You might already guess my stance on this controversy but just in case there is any confusion I will spell out my personal reaction to these concerns at the end of this post.
The Problem with Oxalic Acid
1. It binds with some nutrients, making them inaccessible to the body. To eat large amounts of high oxalic foods over a period of weeks to months may result in nutritional deficiencies, most notably of calcium.
2. It has been is associated with the formation of kidney stones. If you have kidney problems, your doctor may advise you against eating foods with high levels.
3. Oxalic acid poisoning symptoms include weakness, burning in the mouth, death from cardiovascular collapse, on the respiratory system, throat – burning in the throat, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and coma.
4. Individuals with gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or certain forms of chronic vulvar pain are advised to avoid foods high in oxalic acid or oxalates.
For Clarity: How toxic is Oxalic Acid?
“From an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for Oxalic acid, LD50 (LD50 is the Median Lethal Dose, which is the dose of a drug or chemical predicted to produce a lethal effect in 50 percent of the subjects to whom the dose is given) in rats is 375 mg/kg. So for a person about 145 pounds (65.7 kg) that’s about 25 grams of pure oxalic acid required to cause death. Rhubarb leaves are probably around 0.5% oxalic acid, so that you would need to eat quite a large serving of leaves, like 5 kg (11 lbs), to get that 24 grams of oxalic acid. Note that it will only require a fraction of that to cause sickness.” – The Rhubarb Compendium
Is This Possible? The Murky Middle
- Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring substance in plants, animals, and in humans.
- I often think that anything with the word acid in it will scare people but not all acid are bad. Remember that Omega 3 which everyone is trying to put into their bodies is an essential fatty acid. That might be a bad example of course since everyone is also scared of the word ‘fat’.
- Rhubarb contains high amounts of oxalic acid. If your weight is 145 pounds, you would have to consume about 25 grams of pure oxalic acid to cause death. That means you would have to eat about 11 pounds of rhubarb!
- Foods that contain significant amounts of oxalic acid are ( in order from highest to lowest): buckwheat, star fruit, plums, black pepper, parsley, poppy seed, rhubarb stalks, amaranth, spinach, chard, beets, cocoa, chocolate, most nuts, most berries, and beans. If you had to really avoid it in your diet, that would be difficult.
- There is a thought that cooking greens will lower the oxalate content but food chemistry studies show that blanching or boiling of green leafy vegetables does not make a significant difference. Thus, green smoothies do not have more oxalic acid in them contrary to some thought.
Benefits and Rebuttals: The other side of the oxalic acid story:
1. It has been assumed that black tea due to its high oxalate content increases kidney stone formation but recent research has shown it to have a preventive effect.
2. Victoria Boutenko of the Raw Food Family says that according to research on how high oxalic acid foods actually reduce the formation of kidney stones. The true cause of kidney stones is actually animal protein.
3. Oxalic acid linked to the cure or prevention of cancer:
- When cancer is diagnosed there is always a low level of oxalic acid in the blood. It is important to have the enough of it n our blood because this eliminates all abnormal cells without harmful side effects
- Every alternative cancer cure that is successful is filled with foods, herbs, grasses, and teas that are full of high amounts of oxalic acid.
- American Cancer Society conducted tests over 50 years ago using oxalic acid in the treatment of cancer and the results in papers and evidence were positive.
- “When oxalic acid is in our blood; in foods & beverages we eat and drink, and testimonials confirm oxalic acid kills cancer cells, virus, bacteria, and decalcifies the material in plaque in arteries; and is in the blood of all warm-blooded mammals”. From booklet “Questions and Answers About E- M- F, Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power
- Radiation will decompose oxalic acid in the blood. This usually weakens the immune system so the body is unable to fight off viral or bacterial disease. Is this why many cancer patients die from cancer related to viral pneumonia.
4. Oxalic acid is needed by our body:
It is important for colon health. When we do not get enough from our diet, the body makes it from ascorbic acid.
5. Eating foods containing oxalates and calcium together may reduce the risk of stones according to some studies because oxalate binds with calcium in the intestine.
