What Is Oxalate Dumping?
Food changes should always be handled with care if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). You don’t want to end up malnourished or with conditions like oxalate dumping.
Oxalate dumping is what can happen when you quit eating high oxalate foods all of a sudden (or even reduce too fast).
It can bring on a host of painful and irritating symptoms. Not to mention, it can also trigger your mast cells!
I’ve had several clients now who quit oxalates cold turkey instead of following my guidelines for slowly reducing oxalates.
I had laid out a careful plan for them for how to do this. I was very clear in our appointment that cutting out oxalates all at once was a bad idea.
But they were in a lot of pain. And they had severe brain fog.
So, they reasoned that if I said to cut back on oxalates, that must mean cutting out oxalates altogether was even better.
They were suffering and just wanted relief. Sometimes that clouds your better judgement. And if you have brain fog – a common symptom of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome – that clouds your judgement even more.
Unfortunately, that landed 2 of my clients in the hospital with kidney stones.
And it brought on increased joint pain and intestinal issues with the other.
Luckily, other clients who experienced oxalate dumping didn’t end up in the hospital. However, they did end up with painful symptoms.
Oxalate dumping is not something to take risks with if you have excess oxalates in your body.
That’s why I want to share more about oxalate dumping with you. I don’t want you to end up in the hospital or doubled over in pain!
Keep reading to learn more about:
- What is oxalate dumping?
- Oxalate dumping symptoms
- Oxalate management
- Supplements to bind oxalates
What Is Oxalate Dumping?
Oxalate dumping is thought to occur when you reduce your intake of oxalates too quickly.
You can end up experiencing some unwanted side effects when you suddenly stop consuming oxalates. We’ll look at those symptoms in just a moment.
These symptoms are likely the result of your body releasing stored oxalates.
But first, just what are oxalates?
What Are Oxalates?
You can learn more about what oxalates are in this post. But here’s a quick summary.
Oxalic acid is an organic compound found in many plants.
Oxalic acid binds to minerals producing oxalates. For example, when oxalic acid binds to calcium, calcium oxalate is produced. This is what can lead to calcium oxalate crystals that lead to kidney stones.
Oxalic acid and oxalates are technically two different things. Often, the terms are used interchangeably, though.
Oxalates are part of a plant’s defense mechanism. When you eat certain plants, you ingest these dietary oxalates.
Certain plant foods are oxalate rich foods. In other words, they have high amounts of oxalates.
Oxalates are microscopic crystals. And they can act as toxins in your body when you eat too many or are unable to process them.
That’s why your body stores them to begin with. This is sometimes referred to as oxalate absorption. Your body doesn’t want those toxins to circulate throughout your body.
Now, this doesn’t happen to everyone. Some people can eliminate oxalates naturally and efficiently through:
- Even tears
But what if you have clogged detox pathways? And what if you take in a lot of oxalates daily through the foods you eat?
Well, your body may not be able to keep up with your oxalate load. So, it stores oxalates to get them out of the way, so to speak.
But storing them doesn’t mean they aren’t still causing problems.
This storage can in part be why you develop Oxalate Intolerance.
Your body knows it has too much to deal with already and doesn’t want you to take in more. That’s why you can develop an intolerance to oxalates.
So, how does this all relate to oxalate dumping?
Keep reading to learn more.
It’s thought that when you quit taking in oxalates, your body starts to release some of the stored oxalates. It’s part of the process of ridding your body of these toxins.
But if you aren’t addressing clogged detox pathways, this oxalate dump may be too much for you to handle. And you might experience some unwanted side effects.
Your body is not going to be prepared to handle all these oxalates just yet. It will see this spike in oxalates in the bloodstream as poison. To respond to the poison, it will set off your immune system. This can show up as inflammation and sometimes debilitating pain.
Oxalate dumping is still new in terms of research. But practitioners have been seeing patterns emerge.
Like many of my colleagues, I’ve seen those who quit consuming oxalates suddenly end up with a lot of painful symptoms.
And reducing oxalates too fast can cause oxalate dumping as well.
It’s happened to me, too.
Have you quit eating high oxalate foods suddenly only to feel worse?
Next, take a look at some of the side-effects you might experience with oxalate dumping.
Oxalate Dumping Symptoms
A lot of different conditions and symptoms have been linked to oxalates.
Related Article: What Are Oxalates? The MCAS and Oxalate Intolerance Connection
Now, if you’re able to eliminate oxalates normally, you might not experience anything if you suddenly quit eating high oxalate foods. That’s because you don’t have a buildup of stored oxalates in your body.
However, if you have Oxalate Intolerance, it’s likely you do have stored oxalates.
If you’ve reduced or quit eating oxalates, either on purpose or by chance, you may have experienced a sudden onset of uncomfortable symptoms.
