High oxalates foods and their side effects
I’ve been researching, working on this blog for over a year now, to ensure high quality data, as its quite a grey area, and it doesn’t influence us all in a similar way.
What are Oxalates and their role in plants, Oxalate is an organic acid found in plants, but can also be synthesised by the body.
Oxalic acid and oxalates are produced and present in plants in different amounts. Insoluble calcium oxalate plays a key role in regulating calcium concentration, which is important in the functioning of guard cells. Oxalates provide tolerance to aluminium toxicity to plants growing in acid soils. Both oxalic acid and calcium oxalate provide self-defence against insect pests and grazing animals.
Not all of us will be negatively affected by high Oxalates foods, based on our microbiome and whether or not we have the right bacteria for Oxalate degradation.
Oxalates are involved with compromised gut health
They bind to minerals, and certain electrolytes like calcium and attack vulnerable areas of the body, and have been linked to kidney stones.
Calcium Supplements And Kidney Stones
In a very large, comprehensive study lasting 12 years, researchers followed the dietary calcium intake and calcium supplementation of 91,731 nurses, aged 34 to 59. None of the nurses had ever had kidney stones prior to the study.
During the 12-year study, 864 nurses developed their first kidney stones, and scientists noticed something intriguing, since the most common stones are made of calcium bound to either oxalate or phosphate. The study results showed that the higher the nurse’s dietary calcium intake – that is, obtaining calcium from foods – the less likely they were to get kidney stones. Conversely, nurses who took calcium supplements were 20% more likely to get kidney stones.
“The study’s investigators conclude that a high intake of dietary calcium reduces the risk of kidney stones but supplemental calcium increases the risk.”
This is important. Obtaining calcium from foods actually makes it less likely you’ll develop a kidney stone, and here’s why.
Dietary calcium binds with oxalate in the gut and also in the urine, thus forming a compound that cannot be absorbed. If your dietary intake of calcium is low, this allows more free oxalate to be absorbed in the gut and excreted via the urine. For those who form calcium oxalate kidney stones, reducing dietary calcium would therefore increase stone risk.
In fact, according to a 2005 study,
“Restricted calcium intake results in increased urinary oxalates, a risk for stone formation This is a proposed cause of the association between reduced calcium intake and increased supersaturation of calcium oxalate. …Clearly, strong research evidence now supports adequate calcium intake for patients who form kidney stones.”
The reason the dietary calcium did not have adverse health effects is clear: calcium found in foods, especially plants, is readily absorbed by the body. Conversely, inorganic calcium supplements are the equivalent of eating rocks, which are simply not a food source. Inorganic calcium just doesn’t absorb into your cells (or your bones) like organic calcium does, so if you’re taking a calcium supplement, you’ll want to make sure it is the kind you’d find in foods.
The following are symptoms associated with high oxalates diet, especially for people who are having problems binding and evacuating them.
- Kidney stones
- Vulvodinia, pain in the Vulva. painful sex
- Painful urination
- High levels of Histamines
- General Inflammation
- Sharp body pains
- Forearm pain
- Frequent UTIs
Below are foods that are high in Oxalates,
Chocolates, almonds, cashews, rhubarb, raw spinach, beets, Swiss chard, sesame seeds, gluten, buckwheat, apricots, peaches, blackberries and many more
Magnesium, calcium citrate helps bind Oxalates
The right Probiotics will help in Oxalate degradation too.
So how do you know if your body will react negatively to high Oxalates foods, well you can either run a comprehensive stool test at a functional testing lab, such as Genova or The great planes OAT test, or as Dr Mark Hyman notoriously say, “the best doctor in the house, is your body” see how your gut reacts to high Oxalates foods, and decide wether you want to avoid these foods forever, or heal your gut, adjust the terrain of your microbiome, through testing, the right diet for you, by working with a qulaified Naturopath/ Functional medicine Practitioner.