A fairly dramatic title for a blog post, I know, but it’s really important I share this information with you in a way that gets your attention.
Everyone knows the general health benefits of salads, green veggies and green juices. But these healthy foods can be disastrous for some people.
Recently, I worked with a lady in Canada – Cynthia – who was poisoning herself by eating too many green veggies and other foods containing a specific type of chemical that can cause major health problems.
These health problems range from digestive and gynecological problems to kidney stones and even heart disease.
Yet with a simple urine test, some no-hassle dietary changes and perhaps a couple of supplements, the risk can be completely removed.
Are green juices all they’re cracked up to be?
There is no doubt that plant-based foods provide an abundance of helpful and healthful nutrients that support our physiology.
But what most people don’t realize is that some vegetables and fruits contain very high levels of a particular substance that can do a lot of harm.
Cynthia is one of those people. In early 2016, she had begun eating a vegan diet loaded with plant-based foods, yet her energy level, digestion, mood and zest for life were eroding, fast.
She couldn’t understand why her health was deteriorating so rapidly, but the answer was surprisingly simple.
Oxalates, also known as oxalic acid, are specific chemicals found in plant foods. They are especially high in foods such as leafy greens, soy and other commonly eaten ‘health’ foods.
Virtually all oxalates are found in plant matter, so vegetarians and vegans can be more prone to developing problems due to oxalates.
Oxalates are a type of organic acid, which is good because we can actually measure your oxalic acid level in an organic acid test to see if it is too high and whether you are a candidate for a low oxalate diet.
When you eat oxalates, they can bind to minerals, forming things like calcium oxalate and iron oxalate crystals.
These crystals can be deposited virtually anywhere in your body, causing damage and health problems.
In certain people – not everyone – excessive consumption of greens, green juices, soy and other foods can lead to enormous health problems because of oxalate levels.
Health problems caused by high oxalates
In a later article, I’ll discuss oxalate health problems in more detail. For now, here is a partial list of problems that may be caused in some people by excessive oxalate crystals forming in the body:
- Kidney stones
- Vulvodynia (unexplained pain of the vulva, which limits daily activities, sexual function and creates a lot of psychological stress)
- Digestive disorders
- Mood and energy problems
- Joint pain and arthritis
- Interstitial cystitis
- Note: a reason vegetarians can have weaker bones is the higher amount of oxalates in their diet
- Heart disease
- Thyroid disease
- Skin problems
- Autism – kids on the spectrum have higher levels than those that are not
- Heavy metal toxicity can be made worse
These problems are not caused by oxalates exclusively, and not everyone who has these symptoms has trouble with oxalates.
However, oxalates should be suspected and ruled out, something that is easy to do using simple home organic acids testing.
Here is an image of some kidney stones, which are oxalate crystals. No wonder they cause so much pain and discomfort:
Here is an image of oxalate crystals in the heart. These crystals will literally tear apart heart tissue:
A list of high oxalate foods
As you look at this food list (from Abiodun Omoloja, M.D. Pediatric Nephrology at The Children’s Medical Center Nephrology Department, Dayton), notice the oxalate content of these foods:
- Beet greens
- Pursiane leaves
Interesting that these are prime salads and green juice ingredients.
How many people use spinach leaves as a salad base, or in green juices?
How many people use beets in “healthy” vegetable juices?
Can you now see why these foods, for some people, can have profound adverse health consequences?
These foods are by no means the only foods that contain oxalates. Some doctors state that any food with an oxalate content of >10 mg per serving is a high oxalate food:
Before you panic about these foods, please remember that not everyone has problems with oxalates.
And unless symptoms are really severe, it’s only the very high oxalate foods that need to be avoided – soy, spinach, chard, beets, rhubarb and anything above 100 mg/L initially.
Read on to find out why.
Candida overgrowth increases oxalate levels
Intestinal Candida overgrowth can dramatically increase oxalate levels in the body. Candida + a high oxalate diet can be a recipe for disaster.
Candida raises oxalates by breaking down collagen in the gut and urinary tract walls when it overgrows. Collagen is then converted in to oxalates.
Dr. William Shaw has shown a strong correlation between Candida overgrowth, Aspergillus overgrowth, and urinary oxalate levels, as shown below (apologies for the poor image quality).
Even if you’re eating a low oxalate diet, your oxalates may still be too high if you have a very heavy or aggressive Candida overgrowth.
