Urinary Tract Infections & Oxalates
Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common health complaints of women I see in my clinic. One of the major causes of recurrent UTI’s is a build up of oxalate in the ureter.
What are oxalates?
Oxalates are a naturally occurring molecule found in most plant foods and are also part of normal human metabolism. Over consumption of foods high in oxalate and the inability of the body to degrade them causes a build up of oxalate, which are like sharp crystals in the ureter causing UTIs.
What causes a build up of oxalate?
- Eating too many foods high in oxalate, which includes spinach, chard, beetroot, buckwheat, and many nuts and seeds.
- Consuming in excess of 500mg of Vitamin C per day as vitamin C increases oxalate in the body.
- Low vitamin B6, as B6 degrades oxalate in the body. An increased need for glutathione due to infection and/or inflammation, as well as a deficiency in lysine since lysine is required for B6 utilization, can cause the body’s Vitamin B6 levels to become low.
- Poor gut health as we need good bacteria in the gut to break down oxalate.
- Mould exposure can cause disruption to the body in several ways also increasing the total production and absorption of oxalates.
- The herbicide Glyphosate or “Round Up,” utilized to eliminate weeds on various crops, elevates oxalate levels in the body.
- Establishing if you do have a problem with oxalates is the first step. If you have suffered from recurrent UTIs, then it’s very probable there’s an oxalate issue. Other signs and symptoms of oxalate build up include joint pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, bladder pain, vulvodynia, gut pain, kidney stones, chronic candida.
- Removing very high oxalates from your diet is the first step. If you are having green smoothies daily and eating a lot of nuts and seeds then it’s likely you are eating too many oxalates. For a complete list of very high oxalate foods see lowoxalate.info
- Ensuring you are utilizing your B6 effectively. It’s unusual to have a dietary vitamin B6 deficiency. We need to establish what is causing your B6 deficiency. Are you consuming too many oxalates? Do you have an infection or inflammation in the body that is increasing your need for glutathione? Are you deficient in lysine? Having a viral infection (including the cold sore virus) can lead to a deficiency in lysine, as the body uses lysine to attempt to maintain these viruses in a dormant state.
- Treating the gut is essential. If you have a yeast, bacteria or parasite overgrowth causing dysbiosis in your gut this will affect your ability to break down oxalate.
- Certain probiotics can degrade oxalate in the gut, especially lactobacillus strains.
- Calcium citrate and magnesium citrate will also degrade oxalate in the gut before it gets to the urinary tract.