Oxalates Explained- Absorb More Minerals & Reduce Kidney Stone Risk

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Oxalates Explained- Absorb More Minerals & Reduce Kidney Stone Risk – Thomas DeLauer

Oxalic acid (or oxalate) is a compound found in plants that is considered an antinutrient as it can bind to minerals and hinder their absorption

Your liver can actually produce oxalate on its own in small amounts and vitamin C can also be converted into oxalate when it’s metabolized

The role of oxalates (in plants) is to provide protection for plants against predators – everything from harmful bacteria to insects, animals, and even humans

In high enough concentrations, they could make you sick; however, this is extremely unlikely with the most common condition associated with excessive oxalates in the diet is kidney stones

Oxalates & Kidney Stones

Oxalates bind to calcium during digestion in the stomach and intestines and leave the body in stool – that which is not bound to calcium travels as a waste product from the blood to the kidneys where it leaves the body in the urine

Additionally, if there is too much oxalate and too little liquid in the urine, calcium oxalate fragments create – as the crystals begin to increase in number, they stick to one another to form a larger crystal aka kidney stone


Your body also produces oxalates on its own, in the liver – no one knows just yet why this is, but one theory is that oxalates act as chelators

2 Main Factors

Increase Calcium Intake

Low amounts of calcium in your diet will increase your chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Many people are afraid to eat calcium because of the name “calcium oxalate stones.”

However, calcium binds oxalate in the intestines – a diet rich in calcium helps reduce the amount of oxalate being absorbed by your body, so stones are less likely to form

Increase Pro & Prebiotic Intake

Oxalate in humans can be eliminated through (1) excretion in urine, (2) forming insoluble calcium oxalate and elimination in feces, or (3) oxalate degradation by gastrointestinal (GIT) microorganisms

Some of the oxalate you eat can be broken down by bacteria in the gut, which happens before it can bind to minerals

Studies have found that people with a non-diverse gut bacteria seem to have an increased risk of developing kidney stones

The most commonly described intestinal bacteria known to degrade oxalate are strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus

These oxalate-degrading bacteria express the catabolic enzymes formyl-CoA transferase (Frc) and oxalyl-CoA decarboxylase (Oxc) that degrade oxalates

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20602988
3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525130/

Additional Resources


2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20602988
3) http://www.thevpfoundation.org/vpfoxalate.htm
4) https://aem.asm.org/content/76/16/5609
5) https://healthygut.com/articles/oxalates-and-gut-issues/
6) https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/antinutrients
7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525130/
8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18650406/

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