Health Dangers of Oxalates

Health Dangers of Oxalates

Health Dangers of Oxalates

Health Dangers of OxalatesIn our look at the Health Dangers of a Plant-Based Diet we turn to oxalates. These are especially troublesome to the “health conscious” who have large spinach and kale salads topped with almonds and sesame seeds. They think they are eating healthy. But they are flooding their body with oxalates. Here we’re going to look at the health dangers of oxalates.

Health Dangers of Oxalates: Seed Strategy

Plants use great strategy with their seeds.

Plants lace their seeds with natural pesticides to deter pests and predators. The sharp oxalate crystals can prick a predator’s mouth thereby playing a role in plant defense. [rr]

Plants also load their seeds with nutrition for the baby plant. They use oxalate as a way to store calcium for the baby offspring.

When seeds start to germinate they split off the oxalic acid which frees the calcium for the baby plant.

Health Dangers of Oxalates: “Spinach Prick”

Oxalate Accumulation

While oxalate is useful as a calcium storage mechanism for plants, it’s toxic to humans in acute and chronic amounts. If you eat too much oxalate you die. Simple as that. But often oxalate toxicity is more insidious. [r]

Similarly to how phytic acid is a mineral thief, oxalic acid is a magnet for minerals, especially calcium. Oxalic acid grabs calcium and forms calcium oxalate – the main ingredient in kidney stones. [r, r]

These oxalate crystals build up into bigger and bigger crystals. They bioaccumulate. As they accumulate the body deposits these sharp crystals throughout the body – in joints, muscles, and especially the kidneys. [r, r, r, r, r, r]

With oxalate crystals growing and stored throughout the body muscles start aching, eyes, ears, mouth, and throat can burn, and stones form in the kidneys.

“Spinach Prick”

Many people think spinach is a good source of calcium. But it’s a fraud. The calcium in spinach is completely useless. It’s all tied up in oxalate. And this is true for all high-oxalate foods.

In the lab we can measure the calcium content in spinach, but that doesn’t mean it’s available as a nutrient for the body. There is a big difference in the nutrition measured in food and the nutrition that the body can actually absorb and use.

This is where standard nutrition guidelines fail miserably.

If we eat 100% of our RDI (recommended daily intake) of calcium from spinach, but 100% of it is tied up in oxalate, we really got 0% of the RDI. Making matters worse, certain foods can increase the amount of a nutrients we need.

For example, If I were to eat a large bowl of spinach every day for lunch, I would increase my need for certain vitamins and minerals. Processing the high oxalate concentration in the spinach depletes vitamin B6 and likely requires an increased amount of biotin and thiamine in my diet.

Spinach Sabotage

Oxalate isn’t just an antinutrient that depletes calcium and iron, stealing essential vitamins and minerals. It’s also toxic.

Oxalate crystals cause renal damage; they are neurotoxic; they activate the immune system, upset the GI tract, deplete glutathione, and corrode connective tissue (via interference with hyaluronic acid).

Oxalates can impact nearly every bodily system. [rrrrrrr, r, r, r]

  • They can cause neurological symptoms which disturb sleep and adversely affect coordination, memory, learning, and concentration.
  • They cause pain via mast cell degranulation and histamine release.
  • Mysterious vulva pain, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome can all have oxalates causing or worsening the symptoms.
  • Increased calcium excretion and increased oxalic acid excretion ride hand-in-hand and are linked with osteoporosis.
  • Common practice for autism treatment is the elimination of oxalate-containing foods (as well as gluten, casein and soy).
  • Oxalates have even been implicit in breast cancer

Oxalate Absorption

Absorption of oxalate differs among people. For some, oxalate is largely broken down in the gut and eliminated without causing too many issues. In others, a large percentage of consumed oxalate is absorbed.

Someone with a compromised, “leaky gut,” can see increased absorption of oxalate.

Not only does “leaky gut” allow more oxalate to get in, oxalate can be implicit in exacerbating leaky gut. The needle shape of oxalate crystals can perforate mucus membrane cells damaging the gut and increasing “leakiness”. [r, r, r, r, r, r]

Health Dangers of Oxalates: High-Oxalate Foods

It’s not only spinach pricks that can hurt you.

Many of the cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower, and broccoli have high concentrations of oxalate.

Other culprits include chocolate, most nuts (especially cashews and almonds that are popular among the health conscious) and seeds like sesame and poppy seeds. [rr, r]

One of the worst offenders is soy. I remember when I was soy stupid – clueless that my soy protein shakes were loaded with oxalates.

Berries and beans. Potatoes and sweet potatoes. Okra. Swiss chard. Anything in the buckwheat family like sorrel. All high in oxalates.

Sorrel is actually worse than spinach and kale. And for some reason it is popular in fancy restaurants. There is this case report of a man who ordered sorrel soup for dinner. Two hours later he died in the hospital from acute oxalic acid poisoning. [r]

The man had poor metabolic health. He was obese and diabetic. And this poor metabolic health further impairs the handling of oxalate toxins. Yet, today we encourage obese diabetic patients to eat diets that are high in oxalates.

