What is the Low Oxalate Diet?
The Low Oxalate Diet is just what it sounds like: a diet low in oxalate content. Oxalates are a type of molecule that links up with calcium in the body. This complex can crystallize when it encounters damaged tissues; such crystals can be irritating and painful to tissues and cause or increase inflammation in the body. Oxalate also interferes with the functions of minerals in the body, including magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, and more.
How does it work?
Normally, most of the oxalate we consume through our diet is not absorbed in the gut, rather it is metabolized by gut bacteria or excreted in the stool. However, under certain conditions, such as leaky gut, over-absorption occurs and can result in high levels of oxalates in blood, urine and in tissues (scientists call these high levels in urine “hyperoxaluria.”)
Our bodies also make oxalates on their own, when certain enzymes are not balanced in their activity or when the microbes that digest oxalates (Lactobacillus acidophilus) are killed off by excess antibiotic use. Oxalates can be formed in the body from vitamin C and when vitamin B6 is low. The positive side to oxalates is that they help us manage calcium levels, however this is less productive when cells are low in glutathione, such as in ASD and other inflammatory conditions.
Who is it good for?
Studies have found oxalates may play a role in conditions like autism/ASD, vulvodynia, prostatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, and skin sensitivity; inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis also are accompanied by hyperoxaluria. Therefore, a low oxalate diet may benefit people with these conditions.
Key Foods to Avoid:
Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, kiwifruit, concord (purple) grapes, figs, tangerines, and plums
Vegetables: spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, okra, parsley, leeks and quinoa
Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, and peanuts
Legumes: soybeans, tofu and other soy products
Grains: wheat bran, wheat germ, quinoa
Other: cocoa, chocolate, and black tea
Note: See Low Oxalate Lists for exact oxalate levels
Things to Know:
-Nutritional balance is key especially when combining the LOD with other diets, so do be sure to work with a nutrition professional when implementing this diet in order to stay properly nourished and to assess your oxalate tolerance.