6. All the foods high in antioxidants are also high in oxalic acid.
7. Some of the healthiest foods on the planet are high in oxalic acid.
Even if you could avoid these foods you would not want to!
Plant foods with high concentrations of oxalic acid (over 200 ppm) include (but are not limited to): lamb’s-quarter, buckwheat, star fruit, black pepper, purslane, poppy seeds, rhubarb, tea, spinach, plantains, cocoa and chocolate, ginger, almonds, cashews, garden sorrel, mustard greens, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, soybeans, tomatillos, beets and beet greens, oats, pumpkin, cabbage, green beans, mango, eggplant, tomatoes, lentils, and parsnips. From the USDA
Note: Those with kidney disorders and kidney stones, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis may need to take care of the number of foods they consume with high amounts so oxalic acid it.
My Own Personal Opinion
- Before you start limiting greens and nuts and buckwheat and cabbage…… totally eliminate junk food… and fast food, and packaged food and micro-waved food and white sugar and white flour.
- Most people need to eat more greens, not less.
- I love my green smoothies for breakfast; they taste good and are filled with so much nutrition.
- One of the great things about greens are that they are alkaline forming and many of us are way too acidic. I recommend this in all my health coaching and Healthy Weekend Web BootCamps.
Below are a few superfoods HIGH in oxalic acid. Read their many benefits.
Beets: Aphrodisiac, Brain Booster, Pain Reliever & More
Dandelion Greens: I love to add this in the summer.
Spinach is the First Green Powerfood How could Popeye be wrong?
61 thoughts on “Oxalic Acid Controversy”
I have found your post very interesting and would like to continue to follow your future tips on kidney diets.
Wow! You scared me at first! lol I thought ” Oh man more things I thought were good for me and now there bad for me! ” ( Like agave) What am I going to eat!!! Ha ha. Thanks for the info(:
Another controversy with foods and nutrition. I eat buckwheat (organic) pancakes, have 2 starfruit (carambola) trees (juice 6 a day for approx 3 months every year), grow and eat chard, mustard greens, green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, and mango’s every day at least 6 months of the year. I am either extremely healthy or must have 30 kidney stones developing inside.
Annie, sorry for the scare. We just want to create more awareness and that means getting people to read the info. Hope you are not giving up all that healthy food unless you do really have a health concern related to them.
Yes Bob a controversy for sure. I eat all those foods too and am healthy! No I am not giving up my greens! Happy to hear you are not either.
I agree, im in the process of reading Wheat Belly and learned that when your body PH is acid it will leech calcium from your bones to balance the PH to more normal levels. However don’t think it’s the greens you eat! Cut out the wheat and sugars and junk food !
I often hear the warning that people with rheumatoid arthritis should avoid foods high in oxalic acid, but I’ve never heard the reason. Do you know?
Eliza, as I say above it is good to avoid foods high in oxalic acid for arthritis. I am not an science expert on this subject. Go to http://oxalicacidinfo.com for more info.
My opinion is that we need to eat foods that have oxalic acid in them because they are foods with lots of nutrition. It is important to have a balanced diet. But do check with your doctor.
Thank you for your response and suggested link. I’ve seen the same statement cautioning against oxalic acid for people with rheumatoid arthritis in many places, but I’ve never seen anyone cite a source. I found this on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalic_acid “The toxicity of oxalic acid is due to kidney failure, which arises because it causes precipitation of solid calcium oxalate, the main component of kidney stones. Oxalic acid can also cause joint pain due to the formation of similar precipitates in the joints.” Unfortunately no source cited.
Again on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalate “Those with kidney disorders, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or certain forms of chronic vulvar pain (vulvodynia) are typically advised to avoid foods high in oxalic acid.” Again no source cited. It’s interesting how the same warning is repeated so often without a reference for its basis. Maybe someday I’ll find the source! Thank you again.
Thanks for the beet information. I use a whole beet in my morning smoothie along with: a green granny smith apple, 3 cups of kale, 1 cup of spinach, 1 carrot, 1/2 cucumber and a stalk of celery. If I have bluenerries I add about 1/4 cup. Really greay tasting…sometimes the amount works into Two days of smoothies.
