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  • Writer's pictureAlison Cowell

Could oxalates be causing your ailments?

I've just been seeing a wonderful young woman who had an array of seemingly unrelated health conditions. For years, she has been backwards and forwards to doctors and specialists who have all concluded that her results are 'good'. Not very helpful when she struggles to get through each day wracked with pain, battling depression and hormonal imbalance!

To her credit, she analysed her diet, which on the face of it was exceptionally healthy. However, by keeping a food and symptom diary over a few weeks, she established that she had an issue with oxalates.

Whats-a-lates? Not heard of them? Well, you're eating them every day!

Oxalates are compounds produced by most plants, fruits and vegetables to protect them from insects and diseases. What a great system nature has provided for them - but what do those oxalates do to our human bodies when we happen to eat those very same fruits and vegetables?

Oxalates can either be soluble or insoluble. Whilst soluble oxalates can dissolve completely in our blood, insoluble oxalates cannot. If they pass into our bloodstream, they will make their way into our tissues. There are bacteria in the gut that can transform oxalate to a harmless substance. These bacteria are killed by antibiotics, so taking a quality probiotic will be beneficial.

In small amounts oxalates help our bodies manage calcium, however in large amounts they can crystallise causing problems such as kidney stones, gout, arthritis, joint pain, skin issues and vulvodynia (chronic vagina pain), to name a few! Such diverse symptoms are often overlooked or dismissed by doctors, especially when the complainant appears to have an exemplary diet.

To prevent or treat these issues, following a low-oxalate diet can be hugely beneficial, but also very tricky since oxalates are naturally occurring in many foods!

Generally, darker-coloured fruits and vegetables produce more oxalates than lighter-coloured plants. So, if you’ve noticed a decline in your health and energy since following a keto diet ladened with fruits, veggies and green smoothies, you might want to investigate oxalates a little further!

Oxalates are responsible for 80% of kidney stones

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