Low Oxalate Diet for Kidney Stones?

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Is a Low Oxalate Diet the best solution for frequent kidney stones? 

Kidney stones affect 1 out of 11 people in the United States. If you’ve had them, you’ll be intimately aware of the pain they cause.

But how do we get kidney stones? More importantly, what are our best defenses against them? 

Around 80% of kidney stones are crystals made of calcium and oxalates or calcium and phosphate. Struvite, uric acid, and cystine stones make up the remainder. 

If your stones are the calcium oxalate variety, this article is for you!

Oxalates aren’t just a kidney problem. Excess oxalates can cause issues in many other parts of the body, such as the blood, bones, joints, heart, skin, nerves – even the brain. Oxalates also cause symptoms associated with Autism and can cause gout.

→ Read more about oxalates and Autism from Mosaic Diagnostics: The Relationship Between Oxalates and Autism

I’ve had my own oxalate detox journey as well. You can hear about why in my oxalate video here.

Common Causes of High Oxalates

There are three primary causes of high oxalates in the body. One is foods – certain fruits and vegetables, most nuts, and some whole grains. The second source is oxalic acid made inside the body, and the third is fungus.

Food Sources

Many of the foods we’re encouraged to eat for good health contain high levels of oxalates.  That may seem like a strange statement. You might be wondering: How are healthy foods bad for us? 

Oxalates are very tiny and very sharp crystals found in some plants.  They’re a natural defense to ensure their survival. Oxalates are the reason we thoroughly cook some vegetables such as taro or pokeweed before consuming them.

If we consume too many high oxalate foods, or have a hard time eliminating them from our bodies, a variety of health issues can occur.

Avoiding foods with oxalates can help with kidney stones as well as joint pain and many other health issues.

Nutritional Factors

One possible cause of excess oxalates is B6 deficiency. There is some evidence that supplementing with vitamin B6 can help reduce oxalate levels in the urine

Calcium also plays a role. Calcium in the gut binds to oxalates, preventing them from traveling to other parts of the body. When there isn’t enough calcium, oxalates move into the bloodstream. This leads to deposits in other tissues, such as the kidneys.

Diets too high in proteins and/or salts also can also contribute to unhealthy oxalate levels.

Last but not least, studies link low magnesium levels to the formation of kidney stones.


Fungus also produces oxalates. Mycotoxins from Candida (yeast) and Aspergillus (a type of mold) create oxalic acid from inside the body. Candida is everywhere in our environment. Aspergillus is often found in water-damaged buildings or wet marshy areas. 

Metabolic Factors

There are a few (rare) genetic differences that cause a condition called Primary Hyperoxaluria (PH).  With PH, the body lacks the enzymes needed to break down oxalates. This causes kidney stones, and in advanced cases, kidney disease.

Certain GI issues, such as Crohn’s Disease or Leaky Gut also lead to high oxalates and kidney stones. These individuals don’t have enough calcium in their gut to bind with oxalates to keep them out of the kidneys.

At least one study found a connection between Autism and high oxalates. Functional and Naturopathic practitioners believe that some people with Autism have a harder time ridding the body of oxalates. 

Ways to Prevent Kidney Stone Formation

There are many tools we can employ to keep stones at bay. Following are some of the top recommendations to reduce the recurrence of kidney stones.

Follow a Low Oxalate Diet: 

The Low Oxalate Diet is a widely used treatment option for kidney stone prevention.  This type of diet also helps joint and muscle pain, brain fog, and many other symptoms.

The body produces most oxalates through metabolic processes. But, reducing oxalates in your diet can still help to prevent or reduce the number of kidney stones you may get in the future.

Here are a few Low Oxalate Diet guides to get you started:

📝Healthline Oxalate Diet Guide

📝Nephrology Associates

📝Medical College of Wisconsin Food Oxalate Content List

Don’t Sweat It*

Sweating from rigorous exercise or saunas can reduce your urine volume, making it harder to pass small crystals.

If you participate in activities that involve a lot of sweating, make sure to stay well-hydrated.


Balance Magnesium, Calcium and Oxalates*

High oxalate foods also contain much of the magnesium you need to reduce stone formation. Occasional consumption of high oxalate foods is ok. Just make sure to eat them together with foods high in calcium or a calcium supplement.


Add Calcium*

Although kidney stones contain calcium, low calcium can actually lead to an increase in stones. The National Kidney Foundation says that eating calcium-rich foods together with oxalate-containing foods is one good way to manage your oxalate levels.


Stick to the Plan*

Research suggests that some recurrence of stones is due to patients not following dietary advice and taking medications regularly. Once you have a treatment plan that works for you, stick to it to the best of your ability.


Add Citrates*

Magnesium and calcium supplements pack more punch when paired with citrate. Citrate inhibits the binding of oxalates to calcium. It reduces the chances that oxalates in your kidneys or urine will form stones.

Magnesium citrate and/or calcium citrate are great supplement choices to add to your toolbox.  



Try Magnesium Citrate

Detox From Mold

When mold causes elevated oxalate levels, your doctor may prescribe a mold detox protocol. In this case, it’s also important to identify and remove sources of mold in your environment.

—>Our in-house wellness consultants can help with mold testing and detox plans!

Plus, here’s an oxalate detox supplement I’ve been taking for my chronic pain.

Add Probiotics

Some research indicates that probiotics such as lactobacilli and bifidobacterium play a role in breaking down oxalates. 

Other studies have found that a bacteria called Oxalobacter Formigenes may also be a factor in reducing crystal formation.  You can find this bacteria in foods like yogurt and kefir.

Limit Vitamin C 

Calcium oxalate stones require Vitamin C to form. For chronic kidney stone sufferers, limiting Vitamin C intake may help.

Add Vitamin B6

Some studies have shown that B6 supplements can help to lower the blood oxalate levels. When adding this supplement, it may be best to consult with your healthcare provider. The recommended dose of B6 for kidney stones is higher than what most labels recommend.

Kidney stones are certainly no walk in the park. While we can’t guarantee they’ll never return, I hope this information will make it easier for you to manage your oxalate levels.

Our wellness consultants would love to help you put together a personalized health or nutrition plan. We offer both virtual and in-person sessions right here in our Chattanooga, Tennessee location.

Here’s to your health.

-Ed Jones


*Source: National Kidney Foundation

Disclaimer. The information on this website and the topics discussed have not been evaluated by the FDA. Or, any one of the medical profession. And it is not aimed to replace any advice you may receive from your medical practitioner. Nutrition World assumes no responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of any purchaser or reader of any of these materials. Nutrition World is not a doctor, nor does it claim to be. Please consult your physician before beginning any health regimen. If you are being treated for any medical illness, check with your medical professional before starting any protocol
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