“Eating foods containing oxalates and calcium together may reduce the risk of stones according to some studies because oxalate binds with calcium in the intestine.”
That would mean that eating foods high in both calcium and oxalic acid – such as poppy seeds and walnut – would pose no real threat as calcium oxalate formed in the gut cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream (however, this would also mean that these foods are actually poor sources of dietary calcium as the body cannot utilise it). Food for thought.
Interesting thought, I believe you, I think you need to add more calcium to oxalic acid food and combine it with dairy products or coconut yogurt. Poppy seeds and walnuts could be then good source of magnesium if you are deficient in it. I always eat green leafy salads with dairy anyway for example with a goat cheese or blues cheese dressing. Food which is high in fibres needs to be eaten with enough fat and dairy is a good source of fat. People traditionally drink tea with milk and eat cereals with milk, they have always eaten their porridge (cereals+milk). It is a great combination not only because together they contain the complete set of amino acids for the synthesis of human protein, but I have always thought dairy was needed to bind the phytic acid in cereals and vegetables. Also, I believe the combination of milk with coffee and dark chocolate is the good choice.
This past May, I was in Rome & the hotel I stayed at had amazing breakfasts. Since I have problems with Milk & all Grains & I didn’t know what meals would be available later in the day, I’d fill up on those amazing breakfasts of among other things -KIWIS -1 or more daily for 11 days. When I returned home – I continued eating KIWIS daily because they reminded me of Rome & I’d also put powdered dried Spinach in my lunchtime broth -almost daily. Well…since returning I’ve felt like I’ve been beaten & kicked & I could hardly move. I couldn’t take Aspirin or Advil because it raises my Blood Pressure so nothing buffered the pain. I did drop the KIWIS from my diet by happenstance & because of hotter weather I didn’t have the Spinach Broth & only now weeks later I am starting to feel less arthritic. I would never-ever have thought of the KIWIS as the problem or even heard of Oxalic Acid. This info. is a life saver for me – it is a real public-service you have done here. ( I will continue eating these foods…but always cautiously & in moderation!! ) -Thx a million!!
thanks Karlie for sharing your experience. I hope you stay well!
This article is a breath of fresh air. I once read that a healthy person has to eat 11lbs of oxalic acid in order to get a negative effect. Is this true?
I just ate 2 small raw beets I harvested from my garden. The back of my throat is burning.
Never had this happen before.
As I have written already, I believe you need to eat oxalates food with dairy. In Russia they have a traditional vegetable soup called ‘borsc’ with red beetroot and sour cream. Red beetroot high in copper and a lot of people suffer from too much unbound copper/lack of zinc imbalance.
What is a source of calcium that could be added into beet juice to neutralize most of the oxalates? What amount of this calcium containing food would be needed per some defined weight of beet?
I, for example don`t juice and don`t drink smothies, I only eat the whole food with fibres and find it important to chew it properly, crush it properly and mix it with saliva containing enzymes. Calcium food is dairy and coconut, that is what I eat fibrous vegetables with, with some cheese or sour cream or as it is traditionally prepared in Asia or Caribbean – with coconut milk.
Don’t forget to mention that Oxalic Acid is also shown to cure cancer. Most cancer patients are low in Oxalic Acid. Oxalic Acid is a calcium ion channel blocker which blocks communications between cells. This block prevents cancer cells from communicating with good cells to infect them. Also new calcium ion channel 1 blockers are being developed based on Oxalic Acid that will block pain receptors at the source instead of transmitting the pain signal to the brain. Currently most pain medications are opiates based on either codeine or morphine which morph the pain signal once received by the brain. The new calcium ion channel 1 pain blocker will revolutionize the pain medication industry and purportedly has little to no side effects.
Did some research when I had a snapped collar bone at 46…concerned about calcium and healing, especially as a woman.
what I found was that Calcium can not be properly obsorbed(thus facilitate healing a broken bone) with out a hand shake from vitamin C….
This is known but not talked about…cereal commercial…part of a balanced breakfast…see bowl of milk and cereal AND a glass of orange juice…
I could never figure that out until now as who would want oj on top of milk and cereal…you sure wouldn’t be thirsty, eh?