Here are symptoms of oxalate dumping you may have experienced.
Symptoms of oxalate dumping may include:
- Skin rashes or hives
- Mood changes
- Difficulty focusing
- Kidney pain
- Sandy eye excretions
- Mouth burning
- Joint pain / Joint burning
- Muscle pain / Muscle burning
- Gastrointestinal issues like:
- Painful bowel movements
- Sandy stools
- Leaky gut
- Urinary Tract Infection type symptoms like:
- Urinary burning
- Urinary urgency
There are a lot of symptoms and conditions that are related to oxalate toxicity. These are just a few that you may experience with oxalate dumping.
My fibromyalgia, joint pain, and urinary pain were all from oxalates. When I balanced my oxalates, these problems went away.
I’m going to show you how to lower oxalates in a safer way next.
How to Avoid Oxalate Dumping
You do want to get excess oxalates out of your system. But you want to do it slowly, so you don’t become more ill.
Here are a few key tips to avoid oxalate dumping.
- Slowly start a low oxalate diet
- Support oxalate elimination with binders
- Support hydration
Let’s start with looking at how to address your diet first.
1A. Reducing High Oxalate Foods Gradually
Before you change your diet on your own, please make sure you’re working with a healthcare practitioner who can help you with this. Never limit foods unnecessarily, and always have a licensed medical provider who is supervising your case.
Reducing high oxalate foods can go a long way toward decreasing your painful symptoms like joint pain and urinary pain.
But switching to only low oxalate foods all at once can make you very ill. You may cause “oxalate dumping” which is what you’ve been reading about.
So, you absolutely don’t want to quit eating oxalates all at once. If you are eating high oxalate foods, step these down very slowly.
And though you may think plants = oxalates, there is no need to switch to a carnivore diet. There are many plants that have lower oxalate levels.
It may help to start keeping a food journal to identify which high oxalate foods you are eating.
And you can use my low histamine foods list to find out which foods have high oxalate content.
I’ll share more about the low oxalate diet in next week’s post.
Reducing your oxalate consumption can go a long way to helping you with oxalate issues. But, again, just make sure you go very slowly. Reduce oxalate foods just a little at a time.
Here’s more on how to slowly reduce oxalates.
1B. Reducing Oxalates Slowly
One way to reduce oxalates slowly is to address just one high oxalate food at a time.
And reduce it by about 5% – 10% each week.
This is also why a food diary can be helpful. You can see how much of something you normally eat. And you can make adjustments accordingly.
For example, don’t just replace high oxalate beets with low oxalate radishes, turnips, or rutabaga.
Slowly cut back on the beets while introducing the new, lower oxalate food.
Don’t just cut out beets all at once.
My good friend and oxalate expert, Monique Attinger, taught me this. You can alternate high and low oxalate days to go even slower.
- Monday – higher oxalate day
- Tuesday – slightly lower oxalate day
- Wednesday – higher oxalate day
And continuing like this to step things down.
However you do it, be sure to listen to your body. If you start feeling worse, back up and get guidance from an oxalate expert.
If you have a history of kidney stones or kidney disease, definitely get help from an oxalate expert before stepping foods down.
That’s because kidney stones and oxalates have been closely linked. And if you start oxalate dumping, you can end up with higher levels of urinary oxalates. This can increase your risk of kidney stones.
Now you have an idea of how to reduce your oxalate intake.
Next, look at how to bind oxalates as you eliminate them to make it easier on your body and potentially lessen your oxalate dumping symptoms.
2. Oxalate Binders
It’s important you know that this blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone. If you have any medical condition, it is critical you work under the care and guidance of a licensed medical provider.
Oxalate binders are supplements that are used to attach to oxalate molecules. You can kind of think of it like a magnet that attracts oxalates.
Oxalates are sharp, and binding to another molecule can lessen their damage.
So, binders help with oxalate excretion. And that means a lesser chance of oxalate absorption or reabsorption.
Instead, they are removed from the body through the urine and stool.
Generally, you can take binders with meals.
Start very low and slow, though. Especially if you have a lot of sensitivities due to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
Start with just a sprinkle or dusting of any binder if you are sensitive.
It won’t be effective as a binder in these small amounts. But it will decrease the chance you’ll have negative reactions.
And, as your body slowly gets used to these supplements, you can build up. As you build up, you’ll get the full benefits of the binders.
Now, most oxalate sites will tell you to use citrates like magnesium citrate or calcium citrate. That’s fine if you don’t have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.
But if you do have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, citrates may not work well for you. This is because citrates are from fermentation. So, they are naturally high in histamine.
Here are safer options for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance:
Biotin can help bind oxalates.
You might consider calcium-magnesium malate.
MCHA is from microcrystalline hydroxyapatite bound to calcium.
Magnesium malate is most commonly used.
