Listen to this podcast or watch the video. CLICK HERE
- 03:52 About Dr. William Shaw
- 06:20 What Are Oxalates?
- 11:09 Prevalence of Oxalates
- 15:40 Foods that Yield High Oxalates
- 21:06 Vitamin C and Oxalates
- 24:15 Health Conditions Caused By Excess Oxalates
- 28:39 Other Symptoms of Excess Oxalates
- 31:38/span> Dissolving Oxalates with Supplementation
- 35:20 Other Symptoms of Excess Oxalates
- 37:09 Other Health Issues and Problems Linked to Production of Oxalates
- 44:39 More Manifestations of Oxalates
- 48:40 Other Supplementations and Dietary Measures to Lower Oxalates
- 51:52 Other Foods to Avoid
- 55:16 Testing for Oxalates
- 59:32 The Most Pressing Health Issue in the World Today: Rate of Change of Technology
- 1:03:29 More about Dr. Shaw and Great Plains Laboratory
Wendy Myers: Welcome to the Live to 110 Podcast. My name is Wendy Myers and you can find me at myersdetox.com.
You can find this video podcast on my YouTube channel, WendyLiveto110. Please go there and subscribe. We have lots of videos there for you, all kind of educational materials. You can also find this video podcast on the corresponding blog post on the website, myersdetox.com.
Today, I’m so excited. We have Dr. William Shaw on the podcast. He is the founder of Great Plains Labs. They’re one of the labs that I use as a functional diagnostic nutritionist who test for all kinds of things. They have some of the most advanced test on the market today including testing for oxalates.
We’re going to be talking about oxalates on the show and how very prevalent they are and how they contribute to so many different health conditions, so many different big symptoms. And most medical doctors, it’s just not on their radar at all, especially if you have a pain syndrome or a chronic fatigue, autism (80% to 90% of children that have autism also have oxalate issues. It causes them a lot of health problems and pain, et cetera).
So we’re going to be talking about what causes oxalates, what they are and what you can do to reduce them in your body via supplementation and diet.
But first, we have to do the disclaimer. Please keep in mind that this program is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or health condition and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before engaging in any treatment that we suggest today on the show.
I’m so thrilled that my Body Bio Rehab Program is launched. Go check it out at BodyBioRehab.com. I get a lot of basic questions about health. I get hundreds of e-mails every week of people asking me, “How much should I exercise? What kind of exercise should I do? What’s the best diet?” and lots of questions about the most effective means of detox, et cetera.
I wanted to create this online program to answer all of those basic questions. It’s a very comprehensive program with five different modules – diet, sleep, stress, exercise and detoxification. There’s a video for every single module, lots of reading and videos, et cetera to help to educate you. There are also lots of program materials and workbooks, 30-day meal plan, et cetera to help you get on track and on the road to wellness.
The program absolutely will help you lose weight, increase your energy, reduce brain fog and get you the health results that you seek. So go look at it at BodyBioRehab.com.
You can also check out my healing and detox program, Mineral Power at MineralPower.com. This is the number one thing I do with all of my personal clients that I work with. It’s to start with a hair mineral analysis and get a complete health history of my clients to figure out the best course of action to eliminate their health symptoms and to reverse disease.
It’s a very comprehensive program that entails customized supplements targeted to your body chemistry, definitely detoxification. You have to address detoxification if you ever plan to be well and have the energy that you enjoyed as a youth. In our toxic modern world, if you don’t have detox in your health regimen, you are not going to be healthy. It’s just not possible today. So go check that out at MineralPower.com.
Our guest today is Dr. William Shaw. He is an American chemist, autism researcher and the founder of the Great Plains Laboratory. Shaw has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Georgia and a PhD from the Medical University of Southern California and also one in Biochemistry.
After obtaining his PhD, Shaw spent six years working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he was a supervisory research chemist and the chief of the Radioimmunoassay Laboratory. His laboratory, the Great Plains Laboratory, which he founded in 1996, specializes in metabolic and nutritional testing particularly as it pertains to autism.
Dr. Shaw, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
William Shaw: My pleasure.
Wendy Myers: Why don’t you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself and how you got into research and what you’re researching now?
William Shaw: Yeah. So Great Plains Laboratory was started as a result of a lifetime goal of mine. When I got out of school, I thought that the technology of mass spectrometry was just becoming widely available and I thought if you were able to test urine samples, you’d be able to, in essence, learn every single thing about a person’s physiology. And by knowing every single molecule, you’d be able to know what was causing the illness. With that knowledge, you’d be able to institute a treatment based on those abnormalities.