Health Dangers of Oxalates: Insidious Impact

Like other plant toxins, we don’t know (with any degree of accuracy) the frequency and degree of harm from oxalates thanks to a general lack of awareness. It often takes a bioaccumulation to the point of acute kidney injury until a healthcare practitioner even considers oxalate as a potential culprit. [r, r]

Sometimes patients with oxalate problems are asymptomatic until they find themselves trying to pass a kidney stone.

Sometimes mysterious lingering pain gets diagnosed as fibromyalgia or carpal tunnel syndrome without any knowledge as to why the pain is occuring.

Clearing the Crystals

Sometimes oxalate toxicity symptoms present when eating high-oxalate foods. But often they don’t. And sometimes symptoms don’t present until one stops eating oxalates.

For example, a flare up of pain may be from the release of stored oxalate that’s been consumed over a period of time.

The reason is that you have all these oxalate crystals accumulated in tissues, and now that you aren’t eating them, the body can process out the stores. The tissues start dissolving big crystals down into smaller crystals (and into their ion form) which are what cause much of the cellular damage and pain. But once back out into the bloodstream they can be excreted through the urinary tract. [r]

This process of breaking down and unloading the stored crystals for excretion can cause the same or worse symptoms than when they were originally eaten.

You’ve got to “re-eat” all that spinach.

Health Dangers of Oxalates: What (not) to do

Oxalate damage is from toxicity. It’s not a food sensitivity or allergen. So reversal of oxalate toxicity is a 2-step process:

  1. Stop eating it
  2. Excrete that which is stored up

Unfortunately, there isn’t a good way to determine how much oxalate damage you might have or how well you process them in general. Urine test are unreliable and a biopsy of tissue from the kidney is quite invasive. [r]

It’s also hard to correlate oxalate consumption with symptoms as mentioned (you may be asymptomatic with insidious accumulative damage that doesn’t present until a serious event like kidney failure, or symptoms may only arise after you stop eating them. etc).

The best thing you can do is limit the amount of oxalates you eat.

The major source of oxalates are from plant-based foods. But oxalate is also a byproduct of metabolism.

For example, excess Vitamin C can get converted to oxalate. Just another reason megadoses of Vitamin C might not be a good idea.

Cooking and Cleanses

There’s also a false notion that you can just cook the oxalate out of your vegetables. But this doesn’t work.

Oxalate and oxalic acid crystals are so durable that they are used by paleontologists to determine what people ate thousands of years ago. They aren’t destroyed by heat or cooking.

The one thing that can help is boiling them in water. The soluble parts of oxalic acid that aren’t crystalized yet can leach out into the cooking water. So if you boil your broccoli to mush you can reduce the oxalate concentration by maybe a third. [r]

There are a lot of misconceptions around “healthy” food, perhaps epitomized by the “green smoothie cleanse.” People want to do the right thing, but are often “stabbing” themselves in the foot (or more accurately the kidney).

But a green smoothie “cleanse” is more likely to lead you to needing an oxalate cleanse.

[NOTE: You can now access the complete “Health Dangers of a Plant-Based Diet” series here]:

Resources [r]: Many resources were used in the research and writing of this article. It’s often impossible for me to cite everything that has helped draw the conclusions presented. But I wanted to make a special note on the “Journal of Evolution and Health” Volume 2, Issue 3, 5/2018 and it’s references that were especially helpful. This is a great place to start if interested in learning more about oxalates.

142 Replies to “Health Dangers of Oxalates”

  1. You write ” Kale/ broccoli has a high concentration of oxalate” Yet, The Harvard School of Nutrition lists the following:
    “Broccoli. 1/2 cup 1 mg oxalate” and ” Kale( chooped) 1 cup 2 mg oxalate” These two foods are listed under catagor “Good Choices”. FDo you consider these concentrations of oxalate to be high?

    1. It really depends.

      How much do you eat? How often?
      How is your gut health? Immune health?

      Many factors influence ill effects of oxalates.

      A little every day can turn into a lot. And it can often be quite insidious.

  2. Hi Kevin,
    thank you for another great article. It would be gread if you added means to detox these stored oxalate crystals from our body tissues.
    Thank you!

        1. you want to reduce slowly or you can get something called oxalate dumping which can be really bad if your vulnerable

      1. Hello Kevin I recently stopped or limited all my oxalate consumption. Little by little I noticed joint pains in my elbows and the left side of my leg but little by little of the pain went away as the months went by. Now I cannot do a pull-up because my right lat is in pain. Could it also be from oxalate dumping? I spent years eating foods high in oxalates and I’m afraid now I’m paying the price. I appreciate this shining light on the problem.

        1. It is possible. It could also be from many many other possibilities. So impossible to say for sure with such little information about you and your history.

