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Oxalates: Their Influence on Chronic Disease

New science and clinical experience reveal concerns about oxalates that far exceed traditional kidney stone pathology. In order to best support their patients and clients, integrative practitioners, and especially diet and nutrition specialists would benefit from greater understanding of their influence.

Oxalates are highly reactive molecules; they present in our body as sharp crystals or crystalline structures with jagged edges that cause pain, irritation, and distress. They can bind with certain minerals; particularly calcium and magnesium, as well as iron and copper. Having high oxalate in the body can be problematic; and not giving proper consideration to one’s oxalate intake can impede the effectiveness of even the best healing diet protocol.

High oxalate in the body (hyperoxaluria) can be a factor in many chronic conditions; including digestive issues, autoimmune disorders, and neurological conditions. Oxalates affect mitochondrial function and can create inflammation; thus influencing every system in the body.


This article explores the repercussions of the oxalate cascade in a variety of chronic diseases; and my follow-up article will specifically investigate oxalates and autism – and how you, the knowledgeable practitioner, can help.

Understanding Oxalates


Although most commonly identified with the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones (oxalate bound to calcium), when unbound, free oxalate can interfere with cellular functions; affecting health on a broader, systemic level. Clinical studies and anecdotal experience indicate that oxidative stress, mitochondrial disruption and damage, and nutrient depletions, trigger widely varied symptoms including fatigue and inflammatory cascades, joint pain or pain anywhere in the body. Chronic low energy is very common because of a reduction in ATP in the mitochondria. Oxalates could be a hidden source of headaches, urinary pain, genital irritation, joint, muscle, intestinal or eye pain.

Other common oxalate-caused symptoms may include mood conditions, anxiety, sleep problems, weakness, or burning feet. Indicators can be digestive, respiratory, or even bedwetting for children.

It’s important to note that oxalates can inhibit the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals; which actually makes oxalates an “anti-nutrient.” Minerals in food become bound by oxalate – for instance calcium (thereby forming insoluble calcium oxalate) – and cannot then be absorbed properly by the intestinal tract. This can lead to mineral deficiencies, such as calcium and/or magnesium deficiency.

In the gut of a healthy person, oxalates typically bind together with these minerals (are not absorbed through the gut), then eliminated in the stool. While this inhibits absorption of nutrients, beneficially this ensures they are excreted rather than crossing the gut into the blood stream and causing cellular distress and damage.

High Oxalate

Once oxalate gets into cells where it can disrupt mitochondrial function; it can cause all sorts of systemic disturbances. Here are some of the varied effects of high oxalate in the cells and tissues – that we’ll explore through the course of this article:

  • Disrupt mineral absorption and usage
  • Impair cellular energy
  • Deplete nutrients like glutathione and interfering with biotin
  • Create oxidative stress[1]
  • Activate the immune system to trigger inflammatory cascades
  • Interfere with and damage mitochondrial function[2]
  • Damage cells and tissues
  • Cause seizures during toxic exposure to oxalate[3],[4],[5]
  • Cause faulty sulfation
  • Cause histamine release

Types & Sources of Oxalates


Exogenous and Endogenous

Oxalates stem from two main sources: exogenous (outside the body; from dietary intake) and endogenous (produced within the body, cell or tissue).

Exogenous oxalate can accumulate from a diet that is high in spinach, nuts, beans, or other high oxalate foods. This is why individualizing therapeutic diets is essential; because “by the book” some well-known special diets strongly rely on higher-oxalate foods (especially almonds/almond flour). Diets often heavy on these nut flours include: SCD, GAPS, and Paleo. And vegetarian diets are often high in oxalate; since they usually include many beans, grains, nuts and seeds, as well as high oxalate greens or starchy vegetables, like spinach or sweet potatoes.


Practitioners should be aware that diets high in oxalate could create a wide variety of problems for some people. Making informed choices or modifying a diet for oxalate can make a dramatic difference in lowering the oxalate load (note: it is important to reduce oxalates in the diet very slowly).

