What are the oxalate intake recommendations for the treatment of hypercalciuria?

Updated: Apr 23, 2019
  • Author: Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

Oxalate is an organic acid found primarily in the leaves, bark, and fruit of plants. Its only known function in plants is to bind tightly with calcium. This is useful because it allows the plant to extract unwanted calcium from the internal circulation. The leaves containing the calcium-oxalate complex then can be discarded or shed by the plant. Humans absorb oxalate when oxalate-containing leaves and other vegetable products are eaten. Oxalate has no known useful function in human nutrition.

A relatively mild restriction of foods that contain high amounts of oxalate enables the body to avoid a reactive hyperoxaluria when intestinal oxalate-binding sites are reduced from a drop in oral calcium intake. Common foods with relatively high oxalate content include nuts, chocolate, colas, vegetables, rhubarb, spinach, collard greens, tea, and green, leafy vegetables.


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