What Are Oxalates?

Oxalic acid is an organic compound found in many plants, like leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and cocoa. When this acid binds with minerals, it forms oxalate. Oxalate is found in many nutrient-rich foods that are widely considered to be healthy. When we eat oxalate, it can bind to minerals like calcium to form compounds. For the average healthy person, these compounds are eliminated in urine and stool. However, some people may benefit from a low-oxalate diet, especially those affected by kidney stones or with a higher risk of breast cancer. Mineral Absorption We eat vegetables for the nutrients and minerals they provide, but oxalate may be hindering us from absorbing those minerals. When oxalate binds with minerals in the gut, it can stop the body from absorbing the minerals. Who Is Most Affected by Oxalate? If you have any of the below issues, a low-oxalate diet may benefit you:

  • Kidney stones

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

  • Leaky gut syndrome

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Small intestinal bacteria overgrown (SIBO)

  • Diseases related to chronic inflammation

A recent study found that chronic exposure of breast epithelial cells to oxalate may promote the transformation of normal breast cells into tumor cells. The study also found that oxalate has a carcinogenic effect in mice, which generated malignant and undifferentiated tumors with characteristics of fibrosarcomas in the breast. It's important to prepare your vegetables properly so you can avoid high amounts of oxalates in your body. Soaking, fermenting, and cooking high oxalate vegetables has been shown to decrease the number of oxalates.

Your Partner in Health, Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy