Holistic Approach to Wellness

Kidney Stones

Oxalate and its acid form oxalic acid are organic acids that are primarily from three sources: the diet, from fungus such as Aspergillus and Penicillium and possibly Candida, and also from human metabolism. Oxalic acid is the most acidic organic acid in body fluids and is used commercially to remove rust from car radiators. Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is toxic primarily because it is converted to oxalate.

Two different types of genetic diseases are known in which oxalates are high in the urine.

The genetic types of hyperoxalurias (type I and type II) can be determined from the organic acid test done at The Great Plains Laboratory.

Foods especially high in oxalates include spinach, beets, chocolate, peanuts, wheat bran, tea, cashews, pecans, almonds, berries, and many others. Oxalates are not found in meat or fish at significant concentrations. Daily adult oxalate intake is usually 80-120 mg/d; it can range from 44-1000 mg/d in individuals who eat a typical Western diet.

High oxalate in the urine and plasma was first found in people who were susceptible to kidney stones. Many kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate. Kidney Stones can range in size from the diameter of a grain of rice to the width of a golf ball.

It is estimated that 10% of males may have kidney stones some time in their life.

Because many kidney stones contain calcium, some people with kidney stones think they should avoid calcium supplements. However, the opposite is true. When calcium is taken with foods that are high in oxalates, oxalic acid in the intestine combines with calcium to form insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that are eliminated in the stool. This form of oxalate cannot be absorbed into the body. When calcium is low in the diet, oxalic acid is soluble in the liquid portion of the contents of the intestine (called chyme) and is readily absorbed from the intestine into the bloodstream. If oxalic acid is very high in the blood being filtered by the kidney, it may combine with calcium to form crystals that may block urine flow and cause severe pain.

However, such crystals may also form in the bones, joints, blood vessels, lungs, and even the brain. In addition, oxalate crystals in the bone may crowd out the bone marrow cells, leading to anemia and immunosuppression. In addition to autism and kidney disease, individuals with fibromyalgia and women with vulvar pain (vulvodynia) may suffer from the effects of excess oxalates.

Oxalate crystals may cause damage to various tissues. The sharp crystals may cause damage due to their physical structure and may also increase inflammation. Iron oxalate crystals may also cause significant oxidative damage and diminish iron stores needed for red blood cell formation. Oxalates may also function as chelating agents and may chelate many toxic metals such as mercury and lead. Unlike other chelating agents, oxalates trap heavy metals in the tissues.

Many parents with adverse vaccine reactions of their children reported that their child was on antibiotics at the time of vaccination.

Yeast overgrowth, commonly associated with antibiotic usage, might lead to increased oxalate production and increased combination with mercury, slowing mercury elimination if oxalates were so high that they deposited in the bones with attached mercury. It would be interesting to see if increased elimination of heavy metals occurs after oxalate elimination by antifungal therapy and low oxalate diet.

In addition, oxalates from the diet or from yeast/fungus in the gastrointestinal tract bind calcium, magnesium, and zinc, perhaps leading to deficiencies even when dietary sources should be adequate.

Prevention

Prevention of kidney stones may include a combination of lifestyle changes including:

You may reduce your risk of kidney stones if you:
• Drink water throughout the day. For people with a history of kidney stones, doctors usually recommend passing about 2.6 quarts (2.5 liters) of urine a day. Your doctor may ask that you measure your urine output to make sure that you’re drinking enough water.
If you live in a hot, dry climate or you exercise frequently, you may need to drink even more water to produce enough urine. If your urine is light and clear, you’re likely drinking enough water.
• Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods. If you tend to form calcium oxalate stones, your doctor may recommend restricting foods rich in oxalates. These include rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate and soy products.
• Choose a diet low in salt and animal protein. Reduce the amount of salt you eat and choose non- animal protein sources, such as legumes. Consider using a salt substitute.
• Continue eating calcium-rich foods, but use caution with calcium supplements. Calcium in food doesn’t have an effect on your risk of kidney stones. Continue eating calcium-rich foods unless your doctor advises otherwise. Ask your doctor before taking calcium supplements, as these have been linked to increased risk of kidney stones. You may reduce the risk by taking supplements with meals. Diets low in calcium can increase kidney stone formation in some people.

 

Source: Great Plain Laboratory and Mayo Clinic