Could this substance be causing your gut aches?


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Could this substance be causing your gut aches?


When it comes to digestive distress, the potential causes can run the gamut. 

Processed foods, enzyme insufficiency, lacking a gallbladder, imbalanced microbiome, certain medications, leaky gut, stress and food allergies/intolerances are some of the possible culprits. 

But there’s another cause that most people are not even aware of.  

It’s a substance that occurs naturally in many foods, but chances are good that you’ve never even heard of it…and yet it may be affecting you this very minute. 

I’m talking about oxalic acid (aka oxalates). 

Here is the scoop on this substance and how it can spell misery in the gut and beyond. 

So what exactly are oxalates? 

Oxalates are a compound found in a wide range of plant foods.  Similar to lectins, they are part of the plant’s defense mechanism that protects it from predators, so they do serve a valid purpose. 

But unfortunately, insects are not the only ones affected by oxalates, because they can spell trouble for us humans too. 

Oxalates can change form and interact with minerals, but not in a good way.   

They can bind to minerals in your foods and lower your absorption of those nutrients—for this reason, they are referred to as “antinutrients.” 

They can also grab minerals in your blood and tissues, thereby increasing your risk of deficiency diseases like osteoporosis.  

Additionally, oxalates create acidity in the body, which triggers inflammation.  Inflammation is an underlying cause behind most chronic diseases. 

And your body’s natural reaction to this increased acidity is to use its own stores of alkaline minerals to buffer the acid—FURTHER reducing your supply of minerals and increasing your risk of disease! 

But wait!  There’s more! 

Oxalates can bind to calcium and when the oxalate/calcium love affair finds its way to your kidneys, you may suddenly be on your knees in pain with kidney stones. 

Oxalates are also very abrasive to the GI tract and lead to inflammation in the gut.  This is especially concerning for people with gut challenges like diverticulitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease, colitis and leaky gut. 

Plus they kill friendly intestinal bacteria, create imbalance in the microbiome (thereby impairing your immune system function) and encourage yeast overgrowth (which leads to chronic infections among other things). 

Other health conditions associated with oxalate overload include anxiety and depression, arthritis, digestive distress, joint pain, fibromyalgia, skin problems and poor sleep. 

Where oh where are my oxalates hiding? 

Hopefully by now, you’re at least curious about what foods are high in oxalates. 

High oxalate foods do include some plant foods that are otherwise impressively nutritious, but as you can see, they also have a dark side. 

Other foods that are high in oxalates are less healthy but are made with a high-oxalate food. 

Here is a chart of the foods highest in oxalates: 




Grains, Flours & Powders

Hot chocolate 


Dried pineapple & figs 

Rice bran 

Carrot juice 



Buckwheat; bulgur 

V8 juice 

Peanut butter 


Corn grits; corn meal 

Tomato juice 



Cocoa powder 

Black tea 



Brown rice flour 



Most breakfast cereals 




Vegan products




Vegan/veggie burger 


Navy beans 




Fava beans 


Soy burgers 

Sweet potato 

Refried beans 

Mixed nuts 

Swiss chard 

Red kidney beans 



Baked potato with skin 

Pinto beans 



What to do now? 

It’s important to remember that not everyone has an issue with oxalates—many people can eat the (healthier) high-oxalate foods above and not incur any negative effects.   

Others, however, suffer the consequences. 

If you’ve had some of the symptoms I described above and haven’t been able to pinpoint a cause, it’s entirely possible that you may have a degree of oxalate sensitivity.  

There’s not a specific lab test that measures oxalate sensitivity or toxicity.  A doctor can test your urine to detect oxalate levels, but that’s not an overly reliable measure.  

You can help by doing a simple home test.  If you suspect oxalates may be affecting your health, then look at the list above and remove the food sources of oxalates in your diet that you eat most often.    

If you feel better after a few weeks, you’ll have your answer.   

Heal your gut too 

If you believe oxalates have caused you problems, or just want to support strong gut health, then it’s imperative to help heal your gut, repopulate your microbiome and curb inflammation. 

Here are 4 very effective measures that can help: 

1- Eat helpful foods 

Eat probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, apple cider vinegar and yogurt. 

2- Avoid harmful foods

Stay away from gut-harming foods like refined carbs and sugars, vegetable oils and all processed and fast foods.   

What you drink can have an impact on your gut too, so soda and beer should be avoided as well. 

3- Help rebuild your gut environment

You can help rebuild and repair a damaged gut with a potent, full-spectrum probiotic like Super Shield PLUS multi-strain probiotic formula.  The following superstar probiotic strains have been shown to be especially beneficial for gut health and support, and ALL of them are in Super Shield PLUS

  • Bifidobacterium bifidum  
  • Bifidobacterium longum  
  • Bifidobacterium breve  
  • Bifidobacterium infantis  
  • Lactobacillus para casei  
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus  
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus  
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus  

4- Reduce stress 

Stress causes harmful changes to your gut microbiome, giving dangerous microbes the “upper hand” and weakening your immune system functioning. 

Here are some tried and true stress relief measures to try: 

  • Prayer 
  • Meditation 
  • Yoga 
  • Regular exercise 
  • Massage 
  • Adopting a pet 
  • Counseling or therapy 
  • Deep breathing 

My inspiration 

I was inspired to write this blog after reconnecting with a high school classmate who had been suffering the effects of oxalates and told me that she had never heard of them before! 

So, if she was suffering, I figured others may be too and I would spread the word.  I hope this information is helpful to you! 

To your health, 

Sherry Brescia

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  • Thank you 💕😊 X

    Paul Mairs on

  • Is there a way we can print this list out?

    Ginny on

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