I need to be very clear: Candida overgrowth is ultra-common, and I frequently see elevated oxalates in people who have Candida overgrowth.
If you have bloating, gas, heartburn, abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, brain fog, UTIs, dandruff, fungal toes or fingers, you are almost guaranteed to have some level of Candida overgrowth.
Any other symptoms you have relating to feeling tired, anxious, grumpy, achy, etc. are, in turn, almost guaranteed to be linked to your digestive situation in some way.
But you don’t have to put up with these symptoms because you can get properly tested and you can feel and look great very quickly, as Cynthia did.
Back to Cynthia
Cynthia had been eating a vegan diet, which included a lot of high oxalate, plant-based foods (remember, oxalates are not found in animal-based foods).
When we ran the appropriate testing, Cynthia was also found to have high Candida levels, as measured by arabinose in her urine.
Cynthia’s test showed also showed that she had an Aspergillus overgrowth as well as Candida, which is almost the worst situation you could imagine when it comes to oxalates.
And, guess what? Her urine oxalic acid level was too high.
When she followed my anti-fungal herbal protocol to knock her Candida and Aspergillus levels down, and took all the high and moderate oxalate foods out of her diet, all her symptoms went away.
I will present Cynthia’s full case story in a separate blog post, to show you how powerful oxalates were in creating health problems in her case.
You will see that oxalates may be the culprit in ADD/ADHD, chronic fatigue, bipolar disorder and other psychological symptoms.
Vitamin C can increase oxalate levels
Another big surprise is that vitamin C, one of the most important nutrients we can consume, can increase oxalate levels.
In fact, when Cynthia took vitamin C, her symptoms worsened considerably.
This shows you how important it is to take into account individuality in nutrition.
As Hippocrates said, “One man’s food is another’s poison.”
Any food or nutrient can heal or harm depending on you as an individual, so don’t take anything for granted, no matter which scientist, celebrity or expert you hear or read it from!
Other factors that can increase oxalates
Dehydration is a big risk when it comes to oxalates. It will increase the rate of oxalate deposition in the soft tissues. Drink plenty of clean water!
Vitamin B6 is needed to convert glyoxalate into glycine rather than oxalates.
Unfortunately, vitamin B6 deficiency is quite common, which may explain why some people have oxalate-related symptoms.
Organic acids testing
Organic acids testing is one of the best ways to assess your health and metabolism.
You provide a single urine sample at home, first thing in the morning when you wake up.
You freeze it and send it to the lab for analysis.
The lab reports 72 different pieces of information about your metabolism and presents it on a pretty PDF document.
The information covers energy production, brain chemistry, detoxification, nutrient levels, fat metabolism, mitochondrial function and, of course, digestive function.
It was this lab test that gave Cynthia the information she needed to transform her body and life.
Here are three snippets from her test:
Candida and Aspergillus overgrowth (markers 5, 7 and 9):
Her high oxalic acid (oxalate):
Low vitamin B6:
I have to be honest with you: for such a simple test, with such a lot of useful information, I am shocked that the medical system doesn’t use organic acids testing.
I couldn’t run my practice without it and so many times it provides that one piece of information that is the missing link in a person’s symptoms.
And back to green smoothies and juices
I want to reiterate that not everyone needs to worry about green smoothies, green salads, and high oxalate foods.
But in some cases, these foods can be the make or break factor in whether or not you conquer symptoms (even serious disease), and get back to feeling and looking your best.
It is possible to run testing to check your Candida, fungal overgrowth and oxalate levels using a simple urine sample that you do at home. It’s called an organic acids test.
Organic acids test for Candida and oxalates
If you want to know whether oxalates are causing problems and, then I recommend an organic acids test.
For digestive health, it’s a great alternative to a stool test and will help you understand the reasons why you’re feeling tired, moody, listless, achy and why you are not able to focus, concentrate and sleep.
20 of the organic acids test markers are dedicated to evaluating your digestive function.
As such, you can also get a great understanding of why you might be feeling bloated, constipation, gassy and all the other digestive symptoms that may be lowering your quality of life.
What’s more, these tests come with expert interpretation and a 60-minute consultation to make sure you actually get something from doing the test.
It was one of these tests that enabled Cynthia to get her health, energy and mental focus back. After years of struggle, the answer lay in a simple urine test, some diet changes and supplements.
Learn more about the comprehensive home organic acids test here:
And don’t forget to see the Cynthia’s full case study.