          1. Hi Kevin
            I am on Day 2 of a Low Oxalate Diet, which I am trying for my muscle aches and I have to say that the aches are WORSE now than before this diet.
            I ate a l-o-t of oxalate before. But These last 2 days hardly any at all.
            Reading about oxalate dumping, can this be a factor?
            So, would it be an idea to start again and reduce slowly?
            Thank you

          2. It can be numerous things, one of which is oxalate dumping, and yep that’s something you can try for sure to ease the pain

      2. I heard lots of lemon water and take mineral supplements to bind the stored oxalates more quickly to allow them to leave the body.

      3. Happy to hear this. I just recently stopped eating high oxalate foods after I noticed some symptoms/funny feel/sometimes pain in my joints. But appears I am now sensitized/allergic – I am hoping if this would also go away…

  3. After switching from spinach because it burnt my skin as if someone was putting a cigarette out on my wrist and a vein in particular, I switched to kale and which gave me foul smelling wee and the symptoms of a urinary tract infection and have now cut both out. At 52 I have sprained my ankle this year, had an infection from a knock on the shin and have shoulder issues and feel either these joint or bone issues are related to oxolates. I eliminated these foods not understanding what the cause/toxicity was but knew there was some compound that was the cause which i ate 3-5 times per week and put with many meals including home made curries.

  4. So what happens when your body dumps them? I’ve just gone through a dump I suspect taking a supplement that encourages that (l-ornithine?) and have been experiencing lots of bladder and female pain. Do the crystals just embed themselves and stay there? Will they ever dislodge and leave? What can I do to make the pain go away?

    1. The body can start dissolving/eliminating them when you stop eating them.

      As far as pain management – you can take an analgesic, but personally I try to avoid these.

          1. Thanks to you just started a carnivore diet – have a big problem with oxalates – have had a kidney stone in the past and carpal tunnel. I used to consume HUGE amounts of leafy greens.

          2. What if you have the APOe4 gene which is supposed to be low fat. Do you know about this gene. I heard crab shrimp muscles squid. However my husband is type O which I believe meat is a good idea. Now it’s low histamine Foods. Any ideas would be grateful. Thanks

          3. But is cholesterol not a problem of a meat diet?

            I think all in all moderation, a balanced diet, and God’s blessing of the food 😉 , are key.

        1. Bok choy is a low oxalate green veg. I don’t agree with Kevin on eliminating all vegetables. There are low oxalate ones that are safe.

    2. Lola, I have the same issues – I.C and vulvodynia, they are nasty! I am on week 5 of carnivore, but I have kept butter in, as of today I am removing butter as I think It is one last trigger. I hope that we get relief soon!

      1. I have IC and I cut out oxalates. Within a few weeks I felt an incredible relief of my symptoms. Now four months into a low as possible oxalate diet (I only eat some low-oxalate veggies and/or fruits on occasion) the pain, urgency, bladder tenderness, mysterious kidney pain, etc. has almost disappeared. For the most part I can live a normal life. Every so often I may get a *small* flair, but it doesn’t stop me from doing the things I want to do.

        I’ve gone mostly (under cooked) carnivore with just a wee bit of veg every now and again.

        I have also incorporated pelvic stretches. It has helped immensely, too. I send you healing wishes on your health journey!

        1. Amber how encouraging, I am so happy for you, what a blessing! Could you please give a food journal to us say for an average day? I would so appreciate it. I have removed pork and have noticed a biig difference in my digestion! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    1. Lisa, sadly cutting everything out (other than meat, water and salt) did not change my I.C. so I am still mostly carnivore-with a little mayo and butter in my Roiboos tea. Still searching…

      1. I have IC too. If you can learn to “muscle test” it will help you figure out which foods to stop eating. Mayo has vinegar in it, which flares me. Rooibos tea was wonderful at first, then I couldn’t drink it anymore. It’s plant based too. I was taking a high dose of cbd oil and learned it has oxalates in it. But muscle testing has saved me so much money on supplements, and it lets me know when my body needs which supplements.

        1. Yeah, vinegar triggers funny feelings in what I consider to be my oxalate deposit spots. Btw vinegar is also known to erode bones, so this may be why.

  5. What do you think about calcium citrate supplementation to help rid the oxalate? I don’t like to supplement calcium because of the risk of it being absorbed in soft and cardiac tissue, but I’m willing to do it temporarily if it might help. I’ve been suspecting oxalate is a big cause of my degeneration over the last 5 years. I live a very healthy lifestyle but have practically been crippled with degenerative discs, causing me to have 2 surgeries, and 2 rotator cuff tears resulting in surgeries. My joints and muscles are always in pain. Better when I eat Keto, but not that much. Thinking about giving carnivore a try. I ate lots of spinach over the past decade, I mean LOTS! I may even need the calcium if I’ve just been chelating it out of me with all the oxalate over the years. Maybe it would actually help with repair if I only used it temporarily. Thoughts? Thanks!

    1. I don’t think it’s necessary and like you mentioned, may do more harm than good.

      I’d definitely lay off that spinach though.

    2. My dietician recommended calcium supplements. My last urinalysis was clear of oxalate cyrstals. Took calcium for a couple of months.