So that was just getting out of graduate school. That was my goal and it took a lot longer than I anticipated to realize my journey. But eventually, I got there and largely accomplished that, which is a nice thing to do.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I love your lab. I’m an FDN, so I do all of your testing. I love the fatty acids profile and the OAT, the Organic Acids Test. You have a lot of really great tests. The metal and mineral RBC test is great as well.
Wendy Myers: But let’s talk about oxalates. I want to focus on oxalates because I’m really surprised by how many clients that I’m testing that have oxalates. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about what oxalates are?
William Shaw: Yeah. So oxalates are a small molecule and they form crystals. Probably a lot of people have seen oxalates. If they’ve walked out in the woods, sometimes there’s some yellowish mold growing at the bottom of dead trees. It’s very common for mold and fungus to make oxalates.
If you go into moldy buildings like at the [inaudible 00:07:07], I saw some black mold on the ceiling. You could see stalactites coming down and more than likely, those were stalactites of oxalates.
So they’re produced by mold, fungus and probably Candida, but the human body also produces them as a waste product.
Sometimes they’ll get into murder cases. There was a case where one physician got mad at her boyfriend and put antifreeze in his coffee. Antifreeze is not toxic itself. It’s toxic because it’s converted to oxalates. That’s what makes it poisonous.
As a result of that, one of the consumer groups made a very bitter material that has to be put into antifreeze to prevent poisoning like that. So it’s a very toxic thing. It’s one of the most common reasons that cats and dogs die in the wintertime because a car may have a leaky radiator and the ethylene glycol, which is in the antifreeze is very sweet tasting. So they lick it and then developed the oxalate crystals and die.
So it’s a very toxic compound with different chemicals. They have the sheets they call MSDS sheets. So every chemical that’s produced has to have this fact sheet on what the substance is and what kinds of harm it can cause you and how much it would take to kill you.
If you look up the oxalate MSDS sheet, you’ll see that it says between 500 to 1500 milligrams of oxalate can be lethal. What’s interesting is this is the same range of oxalate that’s found in the common green smoothie. It’s exactly that same amount. Rather than being a health food, I would call it a health catastrophe food. Anybody who’s taking this on a regular basis has the possibility of radically altering their health for the worse.
So in addition to forming in the kidneys, these oxalates can form in all the tissues in the body. They can form in the brain, in the thyroid, in the liver, in the skin, in the heart. They can cause atherosclerosis. As a matter of fact, I strongly suspect that the oxalate problem is probably a more important factor in atherosclerosis than cholesterol is.
Wendy Myers: Yeah.
William Shaw: This just has to do with fads and trends in the medical fields. You’ve got this huge number of researchers working on cholesterol. Of course, the more they work, the more grants they get and then the more drug companies see it as a profit potential and pretty soon, you’ll have all this huge number of drugs for lowering cholesterol. And yet, I think there are other factors that are equally or more important in the treatment of many diseases.
It’s called the pylon effect when somebody gets into a field, a whole bunch of people do it. It’s just like Hulu hoops.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. So how prevalent are oxalates? Like I said, I’m surprised by how many my clients have oxalates. I was convinced I had oxalates, but I did an Organic Acids Test and I don’t have them. I was very, very happy.
William Shaw: I love the way that you don’t have it. So I bet you’re not one of the people drinking green smoothies every day.
Wendy Myers: I did that for a while and I didn’t feel great after doing them. I did them for a couple of years and I just didn’t see an improvement in my health and they were pretty disgusting. So I stopped drinking those. I don’t recommend them to my clients either.
William Shaw: Yeah.
Wendy Myers: So how prevalent are oxalates in our society?
William Shaw: I think that they’re extremely prevalent now because of these health fads. I did a Google search and there were 609,000 hits for green smoothies, but I think there were only about three hits for the toxic effects of oxalates that might be in the green smoothie. So it really is a huge fad.
In addition to that is the spinach salad. I don’t know how many people have come to me and said, “I wanted to make a shift to better food in my diet, to a healthier diet” and they proceed that a healthier diet was something that tasted really bad, which was a huge bowl of raw spinach. And sometimes they topped it off with other high oxalate foods like berries and nuts. So they had the perfect storm for a high oxalate diet.