Calcium is also used to bind metals to leave the body…wonder how many of those stones are wondering calcium being shed due to NO vitamin C with those suppliments???? read the lable of the cal/mag we buy…no C…
Some how I have to think that C added to that soup of Oxalic Acid and calcium makes it all work…
Also Dr. Walker, famed juice guru, said that the body can use Oxalic Acid if it is unheated…so this ‘wilting’ of our spinach would actually exacerbate the problem.
Your info is greatly appreciated. I have osteoporosis and have had several spinal compression fractures. I’m a 70 yr old woman. Should I be concerned about oxalic acid?
Thank you for an excellent intro on oxalic acid 🙂 I agree all this talk of anti-nutrients is overblown and even a bit silly when you start to know a bit more (seems people with an axe to grind like to look to this).
After my Lyme disease was cured in 2011 I noticed increasing tingling in my fingers and feet (progressing to almost painful tingling by 2015) and increasing anal burning. I’m on a gluten free diet (Celiac) and had been putting nuts and seeds in my cereal every day, eating lots of vegetables, beans, Quinoa, gluten free products (soy, gums), chocolate, kiwis, bananas, etc. I did some research on the tingling which led to the low oxalate diet. After a week on a low oxalate (and gluten free) diet the tingling was completely gone and the anal burning greatly decreased. Being gluten free, this put me on a hard cheese (cheddar) and rice pasta diet. The high cheese and pasta diet worries my doctor so I increased my oxalates a little (added legumes twice a week to decrease the cheese consumption) and immediately the anal burning has returned. I suspect that the antibiotic used on the Lyme disease killed off the natural population of oxalate eating bacteria. Regular probiotics do not contain this bacteria and it apparently doesn’t repopulate well. This oxalate stuff is real and there are lots of links to many disease and genetic disorders. It is worth researching.
Isn’t that oxalic acid with calcium form calcium oxalate which cause kidney stones?
There are more types of kidney stones not just calcium oxalate, the analysis of the removed stone is useful.
I am a 52 year old woman with one foot into menopause and am still having heavy bleeding periods. I am iron-deficient. I eat very very clean and am taking whole-food supplements as well as iron supplements daily. Almost everything “medical” you read on the internet says that oxalic acid keeps iron from being absorbed properly. So I try to take my iron first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then wait two hours before juicing all my green stuff. Am I doing the right thing or does it matter when I take my iron? Just wondering if it would take a huge amount of oxalic acid to keep my iron from being absorbed? Thanks!
Rhubarb leaves have other toxic substances in them! Please make sure no one thinks it’s ok to eat rhubarb leaves! They are not toxic only because of the high levels of oxalates, but because of anthraquinone glycosides.
Liz, I also was on a very strong antibiotic, I was taking Floragen 3 to try to keep good gut bacteria. Within a couple months after finishing antibiotics I began eating spinach smoothies, kiwi for breakfast, then I ran into trouble adding rhubarb to my diet. I ate about a cup or two daily for two weeks, then made a rhubarb torte with 4 cups rhubarb. After finishing that torte I began having swelling and stiffness in legs and needle stabbing pain that started in my knees and moved to ankles, feet, elbows wrists and hands. These symptoms have been going on for more than one week. Doctor ordered blood work and I will get my results tomorrow. I feel bad that my indulgence in rhubarb has probably brought this on. As I researched dangers of high oxalate foods I realized almost all of my diet were high oxalate foods. So as I am taking Floragen 3 again to try to rebuild my gut flora I noticed that Liz stated that most probiotics don’t contain the bacteria that keeps oxalates in check. If anyone knows what bacteria is and how to attain it I would love that information ASAP. I am still suffering from pin pricks, weakness and inflammation and am trying everything I can to restore my health. Thank you so much for talking about this health concern I have never heard of before.