    3. You should take vit K2 which tells your body where to put calcium. This is a missing nutrient in our diet. It is in grassfed meats, pasture eggs… basically when an animal eats how they were meant to they produce vit K2 so we are all deficient since we all prob consumed animal products where the animal was not raised in their natural environment.

      1. I just wrote about this in the “Health Dangers of Sun Avoidance” article – trying to supplement your way out of an unnatural lifestyle can come with real issues.

      2. pity smh but try incorporating green vegetables into your diet, thats like the grass that the animals would have eaten

    4. Shawn, it is interesting that you should mention Calcium Citrate: the VP Foundation, which was created over 25 years ago for women in vulvar pain, proposed combining a low-oxalate diet with Calcium Citrate to help bind the oxalates. This protocol, researched and instituted by Dr. Clive Solomons, has helped thousands of women live pain-free. During the first few weeks of the diet, there is absolutely a dumping effect, well described by Kevin Stock. The VP Foundation published two cookbooks with the exact oxalate content (as exact as possible I should say) of many many foods. Drop them a note, and buy their cookbooks: there is a lot more to eat than meat, as you shall see. And you are right to say Calcium Citrate and not Calcium, because they are not the same.

    5. Same here: ate lots of spinach, like 3 bags per week every other week for a couple of years, cos it was tagged superfood. I think this is what sensitized me to oxalate.

  6. I have always been susceptible to kidney stones. In addition, the last 2 years I have suffered horribly with IBS including fecal incontinence. I had a long flight scheduled and fasted in preparation to avoid any accidents. You guessed it – became very dehydrated and developed kidney stones. Seeking relief from the pain/hoping to prevent future stones, I researched and stumbled across the Harvard oxalate content in foods spreadsheet and eliminated all high and even moderate oxalate foods. Surprisingly, in LESS THAN A WEEK my IBS symptoms disappeared. (took a while to pass the kidney stones but no pain or symptoms there after about 2 weeks). Vulva pain, which I was told was “normal for your age” has also disappeared, a salivary gland that was always swollen shrunk to normal (turns out oxalates can cause salivary stones as well) and I was able to discontinue my ADD medicine. Losing weight as well! I “slipped” over Thanksgiving and became very ill very fast. Wheat is the worst for me as are potatoes. Whenever I am tempted to “cheat” I think of the pain of passing those stones. If that doesn’t work I remember two words: “fecal incontinence.” Thank you so much for your blog and advice! I feel so bad for all the folks needlessly suffering from kidney stones, IBS and other issues when simple dietary changes could change their life! (Link to spreadsheet listing oxalate content in dozens of foods –

    1. Thanks.

      As someone else had also mentioned, not sure why the different lists differ in their categorization of the foods. I wish we can standardize the information.

  7. You can add Arthritis and Autism to the list of disorders as the oxalates bind to cobalt, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and calcium. Try a topical ointment of coconut oil infused with ginger oil to help decrease the pains associated with detox from oxalates.

  8. Hello Kevin, I’ve read that too much protein can also worsen oxalate problems. Can you supply a more comprehensive list of what and what not to eat please?

    1. I think research evidence points to increased protein not worsening oxalate problems as the catabolism of diet-derived amino acids is not associated with an increase in endogenous oxalate synthesis.

      1. Kevin Great Plains Lab has an OAT (organic acids test) which is a urine test that shows oxalate levels along with 74 other markers of potential health issues. I did this test for me and my son and our oxalates are in the red zone so we need to slowly remove. Your article is amazing. Thank you for writing it.

        1. Hi Shannon, tell me more about the OAT test. I have had kidney stones 3 times now and do NOT want to ever go through this again. I was reading the research done by Harvard and the University of Chicago and they mention a 24 hour urine test. If the calcium in the urine is greater than 200 (I think), then you need to do something about it. Will have to find that url again Does the OAT test need to be prescribed by a doctor? I try to keep oxalates down but sometimes have chocolate and almonds (not anymore!). Milk with its calcium would help to bind the oxalates but milk has a lot of sodium. Been trying to find milk with lower sodium, but that so far has been impossible.

  9. So I am confused because a new Canada Food Guide came out this year, and they recommend following a plant-based diet as there are numerous benefits to following such a diet (reduced cardiovascular health problems, reduced risk of diabetes etc. plus a diet high in red meat is associated with colorectal cancer). Is Health Canada wrong? What diet should I follow? High in meat, dairy, sugar, fat? Maybe you could also provide a new, more up-to-date food pyramid and include meat as the major source, and take vegetables out altogether?

    1. The confusion is completely understandable. All the “experts” agreed the food pyramid of 1992 was optimal – see where that got us…I recommend a meat-based diet, with very low/no sugar, grains, and vegetable oils. If interested I have much more detail in the guides at

    2. HC is just regurgitating what is being pushed by the MSM and poor nutritional “science”. The new Food Guide has been picked apart by those in the know. The guide is based on biased and incomplete information. They completely ignored a group of physicians who met with HC to present the best evidence on saturated fat. HC ignored that information. The person who led the revision is a vegan. As to why this occurred, I won’t get into conspiracy theories but that’s what we’re left with. I believe the government needs to stay out of making any nutritional recommendations.

