What Are Oxalates and Are They Really Bad For You?

Oxalates (oxalic acid) are a type of antinutrient that is commonly found in many leafy greens and colorful vegetables as well as some fruits, nuts, seeds and even cocoa. Even Vitamin C can be converted to oxalates when metabolized. And although it’s a rather natural substance, it can have many negative health effects which are becoming increasingly common.

For instance:

  • It can prevent calcium and other minerals from being absorbed in the body.
  • Too much oxalate in the body and improper metabolism of minerals can increase the chance of kidney stones, which can be super painful.
  • Oxalate crystals can also deposit in various tissues, causing pain, inflammation and other conditions.

 

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But it’s important to know whether the issue is really about having too many high oxalate foods (which include many super healthy and beneficial foods too), or if there are other issues that just change the way oxalates are processed in the body. For instance, Vitamin B6 is a vital cofactor needed for the AGXT enzyme to break down oxalates and since vitamin B6 deficiency is very common, it may be more important to include more B6 rather than remove all oxalates from the diet.

Another example is that when lactobacillus and bifidus are low, then more oxalate is absorbed. Having a well balanced microbiota in the gut, and a healthy intestinal system any can protect the body for oxalates being absorbed in higher numbers.

 

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Even fatty acids can play a role, since they can inhibit the ability of calcium to bind with oxalates and move them out of the body in the stool. So the issue may be more about getting the right types of fat and in the right amounts, and making sure they’re well metabolized.

So before jumping to conclusion that oxalates are bad for you and removing all oxalates is the best way to prevent pain, inflammation, stones and other conditions, it’s important to consider the body as a whole, with all its complexities. Unless someone has a genetic variance that impairs the ability to metabolize oxalates (such as in the case of a deficiency in the AGXT enzyme or the GRHPR enzyme, which are related to elevated levels of glycolic acid or glyceric acid) or even mutations in the HOGA1 gene, then it’s better to take a step back and properly evaluate the pros and cons foods being consumed and avoided and how they’d affect your individual body. And with technology like ph360 and the new ShaeTM, knowing what’s best for you as an individual has never been easier.

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