Certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains naturally contain oxalic acid. For most people, eating foods containing oxalic acid doesn't present a problem but for some, it leads to oxalic acid combining with calcium to form crystals of calcium oxalate. If left unchecked it eventually leads to the formation of kidney stones.
The general dietary advice for these individuals is to avoid foods containing oxalic acid.
The following list of common foods all naturally contain oxalic acid but as you are probably aware, most of these foods also have health promoting benefits.
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, kiwifruit, grapes, figs, tangerines and plums
Spinach, Swiss chard, beetroots, beetroot greens (leaf part), collards, okra, parsley, and leeks are considered the most oxalate-dense vegetables
Celery, green beans, and summer squash are considered moderately dense in oxalates
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds and cashews
Peanuts, Soybeans, tofu and other soy products
Wheat bran, wheat germ, buckwheat, quinoa, oats
Cocoa, chocolate, and black tea
Is avoiding oxalic acid containing foods the only way to prevent issues like kidney stones or there another way to deal with this issue?
From the perspective of Natural Nutrition, when kidney stones form, this is a sign that calcium is being misplaced in the body.
Body fluids like the blood, tissue fluid, bile and urine contain calcium which should stay dissolved. In certain conditions, calcium becomes misplaced and comes out of solution by forming solid crystals with acids like oxalic acid and uric acid.
What Triggers Calcium Misplacement
Balanced fluid levels within the body are dependent on the right input and levels of: water, phospholipids (lecithin), essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) and a non-challenging diet.
Dehydration within body tissues, upsets the natural flow of wastes and nutrients in/out of the cells. A lack of water imbalances the movement of the main electrolytes: sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium in/out from cells. Sodium usually moves in and starts to build within dehydrated cells. This triggers water to be retained and for calcium to move in and also accumulate within dehydrated cells. Rising calcium levels results in a hardening of cells, which is known as calcification. This hardening significantly impairs normal cell functioning
The impaired movement of cellular wastes out from dehydrated cells leads to rising levels of acidity. This also triggers sodium and calcium, the main agents for neutralising excessive acidity within body tissues, to be held in areas of increasing acidity. The retention of sodium and calcium within acidic cells leads to further electrolyte imbalances which affects the movement of magnesium and potassium in/out from cells.
Excessive Dietary Calcium and Low Magnesium Intake
There is far too much emphasis on dietary calcium intake. Many foods are fortified with calcium with no thought given to the affect this has on magnesium. Magnesium helps keep calcium dissolved within body fluids. When magnesium levels are low, calcium is more likely to come out of solution and cause calcification issues.
When the diet is dehydrating and hard to process, it generates acidity and toxicity. This puts an enormous strain on the elimination organs in particular. In this situation, cellular electrolytes become imbalanced and calcium misplacement is more likely to occur. The most likely dietary culprits are: sugar, processed salt, refined grains, damaged/processed fats, processed foods, excessive meat/dairy, and dietary toxicity (pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, food additives etc).
Consequences of Calcium Misplacement
Calcium misplacement can influence the health in many ways. Bones, teeth, muscles and joints weaken, blood sugar imbalances appear and stones within the kidney and/or gall bladder are more likely to develop.
Bones, Teeth, Muscles and Joint Issues
The bones, teeth, muscles and joints are areas of the body where calcium is used to form structure. When calcium misplacement occurs, this mineral is extracted from these areas and used to restore low levels in more critical areas of the body like the blood. Over time, this can lead to demineralisation and symptoms of weakening within the bones, teeth, muscles and joints.
Blood Sugar Imbalances
Homeostatic control of the blood is critical. Raised blood sugar contributes to elevated blood acidity. When blood acidity rises and moves out of range then alkalising elements within the blood like calcium and oxygen are used to neutralise and restore blood pH . This drop in blood calcium triggers calcium to be retrieved from storage areas like the bones, teeth, muscles and joints. Unfortunately this can create a situation where calcium retrieved from the bones, teeth etc enters the blood but ends up being dumped into the elimination organs and/or body tissues.
Kidney Issues and Kidney Stones
The kidneys filter the blood, balance blood electrolytes, salts and water levels. Rising acidity, dehydration and toxicity within the blood is handled by the kidneys. It's not surprising then that the kidneys can become overloaded. In this situation calcium builds within kidney and is likely to harden and calcify kidney tissues.
Any excess blood calcium is dumped into the urine for elimination where it can combine with acids like uric acid and oxalic acid and form stones.
Liver Issues and Gall Stones
The liver is the main organ of detoxification and similar issues apply to it as well. Again dehydration, rising toxicity and acidity creates a situation where calcification occurs within the liver tissues and impairs its function. Excess cholesterol and calcium end up being dumped into the liver's bile fluid, which over time leads to the creation of gall stones.
Calcium Misplacement and Health Issues
There is a definite connection with calcium misplacement and a wide range of health imbalances like imbalanced blood sugar, arthritis, weak bones/muscles, fibroids, tooth cavities, gall stones and kidney stones.
It is crucial to address this situation and correct issues like cellular dehydration, rising levels of toxicity and acidity by using whole-foods, which help to restore hydration/pH and lower the burden placed on the elimination organs.
In my opinion, oxalate containing foods should be reduced whilst dietary changes and lifestyle changes are being put into place to lower toxicity and restore hydration and electrolyte balance within the body. However as the body rebalances it will be able to handle dietary oxalates without calcification issues occuring.