Until it is. Following on from my frolicking in frocks made of my favourite oxalate-rich foods around the Alps, let’s be clear these are great, healthy and health-promoting inclusions in ours and our patients’ diets. Until they’re not. Just like FODMAP avoidance is not, and should not, be generic dietary directive, nor a long term ‘solution’ to a digestive issue, oxalates are in fact, just like FODMAPS, great for our guts! Your consumption of these oxalate-rich foods drives greater abundance of the key bacteria in your gut that subsists on oxalates alone, the very same bacteria that has recently been recognised as a very desirable diversity marker. Unless you’re starting with zero.
Or your oxalate threshold is dramatically reduced for other reasons like leaky gut, fat malabsorption, renal impairment and so on.
Over and over again we speak to practising ‘individualised’ medicine – but do we know when our favourite healthy inclusions are another’s downfall? Can we spot the individual who oxalate susceptible, sensitive or actively challenged? And more to the point do we know how to navigate around this in the short term (food choices, preparation and combinations) and most importantly, start to actually increase tolerance in the longer term? Because oxalates are not the baddies, they are the messengers. As are FODMAPs and amines and and and…remember not to shoot the messenger!
This is a big topic that is important to be across and much more complex than a quick google search or some wellness blogger’s misleading ‘Low Oxalate List’…but given most of us hold the position of loving all things food and have a strong grasp of science this is one we can master, given the right reading, resources and up-skilling. Cue…a succinct entertaining audio summary of the true science and sense on this topic, clocking about 29 mins of your time, plus a couple of key full text and very readable articles for those with a desire for deepening and a PT ride to fill.. and you have our latest Update in Under 30 Oxalate Overload 😉
Oxalates are found in high concentrations in many of the ‘healthy food choices’ we promote and are even higher again when these are organically farmed! Given the importance of individualising therapeutic diets are we able to quickly recognise those who need to lower their low of these naturally occurring plant products? Who shouldn’t be drinking green juices? And which of our patients might benefit from being educated about different food combinations and preparation to lower the oxalate load from these otherwise fabulous foods?