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  • Writer's pictureKaren Bobinski

Should you "dump" oxalates?

Oxalates - also known as an "anti nutrient" can be problematic for many people. These compounds, found mainly in plant sources as Oxalic acid, are present to deter natural predators such as insects from eating them.

Oxalates are natures protective shield from predators

While present in many healthy food sources - they can become an issue for people who struggle with digestive issues, leaky gut, those who have taken long term antibiotics, and / or undergone gastric bypass surgery.

Oxalic acid can be found in your food, particularly high in nuts and seeds - or be produced naturally in the body. They bind to minerals in the gut forming oxalates and can limit absorption.

The body can produce oxalates when certain enzymes are imbalanced due to genetics or deficiencies such as vitamin b6, thiamine and magnesium. Consuming high levels of vitamin C can also produce oxalates.

Typically oxalates are consumed by the gut bacteria oxalobacter formingenes and eliminated in your stool. However, in people with low quantities of this important bacteria ~ oxalates can then be absorbed into the blood stream, glands, secretory organs and the brain (particualry the area that regulates hormones).

They can oxidize cell membranes and interfere with glutathione transport which is an important antioxidant that combats free radicals.

They interfere with nutrient absorption and impair enzymes that provide energy for cell life.

Furthermore - if these oxalates bind to form oxalate crystals - they can form kidney stones as well as settle into your muscles and joints causing inflammation and pain.

kidney stones are an extremely painful condition

If you fall under the category of any of these conditions or situations, you may be exacerbated by high oxalates and could consider modifying your consumption :

~leaky gut

~Inflammatory and/or autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma, colitis

~issues digesting fats

~frequent or long term antibiotic use

~gastric bypass surgery

~food sensitivities / allergies

~autism and A.D.D

~kidney stones and /or interstitial cystitis

~thyroid disease

If you suspect oxalates are an issue for you - don't stop cold turkey! This can lead to Oxalate "dumping" ( essentially your body detoxing) and can create more or increased unpleasant symptoms. Ideally you want to lower your consumption gradually by spending a week ingesting moderate level oxalate foods and then progress to low oxalate foods. Eventually you can let some high oxalate foods back into your diet once your symptoms have improved - however you must be conscientious of your intake and be sure to rotate these foods in your diet to avoid an overload.

spinach - although very healthy, is particularly high in oxalates

the following is an example of high, moderate and low oxalate foods.


*Dark leafy greens: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards

*Nuts/seeds: almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin, tahini, pistachios

*Grains: wheat, cornmeal, bulgar, buckwheat, millet, brown rice

*Legumes: Navy beans, red kidney beans, lentils, fava beans, refined beans, soy beans and products made from soy beans

*Vegetables: beets / beet greens, eggplant, chives, leeks, rutabaga, green pepper, Brussel sprouts, okra, bamboo shoots

*Fruit: rhubarb, oranges, avocados, kiwi, lemon / lime zest, tomato puree, raspberries, olives

*Dried Fruit: dates, figs, pineapple

*Other - cocoa powder, stevia


*Nuts/seeds: sunflower seeds, pecans

*Grains: white rice flour, white rice

*Vegetables: baked beans, celery, carrot, green beans, parsnips, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips

*Fruit: Berries ( other than raspberries), plums, apples, apricots, grapefruit, peaches, bananas, pineapple


*Legumes: peas

*Meats: all meat, seafood, fish, eggs

*Fruit: grapes, melons, coconut, mango

*Vegetables: herbs, squash, asparagus, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, onions, mushrooms, lettuce, cabbage, zucchini.

*Dairy- all dairy (Although dairy in itself can be a huge dietary issue for many)

*Sweeteners: Pure maple syrup, honey

*Condiments: vinegars, mustard, mayo

When consuming high oxalate foods - consider boiling these vegetables as it can reduce their oxalate content considerably.

Consuming foods higher in calcium such as broccoli along with higher oxalate foods can bind the oxalic acid to the calcium and thereby reducing the amount your body absorbs.

Drinking plenty of water daily, consider adding lemon slices for detox and reduction of kidney stones.

Sources: (This is an EXCELLENT article and even delves into supplements and cites scientific papers in their resource section)

As with any dietary change be it modifications to your diet or adding / deleting supplements - always check with your health care provider for professional advice as this blog is for information and entertainment purposes only and does not replace medical advice.

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