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Low oxalate diet

Related Terms

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Background

  • A low oxalate diet eliminates foods and beverages of high oxalate concentration, often to treat kidney stones and other kidney disorders. Oxalate is a compound commonly found in foods of plant origin that strongly bind to minerals (e.g., calcium, magnesium, and potassium), and reduces their absorption. Foods that come from animals generally have little or no oxalate. This diet is frequently given to people who have increased levels of oxalic acid in their urine or who have a history of forming kidney stones (small pebbles that form in either the kidney or the bladder).
  • Oxalic acid's name comes from Oxalis spp. (wood sorrel) from which it was first isolated. This acid has the ability to form a strong bond with various minerals forming compounds referred to as oxalate salts. Therefore, oxalate generally refers to the salt form of oxalic acid, one of which is calcium oxalate.
  • About 1 in every 1,000 adults in the United States is hospitalized annually for kidney stones. Dietary factors may increase or reduce the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones. Nearly 80% of reported kidney stones in patients in the United States are composed of calcium oxalate.
  • Experts have known for a long time that oxalate is an irritant that may cause histamine release and burning in tissues. However, exposing healthy skin and nerves to oxalate does not result in pain. At high concentrations, oxalic acid may cause death in humans and animals due to its corrosive effects. In smaller amounts, oxalic acid may cause a variety of pathological disorders, including hyperoxaluria (an excessive amount of oxalate in the urine), vitamin B6 deficiency, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle that often leads to abnormal function), heart rhythm disorders, calcium oxalate stones and renal failure.
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Diet Outline

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.