After months of a steady diet of high oxalate foods (spinach, nuts, sweet potatoes, beets) I began to experience debilitating pain in my joints. x-rays revealed calcium oxalate crystals. I was unaware of the problems high oxalate foods can cause for some people. A low oxalate diet was the “cure” for me. Finding such relief gave me the desire to help others. A low oxalate diet can sometimes sound impossible to follow. I’ve written and published 2 cookbooks filled with healthy, low-oxalate, delicious recipes. Low Oxalate Fresh and Fast Cookbook and Real Food Real Results: Gluten-Free, Low-Oxalate, Nutrient-Rich Recipes.
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Hi, I made the mistake of tasting a small piece of raw taro root,Instant burning and swelling in my mouth and throat,fortunately I didn’t swallow it,After a few minutes I knew I was in serious trouble so my wife called the ambulance.It is now 3 days later and the inside of my mouth and tounge are seriously burned and ulcerating.
I am 65 and had some horrible experiences in my life but this would have to rate as one of the worst.
I was naive and just thought it would taste like raw potato.
I now know all about it but my main concern is that I think plant books etc should let people know of its toxicity in raw form.
I could have died from something so simple,Imagine what it would do to a small child.
The plant it came from is Colocasia esculenta sometimes called Elephants ear and is common in many gardens in Qld etc
I forgot to say that Taro root in its raw form is highly toxic in Oxalic acid
Just vary your veggies and get lots of them. If your only source of leafy greens is spinach, you’re really missing out on an array of vitamins, minerals, and flavors! As always, everything in moderation.
Any sources for any of your claims? Before telling people oxalates aren’t a problem and we should probably be consuming more, I think you should at least provide links and sources.
This is one of the most dangerous and irresponsible web postings I have ever seen. People who are on dialysis or have known kidney disease can DIE from eating star fruit, a food that is high in oxalic acid! There is NO cure for cancer! And yet you state that foods that are high in oxalic acid are somehow linked to a cure for this disease. Look, either research more, or leave this to qualified people. You are going to get someone killed.
….. Don’t worry about oxalic acid. You guys should be really worried about hydroxylic acid and hydrogen hydroxide. Fruits are full of them and I heard that they are really bad. 😛
Oxalates are only a problem for some people; most people will be able to eat high-oxalate containing foods, such as buckwheat and spinach, without any problems. I had no idea about oxalates until last year, when I had taken a long round of antibiotics to cure a urinary tract infection. I couldn’t figure out why I still felt like I had an infection when the tests all came back normal…then I did some research and found out about oxalates. The antibiotics I took killed off the good bacteria in my system that “ate” the oxalates in my food; this bacteria is called oxalobacter formigenes. It’s a bacteria that shows up in a child’s digestive system between birth and approximately 5 years old, and it’s very difficult to get it back once it’s been killed off by antibiotics. The reason that oxalates are irritating to the bladder is that they are crystalline, with sharp edges – taking calcium citrate with food helps bind the oxalates, rendering them a bit easier for the body to deal with! People who have a tendency to develop calcium oxalate stones are also advised to limit high oxalate foods, but no one has to eliminate them entirely. There’s quite a bit of information on the University of Chicago webpage for kidney stones: http://kidneystones.uchicago.edu/how-to-eat-a-low-oxalate-diet/
I read your article, very informative. There is only one thing that isn’t quite true. Rhubarb it only takes one pie to give you Oxalate acid posioning. Not 11 pounds. The leaves has the highest amount of toxin in them, however if the stalks have dry ,dead crumbly leaves on the stalks all that oxalate acid from the leaves transfers back into the stalks. A lot of people don’t know this. Cooking the stalks actually intensifies the acid. If you get Oxalate Acid poisioning, You can get Calcium Oxalate acid poisioning. Acid mixed with the calcium already in the body can grow sharp glass like crystals in the body and joints. I was one of the fortunate ones that survived this. However, not without permanent kidney and bowel and nerve damage. It was like a very bad chemical burns all on the inside. Soup and baby food for 2 1/2 years. Severe ulcers and 117 pound weight loss. I warn everyone, Eat Very little Rhubarb!
Oxalic acid content is a real problem. After six months on an antiinflammatory diet with a lot of vegetables high in oxalic acid I began experiencing severe joint pain. It took me several months and several trips to the dr to discover what it was. As soon as I stopped my daily green salla, the joint pains went away. Be careful and eat a variety of different vegetables and try to alernate between different types.