  10. Kevin, thank you for this article. My husband had 3 OATS tests – last one in 2016. The doctor just noticed last year that all 3 showed high oxalates. His cognitive function has gotten worse and has trouble speaking the correct words most of the time. One time he urinated a few months ago and I noticed crystals in the urine with red (I guess it was blood) attached to them. I didn’t know what it was and then I thought could that be oxalates. We unfortunately have been eating sweet potatoes everyday sometimes twice a day. He has been given high doses of Vit. C at times. A naturopath then gave him something called Oxalate Scavenger by Methyl Genetic Nutrition. We’re not with that Dr. any longer, but I’m thinking my husband should be taking this. Also, the current practitioner recommended celery juice (16oz./day). This is a whole stalk and sometimes more. Should this be stopped? Thank you again for posting this article. Great information.

    1. Thanks for reading Pat and sorry to hear about your husband’s struggles. Of course, I can’t give medical advice here, but I would recommend working with your doctor and perhaps sending him some of the information here.

    2. Oxalate Scavenger hits all the right notes. It even has Vitamin B6. That alone does the trick for many people.

  11. Hi Kevin
    We make a cucumber soup and eat it daily.
    I make it from 80%cucumber some kale or spinach and green herbs such as coriander.
    Is it only the spinach kale containing cucumber.


    1. Most lists have cucumber as low oxalate.

      Most lists have kale and spinach as high oxalate (spinach has one of the highest oxalate content of all foods). Some lists have kale as ok for a low oxalate diet.

  12. Hi Kevin – Thanks for responding. I thought I saw where you sent an email stating to ask questions on a Facebook page. If so, what’s the Facebook page called?

  13. What’s your thoughts on when eating a oxalate food, to combine a calcium source, maybe dairy, to have the oxalate bind to the calcium for it to be excreted through stool?
    Another,…isn’t meat harder on the kidneys, causing uric acic stones? Or is that just from proteins in foods?

    1. Yes that can help, though I find just not eating high oxalate foods to be a better solution.

      And no, that is a myth that has somehow perpetuated far longer and further than it should have (I’ll be writing on it soon)

    2. I repeatedly tried that i.e combining high oxalate food with dairy/calcimu source but my body still reacted to the oxalate i.e. didnt work.

  14. Wow at last some answers to my nightmare. Hi thanks so much Kevin! I will follow your recomm ndation and stop eating oxalates of immediately after a horrendous bout if toxic overload this week. My main discomfort at the moment is the stinging eyes. My mother ended up with Macular Degenration which I have read is caused by acid build up. However the best protection many say is plenty of LEAFY GREENS! How can thy get to things sooooo wrong? I have tried putting chamomile tea bags and slices of cucumber on my eyes but the stinging continues. Any suggestions? And, are here any vegetables/fruits you recommend to supplement type meat based diet?

    1. I really can’t comment on the stinging eyes (besides working with a doctor) – sorry for not being more help!

      I do not supplement with any fruits or vegetables – meat provides complete nutrition 🙂

  15. So, in your opinion, by stopping oxalate intake, could I possibly diminish the size of the calcium oxalate kidney stones in both my kidneys over a period of time? I have a 12 mm in the left that my urologist has tried to retrieve thru uteroscopy and tried to blast thru lithotripsy, but has been unsuccessful thus far. If it diminished in size, maybe I could pass it without surgery. How long would it take to diminish in size?

    1. Stopping oxalates would only help keep it from getting larger. Search for ‘dissolve kidney stones’. Apple cider vinegar pills and/or potassium citrate are you best bets before prescription drugs. Some types of stones can’t be dissolved.

  16. So with spinach and potatoes containing large amounts of potassium and 4700mg a day being recommended (especially for someone with high bp) how in the world would you go about getting that much potassium?

  17. To all who are waiting for relief after stopping high oxylate foods, it took 11 weeks for the dumping effect to disappear for me. I had UTIs for years, which disappeared after quitting oxylates. Burning soles of the feet are also a symptom.

    1. Weird I have had burning feet for sometime now. I started the carnivore diet 10 days ago. Did you see improvements along the way? Or just after 11 weeks totally better?

      1. I can’t say for a total carnivore diet as I have never done that. With low oxylate diet, symptoms were intermittent but decreasing. I still get burning soles of feet a couple of hours after eating some foods, especially bananas, oats or whole grain wheat.

  18. Kevin, I take Chaga tea regularly, and it is high in oxalates, do they leach out to the tea in a harmful amount since I leave the grounds with any crystal behind pouring through a super-fine sieve?

    1. They definitely can leach out.

      To a harmful amount? That depends on a lot of things, but if you have problems with oxalate overload, then might be a good idea to go without.

      1. Do you know if the oxalates in the water will stay suspended in the water or settle to the bottom of the cooking pot so the liquid could be carefully poured off without them?

        1. So yes, boiling can significantly reduce soluble oxalate content (somewhere between 30-87%) but as you mention they will be in the water so it is best to dispose of it. And in the absence of a distillation and filtering process, I’d assume they are in the water (some suspended, some settled).

