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What are Oxalates?

I was first made aware of the oxalate issue by a GAPS coach, Emma Goodwin of Timeless Cookery, a few months ago, and on her recommendation, I bought and read the book, Toxic Superfoods, by Sally K Norton. It’s a well researched and enlightening book on the topic of oxalates and how they can lead to serious health issues if one regularly consumes foods high in oxalates.

So what are oxalates? If you already know, skip on to the next paragraph. Oxalates, or oxalic acid, are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. Plants are amazing things! They produce oxalates as a self defence mechanism to protect themselves from predators. I often wondered why my homegrown spinach and chard remained untouched by bugs and insects. Now I understand that this is because of the high amount of oxalates that these crops produce. Oxalates can bind to minerals like calcium in the kidneys and form calcium oxalate kidney stones. For some people, these compounds are usually removed in the urine, but over consumption of oxalate rich foods may cause cumulative effects potentially leading to kidney stones. Some experts even suggest that oxalic acid can get into your bloodstream or attack various parts of your body and cause a plethora of health issues.

It’s been suggested by a fair number of health experts that foods high in oxalates should be avoided. I’ve already mentioned that spinach and chard are high oxalate foods, but when you discover the long list of foods high in oxalates, it certainly makes for grim reading. Potatoes, beetroot, chocolate, many beans, nuts and berries, turmeric and ginger are some of the foods that make the worst offenders list.

So what do I think? Well, firstly, notice that almost all the foods in the worst offenders list are seasonal foods. In the days before supermarkets, our ancestors would have been seasonal eaters. In other words, they would have consumed these foods for only a limited time each year. Our bodies adapted to seasonal eating throughout the millennia. These days, the vast majority of people can buy these foods in supermarkets all year round which has no doubt definitely contributed to the oxalate problem.

I would also highlight the fact that magnesium binds to oxalates in the digestive tract, thereby inhibiting the formation of calcium oxalate in the urine. Therefore, supplementing with our Advanced Blend of Magnesium throughout the day can help remove these crystals/stones from your system.

As plant based diets have become more popular, it has been well documented that some people have suffered serious health issues because of an overload of oxalic acid. Kidney damage, intestinal damage, respiratory problems, mental health issues and mitochondria damage have all been linked to consuming too many foods high in oxalates. In order to recover from significant oxalate damage, it's necessary to move on to a low oxalate diet and I would recommend taking our Oxbusters supplement that's been specifically designed to remove them from your system.

After many years of researching diet and health, it has become very apparent that there are very few “perfect foods” out there. Let’s look at one of my favorite berries as an example: raspberries. Raspberries are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They protect us from cancer, diabetes, arthritis, obesity and many other health conditions. Am I going to give up eating raspberries for a few weeks in the summer because they are fairly high in oxalates? Of course not.

I believe this is really all down to common sense. Being aware, eating seasonally and supplementing with magnesium should be an adequate way of dealing with the oxalate issue for the majority of people.

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