I am 56 years old and for about 10 years, I have been taking Verapamil (180 mg.) and Lisinopril (10 mg.) every day for my blood pressure. Around 4 years ago, I think, I read that beet root helps to lower blood pressure and started taking Nature’s Way Beet Root Supplement 500 mg. capsules, 3 capsules every morning, it has kept my blood pressure lower. Serving size is 2 capsules, the label says 2 capsules have 1 gram beet root. I first heard about oxalate content when I was having a lot of back and hip pain after eating certain foods (gluten mainly) and got food tested which showed severe reaction to gluten and shows no reaction to beet. On December 20, 2016 – I woke up with the feeling that there was something inside my right wrist, had no idea what this was. That feeling soon turned into constant inflammation and tenderness in the same area and in the next 2 weeks started getting pain in the base of my right thumb that felt like stabbing pains when I moved my wrist a certain way. The stabbing pains started to feel like someone was pinching me as hard as they could, the inflammation and tenderness has not gone away, it has been there every day, all day and night, March 20 will be 3 months. Turns out I have De Quervain’s Tendonitis. I have tried a lot of things with no relief: ice, heat, infrared light therapy, self-massage, accupuncture, castor oil packs, olive oil packs, sprays and ointments specifically for this, high dose bromelain, serrapeptase, homeopathic remedies and creams, chondroitin sulfate/glucosamine/msm, copper bracelets. For the last week or so I have been taking colostrum but the results from the food testing show I have casein sensitivity and have to stop taking it as it contains casein. I have been off gluten 6 weeks and did the 30 day Whole30 diet protocol which cleared up back pain, and painful numbness/tingling in both of my hands which made me wake up every 15 minutes. I do not want to do cortisone shot or surgery and have an appointment next week for physical therapy. I only eat a few other high oxalate foods but not every day. Could the De Quervain’s be from the years of ingesting the beet root supplement?
High oxalate levels can indicate your body is trying to remove a toxin. Endotoxins, glyphosate, excess amounts of minerals like copper. High oxilate levels in the body or high LDL levels are a symptom of an underlying health problem.
I know I have osteoporosis and have had several spinal compression fractures and until I read some of the comments here I assumed my recent severe stabbing pain was the result of bond deterioration in my shoulder blades.. Just wondering if high oxalics from foods I eat could be a problem. I eat sweet potatoes a lot, love them, and hummus on a regular basis. Also have beenn developing a painful left wrist.. Don’t have general arthritis. I’m a 72 yr old woman and am very strongly oriented toward healthy Real food. I nearly all organic. For awhile I was eating chard pretty regularly. Just trying to find some answers the docs don’t seem to recognize.
Please read this study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15826055 Cooking does reduce oxalic acid substantially.
I have interstitial cystitis, a bladder condition. There are many foods I cannot eat due to IC. Yesterday evening, I had a spinach salad. Today, mu bladder, lower back, and surprisingly, even my knees were really painful. These flare-ups from food sometimes last four or five days and are very painful. Yet, I can eat sweet potatoes, at least in moderation, and they have not caused me any pain, yet I have read they are high in oxalic acid also. Do you know anything about IC and if all oxalic acid foods have a chance of causing me a lot of pain. Thank you for your anticipated response.
I have Interstitital Cystitis and last evening I had a spinach salad. Today, I had very extreme pain in my bladder region, my lower back, (which is common with IC), but I also had pain in my knees, which is not common. Do you think it would be wise to first try a very small amount of any food with oxalic acid in it before I try a larger amount? I love and eat sweet potatoes and that does not seem to bother me but I do not eat a large serving of it.. Thank you for replying to me.
Unfortunately, the latest research is that oxalates cause breast cancer to proliferate but not necessarily other tissues in the body.
I have eaten alot of indian gooseberry powder..aka amalaki..it is extremely high in oxalates 7500 MG per 100g yes youbread that right..I am 60 and developed a 15mm stone which I had removed..I also ate buckwheat bread that I made and added Beet greens and swiss chard to my smoothies..made my own bone broth..started eating like this at 55 so it probably took me 5 years to grow that stone
Dear As per my experience people who are fat and high in toxins should avoid oxalic acid , the benefits of oxalic acid might be more pronounced for moderately healthy also a high dose is harmful in any case . What do you say
It is not by chance that sour cream is served with borscht (beet soup).