  19. Also, do oxalates dissolve in pure ethyl alcohol? I make a Chaga extract with it to help fight my daughters high blood sugar

  20. Do oxylates cause calcification of tendons and ligaments? I recently tore my rotator cuff muscle in my shoulder – diagnosed as calcific tendonitis and also have a partially calcified ligament in my jaw. I eat a lot of vegetables and much too much dark chocolate
    Do you think there is s connection and can the calcification be reversed?

    1. Oxalate causes something (I think calcium compound) to deposit on joints. Dark chocolate used to cause my spinal cord to ache so much I could hardly turn my neck and/or back.

  21. Hi Kevin. Awesome article Thankyou, I am 14 days into a carnivore diet I started to treat autoimmune (ulcerative colitis and alopecia) and now I am having a terrible flare up of joint pain in my hands and feet, something I would get often when feeling inflamed. Do you suppose my body is dumping oxalates? I did used to be a vegan..for a year until I got so incredibly sick, I hoofed down the spinach and green smoothies!
    Or could this pain and discomfort be more of an adaption period.
    Thankyou for your time and your work.

    1. I would just be guessing, could be either.

      But either way, it sometimes comes down to weather the storm – wish I could be more helpful!

      1. Hi Kevin. Would you please delete my comment, it comes up in google search when my name is entered and I would just so prefer to keep my health private. Thankyou

  22. I did a little searching after reading this. I am hoping my sinuses and my chronically tight forearm,bicep and shoulder improve.

  23. The supplement Kidney COP (amazon) works wonders. It technically helps with kidney stone sufferers but has worked wonders for my oxalate issues. I have pain in different places and my tongue tingles – SUPER annoying. The kidney cop helps bind the crystals to calcium for excretion. I’d also reccomend to heal your GI tract with a supplement. I bought one off Dr. Gundry’s website and a probiotic. Meat and cheese will help in the mean time but you need the healthy foods long term.

  24. Kevin, do you have any concern about stored oxalate leaving the body harming kidneys on its way out? I was watching a Sally K Norton interview on youtube and she made a few comments that got me thinking.

    1. In severe cases (and people with pre-existing kidney disease) it could potentially be a problem, I think for most people with healthy kidneys, it’s not a big issue.

  25. Hi Kevin,

    Can Oxalates leave the body through exiting your skin? I have these “little crystals ” it seems to be coming out of my skin. They are very small and they feel like a pebble of sand but they look like crystals. They are very painful when coming out and I also get extremely itchy and all this usually happens at night. Can you please give me any incite or information about this? No one seems to know what im talking about not even doctors.

    1. Hi. I’m wondering if you got any feedback about the crystals coming out of your skin. I know exactly what your talking about and get them myself. Also super puzzled about what this may be.

  26. Hi Kevin !
    Thanks for the info. Can you tell me if you’ve found a link between high oxalates and vertigo? Have a great day ?

    1. There is a gene mutation (Slc26a4) associated with oxalate stone formation in the inner ear which could result in hearing loss and vestibular dysfunction.

      1. What does this actually mean, would that be ringing in the ear. Another question. can to much oxalates cause gout.

  27. Hi Kevin
    Thanks for your article on oxalates..recently been on a banting way of eating (google banting or professor tim noakes). Very big jn south africa. I found my legs and ankles were swelling up. I have fat legs anyway (genetic). I decided to stop the banting and just eat whatever. Its boiling hot now in israel but no swelling. Is this just a coincidence.
    Banting is low carbs (<25g pd) medium protein high fat.
    I have gone off fats now as i introduced carbs. Put on a bit of weight now too. But at least my legs toes and ankles are not swelling up.
    Any ideas?

    1. Hi Tanya, I’m not entirely sure what you are asking…if it is “can modern/western/american diet cause issues” well then I would answer “yes” to that.

  28. Any idea how long it may take for the body to completely “dump” the oxalates? Is there any way to speed up the process? I am trying a 30 day carnivore diet-however I don’t know about giving up coffee completely! Also, do you recommend magnesium supplements?

    1. Hi Amy, unfortunately this is very different for everyone (depending on many factors like extent of oxalate buildup).
      If you read the 30 day guide to going full carnivore ( than you’ll see how I recommend handling coffee.
      Magnesium can help people during the transition (supplement guide is also in the 30 day guide). All the best! 🙂

  29. So, if we take a calcium citrate supplement or 2 oz raw cheese whenever we eat a portion of high oxalate vegetables, it would not only bind to the oxalates but allow us to absorb the calcium iron and zinc from the vegetable itself?

  30. I passed two kidney stones in the past two years, it’s been a year since I passed the second one and still have ocassionall blood in the urine about every two month or so…all my kidney test and blood work are in the normal range no indication of kidney disease and no sighs of new stones I’ve been eating carnivorish and low oxalates.. could the ocassionall blood be crystals leaving the body?

    1. I would talk with a nephrologist or urologist if you’ve been eating low oxalate for over a year and still having issues.

