may be the solution.
On a low oxalate diet, you may notice a decreased risk of kidney stones, improved mineral absorption, diminished joint and muscle pain, improvement in fibromyalgia, autism symptoms and improvement of autoimmune symptoms.
The information on this site is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Grisanti and his functional medicine community. Dr. Grisanti encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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