Virtually, every one of those I talked to ended up with kidney stones, not realizing that it was related at all. A lot of people, when they hear something is healthy, they don’t question the source and it is purely a fad.
Wendy Myers: Can people tolerate those foods on occasion say if they have a healthy gut and they don’t have tons of yeast and mold, et cetera in their body in making oxalates?
William Shaw: Well, a lot of oxalate is right in the food itself though. So for example – I became extremely interested in it a number of years ago. But then I recently found out that there was research from about 75 years ago that was done by the Campbell Soup Company.
There were food chemists and they wanted to see what vegetables they should put in the Campbell’s vegetable soup. So they said, “Well, we’d better check it out and make sure they’re really healthy.” They put rats on different diets.
The one that was high in spinach was remarkable because a high percentage of the rats died on a 10% spinach diet. And their teeth got loose and fell out. Their bones became extremely soft and they found it impossible to reproduce. Because of that, I think they decided that putting a lot of spinach in their soup would not be a good move.
So it’s sometimes very worthwhile to go back to the older literature. A lot of people think, “If an article is old, it must be out of date.” But if the science is done well – Mendel’s laws are still in effect even though they were done, the experiments were done 150 years ago. They were done correctly and rigorously and they’re still in effect. Old doesn’t mean necessarily out of date.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, our bodies don’t change.
William Shaw: That’s right. We have very close to the same DNA that our ancestors had 50,000 years ago. We haven’t had that much change in our underlying genetic material.
Wendy Myers: What common chemicals can cause excess oxalates that people may be unaware of?
William Shaw: So the biggest thing is the food. And in addition to spinach, there are some that are similar to spinach. Arugula and Swiss chard are also very high in oxalates.
The difficulty is that there are some things if you cook, you denature those things. But oxalate isn’t one of them. So oxalate is a very sturdy molecule and you could boil it for days and it’s still going to be just as toxic as it was prior to starting the cooking process.
The only advantage in cooking would be if you boil something like spinach for a long period of time. A lot of the oxalates might go into the water. So oxalate is very insoluble, but it would be more soluble in boiling hot water. So by boiling it extensively and chopping the spinach into tiny, tiny pieces, you could probably a lot of the oxalates, but you can’t do that with a spinach salad. In a spinach salad, you’re going to get a huge chunk of the oxalates that are in there.
Another source of oxalates that you have to be aware of is high doses of vitamin C. When vitamin C decomposes, it can form oxalates. In the medical literature, it’s controversial. Some articles indicate that even 500 milligrams, greater 500 milligrams might result in increased oxalate whereas others indicate you have to exceed 2000.
What I think I suspect is it is biochemical individuality that some people don’t form oxalates from vitamin C until it gets to very high levels and some people will. One of the important factors is if the person has excess iron or copper. It accelerates the breakdown of vitamin C to form oxalates. So that is a very important factor.
It became embroiled in some controversy because one of the prison systems in the United States, the Illinois State Prisons decided they would save money by not giving the prisoners meat and they were going to give them soy protein in place of meat. So they were giving them soy burgers and soy turkey.
Wendy Myers: So they’re getting tortured.
William Shaw: And they’re also giving them soy bread and soy cookies. And they were coming down with terrible illnesses and heart disease. So they’ve actually initiated a lawsuit against the prison system.
So these individuals suffering were just not eating the prison food at all. The prisoners are able to make some money in the prison shops and they were just eating the junk food in the prison commissary. They prefer the diet to the toxic oxalate that they were getting from the state.
That’s still ongoing as far as I know. Lawsuit hasn’t resolved yet.
Wendy Myers: So soy is high in oxalates as well?
William Shaw: Yes. Soy is another one. Soy and spinach are so high that I actually think they’re not suitable as human foods.
If you use spinach at all, I would say use it as a garnish like people use parsley. Eating a very small amount isn’t going to be harmful, but any large portion, the oxalates in there are so high that not only the oxalate is toxic, but they also bind the person’s calcium and magnesium and zinc and other essential elements and keep the person from absorbing healthy minerals.
Even though there are some beneficial elements in spinach and soy, the fact that they are chelating agents prevents them from being a healthy food. The amount of protein of course in spinach is negligible. Soy does have some protein, but the amount of oxalates is just gigantic.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I stopped eating soy a long time ago for many, many different reasons. Let’s talk a little bit more about vitamin C. So you said vitamin C can turn into oxalates in some individuals.