  31. Hi Kevin,
    You recently said you were writing about gout among other things. Any idea when you are going to release that research?
    I recently just started getting high uric acid on my blood tests. Started eating mostly red meat in January 2019. All I read is stop eating red meat. I don’t want to stop as I have never felt better eating meat.

    1. Hi Mike – yes it will be sent out in the next few weeks – if you want the cliff notes on the gout section: it’s not the meat / protein.
      Fructose / alcohol are 2 of the biggest culprits. There’s a lot more to it, but feel bad keeping you waiting!

  32. Thank you so much for this. I only recently put two and two together. I’ve been sick for 20 years but a couple years ago I took and antibiotic and started getting all over joint pain and organ issues I never had. Keeping track of what I reacted to I eventually ended up living on ground chicken and eggs. My body seemed to be in agony from nearly everything else. I’ve now determined after trying to add foods back in that I’m reacting to oxalates AND purines resulting in a very small list of foods that don’t cause utter agony. And the lists are all over the place. One list will say broccoli is ok then another says it’s high. Ultimately I just want to be able to get the nutrients my body needs and I don’t know how with my body reacting to everything. Add in autoimmune and MTHFR. Oh wasn’t it lovely when we could just eat food and not be poisoned by everything? Those were the days.

    1. You sound like me, Bonnie. My body now seems to have an allergic reaction to oxalates, but I count this as lucky cos this is what made me come around to the reality of oxalates. I also now live on ground chicken and eggs, but able to eat a number of other foods too:

      ground meat, chicken, turkey, beef, fish, salmon, tilapia, stockfish, crayfish, seafood, egg, cow/goat milk, cheese, yogurt, white chocolate, lettuce, cabbage^, bok choy, rapini, bitterleaf, green peas, corn*, bell pepper, onions*, garlic*, ginger*

      ^ a little as affects thyroid

      1. …watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, yellow melon, papaya, banana, peeled apple~, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, white potatoes, white rice, white bread, rye bread, rye flour, egg noodles, corn tortillas, water chestnuts, coconut, coconut milk blackeyed beans, moong, honey, humus*, butter, olive oil, palm oil, sesame oil, pineapple juice, some teas, some spices

        * a little due to medium or high oxalate content
        ~ some varieties

    2. Amen Bonnie! It seems to me that food became my enemy after going through menopause. That’s when a range of symptoms showed up. Of course, that is also about the time I started juicing spinach, beets, carrots, and parsley. I think it was the perfect storm. You would think I would have developed kidney stones, but I didn’t (confirmed by an ultrasound). I think what prevented the stones was my daily mug of hot lemon water. But apparently it didn’t prevent the oxalates from building up in the rest of my body. I am five weeks into the low oxalate diet and still dumping like crazy.

  33. Hi Kevin, thanks for the informative article. Could it be that oxalates are linked with heavy tartar buildup behind lower front teeth? I’ve been consuming nuts 25% of my diet plus peanut butter and vegetables and I always notice a heavy tartar buildup into my teeth despite of good oral care routine.

    1. Possible, but likely has more to do with mineral content and saliva flow (which can both be impacted by diet).

    2. I get what seems to be calcium deposits on my teeth as soon as I eat high oxalate foods, so much so that I now try to use this as a test for if a food has high oxalate, if this information is not available.

  34. Hi! This is all very interesting…I only just recently read about oxalates when I saw an article on foods that can be toxic if eaten too much and I thought I’d poke around to find out more about them, saw your info and now I’m left wondering how you get the vitamins and minerals that come from vegetables if, as it seems from this, you don’t eat anything but meat? Sorry if that’s a very simple question, but I’m curious about what it means to completely cut veggies (and fruit?) out of your diet. I’m not sure I could ever do that, ha… Thanks!

    1. Hi Kevin,

      I was wondering if, as mentioned, oxalates cause histamine reactions as have a very itchy scalp…been this way for months.

      I’ve been on a mostly carnivore based diet now for 3.5 weeks…but, was eating raspberries and avodado daily before that for about 2 years! If they are the cause, wondering…now that I’ve stopped with high (unconscious) consumption of oxalates, will the itching get worse before better? Does hair fall relate to the same thing…and lastly, are sebaceous cysts also a result of oxalates?

      Thanks so much.

      1. Hi Sandra!
        I, too, have itchy scalp and thinning hair, along with other symptoms mentioned in preceding comments. So I’m thinking that’s not a coincidence. I’ve looked at lists of high oxalate foods, and as other people have stated, seems it changes from one website to another. One cup of raspberries has 48 mg of oxalates, one avocado 19, which seems low when compared to one cup of cooked spinach, 1510mg or raw 656. While it seems raspberries are low in oxalates, I did see them on a list of high oxalate foods. In fact all berries, except strawberries were on that list.
        I have had chronic hives for a few years now, which seems to have gotten better since eliminating some of the higher oxalate foods, such as spinach, okra, all potatoes, almonds (highest), and any nuts, except pistachios (lowest, and ok on Keto). I still eat avocados regularly (lower on the list), because I’ve been eating mostly keto for the past year, and while I’ve seen great improvement in many of my health concerns, the oxalate symptoms, though better, still persist. I’ve been considering going carnivorous, but haven’t yet committed, as I have difficulty letting go of everything all at once.
        During a conversation with my Sister a couple of days ago, she exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! What’s left for you to eat?!”
        I guess the answer is meat. 🤷🏻‍♀️

        God bless you in your endeavor to get healthy!

