When patients present feeling worse every time they DIY a Green Detox, as the practitioner, you’re likely to be sniffing around reduced oxalate tolerance as a differential. Rightly so. But what about the patient with joint pains and disproportionate fatigue who has baffled their rheumatologist, or the one suffering vulvodynia that baffles everyone, or irritable bladder symptoms, or….and they all eat an exemplary colourful high plant food diet, with their only self-confessed sin…darker than dark chocolate between every mouthful? Who doesn’t? While you may have a hunch, given the goodness of those foods, we should check these out objectively rather than unnecessarily restrict or limit someone’s food choices for the rest of their natural life! If dietary oxalate overload is now on your radar for these patients you need to move to the next step. Assessment.
Spot or 24hr urine collection or plasma assay or OATS testing or imaging or joint aspirates? So many choices but which one has the greatest validity depending on your patient’s presentation? Ok how about the most general all-rounder that is truly an option in the real world? – always helpful;) Yep, 24hr urine collection…agreed.
Ok, next step.
You need to wrap around that waist of yours one seriously heavy tool belt for accurate interpretation of their results. That’s right…those random ol’ reference ranges need a serious rethink! How much? Well, given the reference ranges every lab will give you for urinary oxalates typically fail to pick up up to 1/3 of patients with oxalate overload high enough to produce oxalate kidney stones…I think you get the picture. I feel your trepidation now but can hear you pensively ask anyway…next step? Management.
Just google oxalate-rich foods, print out the list for your patient and tell them never to have these (or joy, laughter, sex or a healthy microbiome) ever again.
The ‘low oxalate lists’ will lead you astray and the ‘high oxalate foods’ should not be tossed away! The research has found greater therapeutic benefits from different dietary approaches, some nutritional supplements and most importantly targeted treatment of the cause…which is all about the…go on, try and say it without screaming…the GUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!