This is not written as a scientist would do it. I think the issue is much more complicated than you present. Clearly, nutrient dense foods like spinach are high in oxalates, but concurrent or supplementary calcium and/or vitamin C may mitigate its potentially deleterious effects. And it has other good things in it too. Cancer and Oxalates observations appear correlational, with no mechanistic explanation–or citations. Individual differences may also be involved both in the gut and concerning other aspects of diet and lifestyle.
The bottom line is that Oxalates can cause issues for some people. Since I have gout and love Spinach, I am going to figure out how to enjoy this vegetable–but perhaps eat more Kale (low in Oxalates).
What a conundrum!! For a number of years I have been under the assumption that Oxalates from raw foods are dangerous (as they prevent absorption of other nutrients) ever since ready “Nourishing Traditions” a number of years ago. That book also claims that they are reduced by cooking as well as by soaking things such as nuts/seeds/beans. Now I’m reading a book by Dr. Norman Walker and he says that oxalates are “not only beneficial but essential” when they are consumed in raw foods!! And he says they are very harmful when obtained from cooked foods!! Argh!! Who knows??!! And we’re all different. I have a lot of food sensitivities and it seems many of those foods “happen” to be high oxalate foods. Now I just need to determine if there’s some validity in eating only raw oxalates. But that only seems to be corroborated by some of the comments here and is actually contradicted by other comments (i.e. spinach salad making symptoms worse). Lord…..
Why is there so much confusion on the oxalate levels reported on different websites? For example many websites say that no oxalates are detected in cabbage and this website says cabbage has high levels.
all things in moderation as even the healthiest food can hurt ya if eaten in excess!! Too much water can kill ya!! GOOD in EXCESS becomes a vice!!
WHy does the body need oxalic acid as you mentioned on your article (any references???
Hi I have a question on oxalic acid like the one from a homeopathic I had use that for about 2 weeks I just start feel very bad and now I just can’t get back to normal just have joint pain muscle pain abdominal problems gallbladder stone kidney stone just wondering is there any help for
Does consumption of foods high in Oxalic Acid lead to high Uric Acid…. I have been taking moringa leaves powder soup every morning for last one year …. And I also have high uric acid for some months now…. Any co relation between these.
I enjoyed this article, but think you should update it with current findings and research studies. It’s now 6 years old, though still informative. There are so many contradictions out there on oxalic acid. Personally, I am going to moderate my intake. I love and eat a huge salad for lunch everyday. But now I worry I am over doing it with the dark leafy greens. Never thought you could lose with raw veggies. But alas.
If meat causes kidney stones, then how come Weston Price never found this across the many cultures he studied in the 1930’s? He found the healthiest people with the strongest immune systems and best development, were heavy animal product eaters. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration; https://healthwyze.org/archive/nutrition_and_physical_degeneration_doctor_weston_a_price.pdf
I appreciate you’re urging folks to eat leafy greens, but I urge you to re-examine the research regarding oxalic acid and preparation methods. Using the proper cooking method DOES reduce oxalic acid levels in leafy greens. This is especially important for those of us at risk for osteoporosis or for kidney stones. All the scientific articles I have seen thus far confirm this. Parboiling/blanching is best.
This article talks about eating dairy products to reduce the bioavailable oxalate level….b/c the calcium binds with the oxalic acid…making them BOTH NOT bio available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12810415/
Great article I am aware that this acid is poisonous as the chemist always asks me why I want it. It is a good bleach and it does not have an odour or discolour woods like household bleach does. I did not know it occured so much in our healthy foods. The levels are just right though to work with our immune system to kill pathogens I suspect which is why spinach is deemed such a tonic. I wonder if a healthy diet and loaded with greens and natural de-stressing therapies coupled with cbt would cure as an early intervention with cancer. Cancer research seems to gobble up money to kill people so I don’t think they are looking in the right direction somehow.