Oxalates and their role in Fibromyalgia syndrome

Oxalates are nontoxic organic chemicals that may be found in certain foods, particularly vegetables and fruits. The formation of oxalic acid crystals in muscle and connective tissue cells is a possible cause of muscular pains and discomfort in people who suffer from Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).

FMS can be a debilitating condition that affects many systems in the body. It differs from arthritis and autoimmune response in that the muscles are not inflamed on biopsy. However, the discomfort can be just as severe and FMS is frequently unresponsive to medication. Other symptoms of FMS include chronic fatigue, headaches/migraines, brain fog, yeast overgrowth, sleeplessness, and hormone imbalance.

For many years, individuals with congenital hyperoxalosis have been advised low oxalate diets. People who suffer from this condition are prone to develop kidney stones and crystal arthritis. Oxalates can also cause other diseases, such as vulvodynia and vestibulitis (pain and inflammation in the vulvar region). So the notion of low oxalate diets has been around for some time – it’s just that academics are taking a closer look at how they might be connected to Fibromyalgia.

Dr. St. Amand

To treat FMS, Dr. St. Amand, author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia, recommends the use of guaifenesin medication. Guaifenesin increases the excretion of calcium, phosphate, and oxalate by 60%, 30%, and 30%, respectively. The medication guaifenesin is quite safe. The problem with this strategy is that it strictly prohibits the consumption of all salicylates (another organic chemical found in foods, personal care products, and other sources). Guaifenesin is also not a fast remedy, and it may take months for the body to eliminate pollutants and oxalates. A few people, on the other hand, have reported benefits from guaifenesin. (I recommend reading Dr. St. Amand’s book as a starting point for those interested in this medication.)

 

It’s possible that a calcium, magnesium, and oxalate interaction is taking place. Individuals who have high levels of oxalate in their bodies may not tolerate magnesium well, resulting in altered heart rhythms, nausea, sharp pains, and muscular aches (this can also occur with Epsom salts, which are magnesium sulfate). Certainly, people who are suffering from FMS should take calcium and magnesium citrate forms, which are more effective at preventing the absorption of oxalates and assisting with their excretion.

Candida and yeast overgrowth are linked to an oxalate connection. Oxalates are kept in check by good bacteria in the digestive tract, which break them down. Bad bacteria in the stomach may generate oxalates. Oxalates are known to deplete the immune system, making one more vulnerable to Candida infection. As a result, along with a low oxalate diet, yeast eradication is essential in order to reduce overall oxalate intake.

There are additional health concerns connected with oxalates in the body. One of the body’s vital antioxidants, glutathione, is destroyed by oxalates; zinc function is altered by oxalates, which may affect immune function; and oxalates also promote inflammation, a major problem in FMS.

A low oxalate diet might be an important component of your overall nutrition plan if you have FMS.

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