However, most of our body’s total oxalate content is created during normal body metabolism. “It is increasingly accepted that 80-90% of urinary oxalate is produced endogenously,” [6]  within the cell, and this can directly wreak havoc in the body.

Read the rest of this article that includes information on:

The Origin of Oxalate Issues

  • Deficiencies and Endogenous Production
  • When the Gut is Unhealthy
  • Sulfate, Poor Sulfation, and Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Effects of High Oxalate in the Body

  • Mitochondrial Dysfunction
  • Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Glutathione

Conclusion – Through The Lens of Autism

Read the original full text article at:

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#180 Best Essential Oils for Stress with Jodi Cohen

Jodi Cohen talks to us this week about the best essential oils you can use to reduce stress!

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Recipe: Beef Bone Broth

Just like with our chicken bone broth recipe, beef bone broth is something you should incorporate into your regular diet. And if you didn’t know, the main differences between bone broth and regular stock are the ingredients and simmer times.

Bone broth uses the parts of the animals that are usually thrown away, such as the bones, marrow, and joints. These animal parts are jam-packed with a protein called collagen, however, the only way to extract these nutrients is with a long cooking process.

By simmering the bones for 12-24 hours, it breaks down the collagen into a more digestible form called gelatin. It’s exactly this gelatin that contains many nutritional benefits such as:

It’s why bone broth has become such a popular superfood recently, and are drinking it regularly by sipping it plain, or incorporating it as a base for their favorite recipes.

This beef bone broth recipe consists of just a few simple ingredients and it’s straightforward to make. The only problem is that it’s very time consuming to make, and sometimes it’s tough to source high quality grass-fed bones for the ingredients. Fortunately, there are a number of pre-made brands on the market, but my personal favorite is Kettle & Fire.


I love that they use grass-fed beef bones and organic ingredients. They’re also the only brand that is shelf stable (don’t need to refrigerate) without the use of any preservatives or additives. So check them out on their website where you can buy their bone broth online.

So, if you don’t have the time stock up on Kettle & Fire’s beef bone broth, but if you do have the time, here’s a recipe to learn how to make your very own savory beef bone broth.

Beef Bone Broth

Prep Time         |            Cook Time          |           Total Time

20 minutes             1 hour + 12-24 hours               13-25 hours


  • 2-3 lbs of mixed beef bones (oxtail,   knuckles, screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-1-54-14-pmneckbones and/or short ribs)
  • 2 medium carrots (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 celery stalks (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 medium onions (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pc bay leaf


Step 1

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Toss the beef bones with olive oil to evenly coat and place in a single layer on a roasting pan or sheet pan. Roast for 1 hour, flipping halfway through.

Step 2

Put roasted bones, vegetables, bay leaf and cider vinegar in a large crock pot or soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a high simmer and then reduce heat to low.

Step 3

Keep the ingredients submerged in water and let simmer on low for 12- 24 hours until broth is a deep rich brown color. Remove from heat.

Step 4

Discard the bones, vegetables and bay leaf from the pot. Strain through a wire strainer or cheesecloth and cool to room temperature.

Step 5

Pour cooled broth into jars and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Step 6

To serve, skim the condensed fat off the top of the broth and reheat the broth to the desired temperature.

Roasting the Bones

Note that this step is optional in some recipes, but I highly recommend roasting the bones to provide a deeper and more rich flavor to the broth.

Quality Ingredients

To obtain the most nutrition from this broth the ingredients need to be organic and grass-fed. Grass-fed animals will have less toxins and chemical stored in their fat and bones making your broth healthier and more nutritious.

Long Simmer Time

The long simmer time is essential for this recipe to allow the collagen in the bone to break down into digestible gelatin. This is allows your body to absorb the amino acids that promote a healthy immune system, digestive system and overall health.

Take Away

Bone broth, if done correctly with quality ingredients, is one of the most nutritious foods on the market. Not to mention delicious! The recipe is easy it just takes time, so plan ahead. If you don’t have that kind of time, make sure to buy a brand that uses quality ingredients and advertises a long simmer time, like Kettle & Fire’s bone broth.

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