Hello, and welcome to another Wellness Wednesday topic. Today, I am continuing with my monthly theme of oxalates. The most common symptom of having too much Oxalates in your body is manifested as Kidney Stones. Kidney stones are extremely painful, and if you have ever had one you know this. But, you may not actually form a stone, and the oxalates may cause smaller crystals to form that never are large enough to cause a stone. But, these crystals can still cause harm to the kidneys, or progression of Kidney Disease if you already have CKD. Even small amounts of crystallization may decrease urinary output, cause retention, as well as other metabolic issues, and electrolyte balance. A lot of this stuff involves Biology and Chemistry, and is quite a complicated body process. But, using the NKF website, and other sources I have found, I hope to break it down for you in a simple, understandable way.
You can read my first post on this topic here. Each post explains something different, and addresses a different issue regarding Oxalates. In my second post I shared how to make a Low Oxalate Green Smoothie, especially if you are a huge smoothie drinker. Today, I am going to focus solely on the issue of Oxalates related to kidney function.
According to the NKF, there are ways to decrease your risk of Oxalate crystallization and stone formation including:
- Drink more fluids. See the video below to learn how to know if you are drinking enough liquids based on your urine color. There are some others I would like to point out such as cloudy urine, and bubbly urine. These can be signs that you are not drinking enough. I typically get a headache when I am dehydrated and it is a warning sign to me to drink more. When I am at work is most often when I will become dehydrated due to the nature of being a nurse and being busy. But, now I force myself to drink more at work. It is still not always enough, but I am working on it. If you are on fluid restrictions, again, ask your doctor what amount is right for you.
- Do not over eat protein. Before someone on the Carnivore or Keto Diet gets their undies in a bunch, please watch the two videos below on this topic. Too much protein can cause Kidney Stones which causes Kidney Damage, period! Do not take your protein requirements from an influencer, ask your doctor. I base my protein intake on a formula from a Urology website. My doctor is aware of how much protein I consume, and monitors my labs. I do think the amount he recommends at the end of his second video is probably too high, even if you don’t have Kidney Disease, but ask your doctor. Your doctor who is responsible for monitoring and analyzing your health.
- Eat less salt. I talk about this at nauseum. Too much salt leads to too much calcium in your urine which can lead to crystals forming, and or stones. I didn’t really understand why this was, but there is an actual explanation. Click here to read more. Salt is in all processed foods. Read labels and learn what amount of salt is healthy for you, but years ago when nurses actually had time to teach patients a 2 or 3 GM Sodium Diet was the norm. That is 2,000 to 3,000 mg of Sodium per day.
- How many of you take a Calcium supplement? Calcium supplements may actually increase your risk of stone formation in the kidneys, where as consuming dairy products actually can help. Dairy combines with Oxalates in the intestines keeping them from needing to be removed by the kidneys, and are rather excreted in the stool. Calcium from supplements do not do that. Be sure and click the NKF source at the top to read more about this. Talk to your doctor about getting a good source of Calcium in your diet.
- What about your Multivitamin? Does it have Vitamin C? I will be doing a whole post on Vitamin C, but the natural breakdown of Vitamin C is Oxalates. The food industry has added Vitamin C to just about everything. Now there could be a debate as to whether the body even absorbs that form of Vitamin C, or if it is all completely excreted in the kidneys without being used by the body at all. Talk to your doctor about whether you really need Vitamin C supplementation. Some people do. and your doctor will let you know. So many influencers suck down a million vitamins a day instead of just eating actual food.
- Eat foods not high in Oxalates. See my first post highlighted above.
Does this mean you can’t be plant-based, Vegetarian, or Vegan? Of course not! Like all eating lifestyles there are things to learn to keep you your healthiest. On the NKF page they have examples of what a low Oxalate Vegetarian plate would look like. I urge you to read it. You don’t want Oxalate Dumping either. Eating Oxalate rich foods with a good Calcium source will help the Oxalates be removed in the stool, not the kidneys.
My doctor has told me to avoid dairy products completely , or very little, which I have done for the past 4 years. I have done that, but whenever I try to go plant based I get weird symptoms to me that point to possible Oxalate buildup and when I avoid those high Oxalate foods my symptoms go away. Could be a coincidence, could be not.
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