In this article you will learn:
What oxalates are and how to effectively manage them
How to make effective decisions to keep you safe from kidney stones and complications
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Oxalate is a simple plant defense chemical and it binds to other minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.(1) When this happens, it creates tiny crystals that can lead to all sorts of problems like kidney stones, abdominal pain, diarrhea and muscle or joint pain.
Some people are sensitive to oxalate and experience symptoms even from small amounts. If you have arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, this may be something to consider putting on your radar. If you like salads, shoot for arugula, cabbage or cruciferous vegetables as they are lower in oxalate. Arugula is my favorite and it’s the highest in natural nitrates to help your Circulation. Avoid lettuce as it’s basically empty of nutrients and very difficult to digest.
Managing oxalate can be a real dance, especially if you have certain risk factors. Unfortunately, oxalate is in many healthy foods. For most people it’s not an issue, but a change in your health status can suddenly make it important to minimize your oxalate intake or to be aware of it.
Below are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind regardless of your current situation:
1. If you are missing a gallbladder or are not digesting your fats properly because of an
inflammatory bowel condition or leaky gut, the calcium in your diet will bind with the
undigested fat instead of oxalate.(2) As a result, you will eliminate what you need (the
calcium and fat) and absorb the oxalate. Once in the blood, oxalate gets filtered out
through your kidneys, and it is during this process that it can bind to calcium in your
blood and form stones. Making sure you don’t eat too much fat or that you
supplement with digestive enzymes can support your digestive system to prevent
this, and we will get into more detail about all of these things in future chapters.
2. A low level of citrate in the body is associated with kidney stone formation. Taking
calcium citrate has been shown to reduce kidney stone formation and oxalate burden
3. In a similar point, higher calcium intake in general has actually been shown to reduce
kidney stone formation even in a 20-fold increase in oxalate consumption.(4)
4. A healthy gut has oxalate-degrading bacteria in it,(5,6) so maintaining a balanced
microbiome and reducing inflammation in general will allow your gut to process
oxalate properly. What you eat shapes your microbiome, and it’s thought that eating
foods higher in oxalate will also allow more of these critters to thrive, but if you are
also eating garbage or taking antibiotics then this will create a problem. We will go
over specific strategies on how to heal your gut in future chapters.
5. Digesting your proteins is also important because it puts less pressure on your kidneys through metabolites like uric acid which can also combine with oxalate to form kidney stones. Avoid excessive amounts of protein, utilize digestive support formulas and keep hydrated throughout the day.
6. Look up high oxalate foods and avoid or substitute them in your diet.
7. Employ other nutrients like vitamins D, A and K along with boron to help your body metabolize calcium better. When you are deficient in these nutrients, it leads to increased calcium being excreted in your urine which increases your propensity for stones if your digestive system is also out of Alignment and allowing high amounts of oxalate to get into the blood.
8. Most people (about 90%) do not get kidney stones, and most kidney stones (about
80%) are made from calcium oxalate.(7) This means that the small percentage of
people who do experience these issues likely have a calcium metabolism problem and
a misaligned digestive system.
9. In a study of 9 raw popular vegetables, boiling reduced oxalate content by about 30-
85%, and steaming by about 5-50%. Baking had no effect on potatoes’ level of oxalate.(8)
10. Vitamin C, or rather the ascorbic acid component of it, breaks down into oxalate in the body on a daily basis as part of your metabolism.(9) Research has shown that intakes of 1000-2000mg of ascorbic acid per day significantly increase oxalate excretion in the urine without lowering the urine pH.(10) What all this means is that if you’re worried about stones and oxalate, stop taking cheap vitamin C supplements because they are just massive doses of ascorbic acid and only increasing the oxalate burden for your body and kidneys. Instead, opt for a high quality whole food based one like this one.
11. As of the time of this writing, a drug named Nephure is being developed based on
some successful clinical trials. Initially it was going to be marketed as a supplemental
enzyme to break down oxalate, but they have decided to make it into a drug instead
and it will probably be another year or two before it is available. To stay up to date
with this drug, visit: www.nephure.com