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Unraveling the Oxalate Puzzle: Testing and Tackling Inflammation Naturally – Part 2

 

Have you ever questioned the widely embraced notion that a plant-based diet is the ultimate path to health and well-being? It’s no easy feat to challenge the status quo, but as someone who’s embarked on a journey of holistic health and self-discovery, I’ve come to appreciate the value of an open mind. Last week’s blog post delved into this very challenge, sparking a thoughtful discussion on how a plant based diet that’s high in oxalates can cause chronic inflammation in the body.

 

 

For most of my life, I championed the consumption of copious amounts of veggies, grains, and legumes, much like many of us do. However, I’ve learned that science is an ever-evolving entity, and new discoveries can reshape our understanding in profound ways. In our quest for knowledge, truth and progress, questioning our long-held beliefs is not just an option; it’s a necessity. It’s through this lens that we explore the dynamic world of nutrition, understanding that science is anything but static. Join me on this journey to reevaluate, rethink, and ultimately, redefine our approach to nourishing our bodies. 

 

Your questions are the compass that guides our journey. After the response to last week’s post on oxalates, I couldn’t ignore the curiosity and the genuine thirst for understanding. Your questions, such as, “How does one know if you have a high oxalate level? and “What to do if you do?” reveal a sincere interest in taking charge of your health. So, it’s only natural that we’re back with “Part Two.” We’re diving even deeper into the world of oxalates, exploring the intricacies of testing for high oxalate levels and what practical steps you can take if you find yourself on the high oxalate spectrum. It’s about empowerment through knowledge, so here we go. 

 

Understanding Oxalates: Quick Review of Those Sneaky Culprits

Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds found in many foods we consume daily. When oxalate levels in the body become too high, they can contribute to inflammation, kidney stones, hyperoxaluria and other health issues. So, the first step is to figure out if oxalates might be behind your inflammation.



Testing for Oxalates

If you suspect high oxalates might be causing your discomfort, there are a few tests you can consider:

  • Urine Test: A 24-hour urine test can measure oxalate levels. This test can provide valuable insights into your oxalate excretion. The normal amount of oxalate excretion through urine is less than 50 milligrams a day. A higher amount means there is a risk of developing kidney stones and may also connect to chronic inflammation (joint pain). Avoid vitamin C, spinach, beets, chocolate, peanuts or almonds 24 hours before an oxalate test. Vitamin C changes into oxalates. 
  • Salivary Test: Some labs offer salivary oxalate testing, which can also help in assessing your oxalate levels.
  • Blood Test: To measure the level of oxalates in the blood. 
  • Scans (X-rays, ultrasound, and/or CT) of the kidneys and urinary tract to check for kidney stones or calcium oxalate crystals.

Reducing Oxalate Intake

Now, let’s talk about how to reduce oxalates in your diet. This doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorite foods, but some moderation can go a long way. However, if your test results are on the high end, it will require you to consume a low oxalate diet to get your levels down. Here are a few examples of what you can do on your own to help

  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration can help prevent oxalate crystals from forming. Drink plenty of water daily.
  • Balanced Diet: Incorporate a well-rounded diet, but stick with low oxalate containing fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook Smart: Boiling or steaming high-oxalate foods can help reduce their oxalate content. If you do consume any beans or grains, make sure to soak them (NOTE: some legumes are much higher in oxalates than others. See the PDF download “Beginner’s Guide to Oxalates” at the end of the article.)
  • Supplements: Some supplements like calcium citrate can bind to oxalates in the gut and reduce their absorption. 



Prescription B-6 Pyridoxine

In some cases, healthcare professionals may recommend prescription doses of B-6 pyridoxine to help decrease oxalates in the body. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with a history of kidney stones related to high oxalates. B-6 pyridoxine works by converting oxalate into a water-soluble form, making it easier for the body to excrete through urination. 

 

Another strategy to manage oxalates is to combine them with calcium in the digestive system. Calcium can bind with oxalates in the gut, reducing their absorption into the bloodstream. When oxalates are bound to calcium, they are more likely to be excreted through the stool, rather than accumulating in the body.

 

Please note that the use of prescription B-6 pyridoxine and calcium supplements should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as individual needs and circumstances may vary.



Anti-Inflammatory Protocols

In conclusion, understanding the role of oxalates in your health can be a game-changer. Testing for high oxalates and making adjustments to your diet and lifestyle, including the use of B-6 pyridoxine and calcium supplements, can help you reduce inflammation and improve your overall well-being. It’s all about balance, moderation, and the journey to a healthier you.

 

To help you get started and know which foods are low in oxalates and which are high, download this beginner’s guide . The guide is based on the research and book Toxic Superfoods” by clinical nutritionist Sally K. Norton. 

 

The Power to Change is Hard, but Always Possible

For many, the idea of changing one’s diet can set off alarm bells because food is connected to one’s culture, belief system, comfort, customs and our childhood. However, if you reframe a dietary adjustment in terms of the benefits to your health and you are suffering from some form of inflammation, then the positives outweigh the negatives. Diet is also the easiest thing we have control over and what has a tremendous impact on our health and wellbeing. Most people don’t realize this, until they experience it.




References: 

  • Is It Time to Retire the Low-Oxalate Diet? No!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8575151/

  • Hyperoxaluria and Oxalosis 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperoxaluria/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352258

  • Hyperoxaluria

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21117-hyperoxaluria

  • Oxalate (Urine)

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=oxalate_urine

 

 

 


Tags

B6, blood test, calcium, chronic inflammation, inflammation, join pain, kidney stones, legumes, oxalate crystals, oxalate test, plant based, pyridoxine, saliva test, status quo, toxic superfoods, urine test, vegetables, x-ray


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