"EATING BETTER AND FEELING WORSE? IT COULD BE AN OXALATE ISSUE. MANY FOODS TOUTED AS SUPERFOODS ARE OFTEN HIGH IN OXALATES THAT CAN ACTUALLY CAUSE A WORSENING OF SYMPTOMS"
WHAT ARE OXALATES?
Oxalates are microscopic and very sharp crystals found in various plant foods but can also be produced by the body during everyday metabolic functions. The most well know oxalates are calcium oxalate crystals found in the kidneys, known as kidney stones. The problem is often far more widespread and can affect any body tissue or organ.
CAUSES OF OXALATE TOXICITY
Gut dysfunction – permeability of the gut, fat malabsorption or reduction in oxalate degrading bacteria can lead to increased absorption or impaired excretion of oxalates from the diet.
High intake – regular consumption of very high oxalate foods such as spinach, sweet potato, potato, nuts, seeds, cacao, beetroot, turmeric and black tea can exceed the ability of the body for excretion; leading to an accumulation in tissue.
Nutrient deficiencies – when the body becomes depleted of B1 or B6 it can lead to increased production of oxalic acid, increasing the total body burden.
Supplementation – ascorbic acid (vitamin C), collagen, xylitol and glycine supplements degrade or are recycled into oxalate during metabolism.
Environmental – mould exposure can cause disruption to the body in several ways while also increasing the total production and absorption of oxalates.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF OXALATE TOXICITY
- Pelvic, urinary, or genital discomfort/irritation
- Cloudy urine
- Interstitial cystitis
- Frequent UTIs
- Loose, mustard coloured stools
- Joint pain
- Dry, red, or irritated eyes
- Tight muscles
- Connective tissue complaints
- Kidney stones
- Food reactions with no clear pattern
- Symptoms that come and go randomly
- Worsening of symptoms when commencing a therapeutic diet such as paleo, ketogenic, vegan, dairy free, juice cleanses or using antioxidant “superfood” powders.
HOW MY PRACTICE CAN HELP WITH OXALATE TOXICITY
1. Identify the problem and reduce confusion
It’s not always obvious that oxalates are the cause of symptoms and often overlap with other food intolerances. We provide education around foods that contain oxalates and identifying symptoms associated with it. There is conflicting information online about oxalates, we utilize the most heavily researched information and personalize treatment for the individual.
2. Support with a low oxalate diet
Unlike other food intolerances, it is important to reduce oxalate intake slowly in a systematic way to avoid worsening of symptoms. We guide you through the process of lowering oxalates to minimize unpleasant dumping symptoms when the body begins to release stored oxalates.
3. Nutritional and lifestyle support
There are many strategies we utilize to support the body during oxalate dumping and to reduce the endogenous production of oxalates. There is a delicate balance that must be achieved as many interventions that can improve symptoms have the potential to make them worse.
4. Understanding the link between oxalate and histamine
Many people with oxalate toxicity mistakenly think they have histamine intolerance; this is because many of the symptoms can mimic histamine excess. Oxalates also create inflammation during the phases of accumulation or mobilization at which point histamine levels can rise. If your histamine intolerance symptoms seem to worsen randomly, even when on a low histamine diet, it is worth considering oxalates as a problem.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Read our article in Brainz Magazine
Check out our video on oxalate toxicity