It’s hard to find a liquid form of magnesium chloride without potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate. Those are potentially mast cell triggering additives.
Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops have a good amount of magnesium chloride without the mast cell triggering preservatives.
This is a combo product, though. That means it has more than one ingredient. So, this may not be the right form of magnesium for you if you are very sensitive or don’t do well with combo products.
Magnesium oxide can help with constipation, but it can also worsen diarrhea and isn’t absorbed well.
Magnesium threonate can also be helpful with sleep.
Any of the magnesium types listed above can be helpful. You can choose one based on what you tolerate best.
Whatever you choose, go very slowly to start.
Overall, oxalate binders can be really helpful.
3. Support Hydration
I can’t stress enough the importance of staying properly hydrated.
Water is a natural antihistamine and an important part of detoxification.
Hydration helps eliminate excess oxalates from your body. And it can help reduce the concentration of oxalates in urine to avoid stone formation.
I recommend drinking a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water a day.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d want to drink at least 75 ounces of water each day.
That’s on the low end, though. You can aim for approximately 3 liters a day.
You can read more about the importance of clean water with MCAS here.
Slowly reducing oxalates, taking binders, and supporting hydration are all good steps to take to help minimize potential oxalate dumping.
But what if you take these precautions and still experience symptoms you think may be due to oxalate dumping?
Here are some ideas to help you troubleshoot.
Troubleshooting Oxalate Dumping
First and foremost, I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with your healthcare provider who knows your health history and risk factors before making any major changes to your diet.
And working with a practitioner who really understands oxalates will be beneficial, too. You always want to be sure you are getting proper nutrition if you need to eliminate foods from your diet.
Another thing I want you to know is that you may be able to eat oxalates again at some point in the future!
Just like with Histamine Intolerance, once you get Oxalate Intolerance under control and your oxalates balanced, you should be able to re-introduce some higher oxalate foods into your diet in moderation.
But while you are working to reduce your oxalate load and eliminate stored oxalates, here are some tips for what you can do if you start oxalate dumping.
As you read above in the section on binders, magnesium is an oxalate binder. Epsom salts are a form of magnesium sulfate.
You can take Epsom salt baths as one way to get magnesium.
Your skin is extremely absorbent, so even topical applications of magnesium can be helpful.
Epsom Salt Bath
You can start with Epsom salt baths at about 1 teaspoon of salt per bath. You can build up slowly from there.
One way to consider is to start with 1 bath/week. If you are very sensitive, you can start with even just a teaspoon of Epsom salt. Then you can increase by 1 teaspoon per week until you get up to 1-2 cups of salts per bath.
After a few weeks of tolerating that, you can try 2-3 baths a week.
This is just one suggestion. Everyone is different. Listen to your body and adjust as needed to fit your own sensitivity level.
Epsom Salt Foot Soak
You can also do an Epsom salt foot soak. The water to solution ratio will be more concentrated, so you may want to start with even less than 1 teaspoon if you are very sensitive.
You can use a bin like this to soak your feet.
There are a couple ways baking soda can help if you are oxalate dumping.
You can use baking soda in a bath, or you can drink it with water.
Baking Soda and Potassium Bicarbonate
You can experiment with the same slow introduction that’s outlined in the Epsom salt bath section above.
Baking Soda and Water
Talk with your provider about taking baking soda if you have high blood pressure.
But if you are able to have baking soda, you can consider helping oxalate dumping by taking ¼ – ½ teaspoon of baking soda in water 3x/day.
Start slower than that if you are sensitive. Remember you can always build up gradually. If you need to start with 1x/day, that’s ok, too.
Add Higher Oxalate Foods
Add in a little higher oxalate foods for a few days to slow it down until symptoms improve and then wean off:
- 2-3 almonds or macadamias (salicylate)
- 1-2 slices of beets (low salicylate)
- 4-5 hazelnuts (low salicylate, higher FODMAP)
These are very small portions.
NOTE: Some clients report that Coffee Enemas sooth their dumping as well. You’ll want to read that article to see if it may be something you try.
Oxalate Dumping Isn’t Forever
Oxalates can present a lot of issues. But knowing how to address them gently and slowly can make a difference.
My joint pain, that was caused by oxalates, was so bad at one time I needed orthopedic shoes.
When I reduced oxalate intake and properly supported oxalate elimination, my joint pain decreased.
And I was able to wear cute shoes again!
Always celebrate the small wins!
And always celebrate the big wins like being able to walk without severe pain!
It happened for me, and it can happen for you, too.
Learn More Beyond Oxalate Dumping
- What Are Oxalates? The MCAS and Oxalate Intolerance Connection
- Low Oxalate Diet & Low Oxalate Foods List
- Lectins, Low Lectin Foods, and the Mast Cell Connection
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