The photo above kind of looks like miniature crystals and, in fact, that is correct. But they are invisible, microscopic crystals that exist in foods we eat and may be one source of much pain, fatigue, nausea, moodiness etc in a body that is out of balance.
What drew me to investigate these crystals, known as oxalic acids? A recent uptick in painful finger and feet joints. Not just achy but strikingly sharp sensations, like needles being stabbed into my digits. It made me think of acidic “crunchies” – a term often referred to in massage therapy. This was a new feeling for me to have in my own body! I suddenly realized how much cooked spinach I’d been consuming over the last few weeks, a very high source of oxalic acid. A little armchair research also revealed this acid accumulation can result in vertigo and frozen shoulder, both of which I suffered, back to back, in 2015 – I never want to experience those again! So, this got me wondering what other foods was I consuming that might be adding to this stabbing digit pain? Turns out, quite a bit of my diet, combined with a “sensitive gut”, may be contributing factors.
Oxalic acids are produced in varying quantities by plants, seeds, nuts and fruit to prevent them from being eaten by predator insects and animals. If you have a strong digestion, no leaky gut, leaky bladder, or impaired brain-blood-barrier then you are likely excreting them with no problem. However, for a good portion of the population digestive issues are the number one complaint and, based on the Standard American Diet (SAD), the more likely scenario is most people are leaching toxins back into their body rather than into the toilet. These toxins would include the razor sharp edges of oxalic acids that settle into tissues and joints causing intense pain, mood swings and cravings . The acid’s molecules bind with iron, and if over-consumed could lead to iron deficiency (fatigue). Because of this binding action foods high in oxalic acid should not be cooked in iron, aluminum, or copper pans, as they will leach the metals out of the cookware and deposit unhealthy levels of heavy metals into the body tissues.
Is it wise to just stop eating high oxalic acid foods all at once? Probably not. Like anything you’re trying to limit consumption of it’s best to do it in stages. Otherwise, a condition known as “Oxalic dumping” may occur and create a real episode of suffering. Symptoms may include:
A high oxalate diet also appears to have connections with autism:
The above symptoms may also occur if one begins taking supplements that nudge the dumping process, such as B vitamins and minerals, or if one consumes high doses Vit C which converts into oxalic acid. Here’s an interesting description of the difference between citric acid and ascorbic acid:
What foods have high oxalic acid and which ones don’t? Well, that depends on what sources you’re referring to as there does seem to be some discrepancy. However, I found the following link a helpful place to start. It gives a very thorough breakdown of minimal, low, medium and high levels of oxalic acid in a variety of foods:
What foods have high oxalic acid and which ones don’t? Well, that depends on what sources you’re referring to as there does seem to be some discrepancy. However, I found the following link a helpful place to start. It gives a very thorough breakdown of minimal, low, medium and high levels of oxalic acid in a variety of food sources:
THE GOOD NEWS… A QUICK REFERENCE LOW OXALIC ACID FOOD LIST!
Last, but certainly not least… DRINK MORE WATER!!
Taking the detox process in small stages is ideally done with supervision by a highly recommended Nutritionist, Naturopath, or Ayurvedic Medicine Practitioner. If you do not have access to such people in your region, or you just want to learn more about the subject on your own here are some informative links to start you on your journey:
Highly recommended Ayurvedic medicine practitioner, Susan Bass:
waterdrop photo credit:
Information provided in this blog is not intended to replace licensed medical care.This blog is intended to heighten your awareness of wholistic approaches to healing. You are encouraged to do further research on your own behalf, consult with a qualified Naturopath, Primary Care Physician, or other experienced healthcare practitioner of your choice. Ultimately, you are responsible for the choices you make related to maintaining your health and well-being.