        1. Some lists, eg the Harvard list posted here, have strawberries and avocados in high/very high oxalate category too. I understand that categorization can be affected by the specie/cultivar. But I had a big reaction (my typical oxalate reaction) to some avocado. Mind you, avocado is also high in salicylates, which is another toxic. I am yet to research effects of salicylates, and assess my reaction, if any, to it.

  35. Hi Kevin.
    Thx for your article n replys. I have severe oxalate poisioning that has been the cause of my fibromyalgia n many other conditions.
    I was on a strict red meat n salt diet for 3-4 months…n then moved back into additional options due to extreme fatigue and no huge improvents. I used store beef. My question is if severely oxalte overloaded…would eating grain fed meat be loaded with oxalates too…adding to the overload?
    I will try again with grassfed beef.

  36. Thanks for all the info you provide! From Aug 2018 to October 2019 I ate a keto diet, then carnivore (mostly beef and water) since then. Strangely, within the last 2 months or so, I have begun to notice tartar on my teeth, something i have never had before. Hygenist always remark about my clean teeth. Do you have any thoughts? Oxalate dumping?

    1. Hi Debra, it’s actually not uncommon early on. Even coming from keto there is a fluid and mineral rebalancing, which can cause some dry mouth and extra mineralization. This tends to re-normalize and many people experience the best oral health of their lives.

    2. Hi Debra, I also get deposits on my teeth as soon as I eat high oxalate foods. Not sure why this happens. In the last month, I happened to change my toothpaste to tartar protection and noticed this helps reduce the deposits, if for some reason I happen to eat foods high in oxalate . So I find your post interesting.

  37. Hi I’ve been on a low oxalate diet since last august. Have had several hellish dumping episodes, the first one being the worst.
    For several years I’ve had an increasing skin rash around my mouth that no doctor has been able to diagnose. 2 days ago while cleansing I noticed shard like crystals on the cotton pad, lots of them, a couple of ml at most. They look sharp and reflective. They are not the contents of sports. Could this be oxalates leaving. My face the past few days is so itchy and sore I want to peel it off.

  38. As far as concentrations in various foods, every site gives varied and often contradicting information. Some say one food is is High, the other will say Low. I consume a few plant foods in small quantities (really just butternut squash, coconut, blueberries, arugula, asparagus, coffee, and romaine, and 2-3x a month a cauliflower mash). I like to have some for flavor and variety and am not overly worried about the levels of oxalates or other compounds from the amount of the select plants I eat. I do wish there could be a very comprehensive and reliable list of mg amounts per a specified serving for those of us who will still some plant foods here and there.

    I had been eating toxic levels of oxalates in “healthy” Paleo and Keto foods for years. I cut the worst offenders out, and suffered from severe nausea. I can’t think of any other thing that would have caused that for than long and I had never experienced anything like that before. Not food poisoning, not COVID. But I did not seek medical tests and have no actual medical proof or opinion of any MD. Regardless, With the above mentioned small amount of plant food and all meats, I have dropped over 10 pounds since dumping most nuts, raspberries, sweet potato, and other Paleo popular seeds and veggies.

    Although still low carb, low oxalate was better for my health and metabolism that just being low carb and eating oxalate rich plant foods.

    1. I agree on need for a reliable compilation of oxalate content of a large list of foods. I hope orgs like OHF can hep with this.

  39. Margaret:
    Hi Kevin,
    I have a challenge to keep weight.
    In the past when only I reduced grains and starchy vegetables
    in a few weeks a lost 10 pounds from 120 to 110 lbs .
    How can I eat only meat and do not loose weight?

    1. Well if the weight loss is fat / inflammation related, that could be a good thing health wise.

      To keep carbs out of the diet and keep weight on, you have to eat enough, focusing on fatty cuts of meat, perhaps adding some butter / tallow / ect can help (and of course keeping protein up ~1g/lb body weight is a good number to aim for)

  40. Hi Kevin Stock,

    It’s a great pleasure reading your blogs. How about raw garlic, I usually eat six (6) cloves a day, is raw garlic low in oxalate or high?

    Second question: Two days ago, I just stopped eating high oxalate food every morning such as all wheat bran (3 scoops a day), almonds (20 pieces) and walnut for maybe the last 4 years routinely. I feel my kidney is very stiff. Now after I stopped, I guess I am in the dumping process, I am eating probiotic 2% yogurt for the calcium with every meal to bind with the dumping oxalate out of my body, is that okay or not?
    I also take magnesium citrate 150 mg/day what do you think?

    Thanks in advance.

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