William Shaw: Yes.
Wendy Myers: Should it be completely avoided if you have oxalates?
William Shaw: I think I would just recommend keeping the intake to 500 milligrams a day or less. I think that you would be pretty safe in most cases.
Some of the applications where it’s used in intravenously, absolutely gigantic values like 100 grams a day or sometimes used in an infusion. I think that could be toxic and it could cause some kidney stones or oxalates depositing in other tissues as well.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I agree. I think that it’s just crazy to do mega dosing like that of any nutrient because our body only absorbs so much at one time. What about the differences between a food based vitamin C like Amla or Camu Camu, liposomal or just plain old synthetic ascorbic acid? Do all of these forms turn into oxalates?
William Shaw: Yes. Once these forms of vitamin C are absorbed, they’re all basically going to be converted to the same biochemical form regardless of whether you take the buffered form or the plain ascorbic acid or ascorbate. Once they’re in the body, they’re pretty much going to be converted to exactly the same thing.
I’ve cut back. I used to recommend much higher doses of vitamin C. And since learning this information, I’ve been more conservative about the doses I had recommended.
Like I said, I don’t know whether this happens in every single person. The major factor is does the person have excessive copper and or iron in their blood stream. If they have the excess free copper or free iron, this could be toxic.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, so you would recommend much lower vitamin C for these individuals?
William Shaw: Yeah.
Wendy Myers: No vitamin C or just lower like maybe 100 or 200 milligrams?
William Shaw: No, I think I’d feel comfortable going up as high as 500 milligrams I think for an adult. And then of course for children, it would be scaled down proportionately by body weight. Assuming an average adult is 150 pounds, so if you have a 75 pound child, you would use 250 as a maximum.
Wendy Myers: Okay.
William Shaw: Somewhere along those lines.
Wendy Myers: Okay. Let’s talk about some of the health conditions that can be caused by oxalates. So there are lots of different health conditions exacerbated by oxalates. Can we talk a little bit about those?
William Shaw: Yeah. One of the most dramatic is autism. About 90% of children with autism have elevated oxalates. And it was interesting when I first started doing research in autism, I had noticed that, but I didn’t publish the results because I just thought it was impossible.
Later on, there became additional people who were reporting that and I felt comfortable releasing my earlier data on that. It’s been found that reducing oxalates by a variety of techniques helps tremendously with the symptoms of autism. Many of them have gastrointestinal symptoms, but it also helps behavioral symptoms and increased learning ability.
Oxalates can form anywhere in the body including the brain and the blood-brain barrier. When they do, they can impair the function of whatever tissue they form in. They can short-circuit nerves because if oxalate crystals are blocking a nerve pathway, then that nerve signal may not progress.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. And they can really gum up your methylation cycles as well. Correct? It will prevent you from detoxifying?
William Shaw: The oxalates can be a major problem as far as detoxification and the biggest problem with oxalates is that they are extremely powerful chelating agents. Ordinarily, you might think, “Oh, that’s good.” But unlike therapeutic chelating agents that take heavy metals out of the body, oxalates trap heavy metals inside the body.
When oxalates have the highest affinity of almost any substance for trapping mercury and lead, if the person is exposed to that, it reacts with oxalate and forms an insoluble crystal and then those insoluble crystals form inside all the different tissues in the body. So whatever toxic metal you’re exposed to is being kept instead of being eliminated.
One of the best things you can do if you’re exposed to toxic metals is – one of the ways to eliminate them is use the lowest oxalate diet that you can find.
Unfortunately, all these people with their spinach salads and green smoothies have stored up tremendous amounts of toxic metals in their body, which becomes worse and worse as they get older. Really in some ways, aging isn’t losing function. It’s just an accumulation of toxic factors.
Each year, you accumulate a little more toxic chemical. At some time, it reaches a tipping point and you begin to have a bunch of negative health effects due to the long term accumulation of toxic substances like lead and mercury and other toxic metals.
Wendy Myers: I love that you said that. I absolutely agree with that because there’s too much evidence of healthy individuals around the world living through their hundreds, et cetera. But here in the United States, we’re so toxic and have less than enviable diet, et cetera. And people are coming to toxicity, not old age.
William Shaw: That’s right.
Wendy Myers: So I think people can live a very long time into old age and be very healthy if they play their cards right.
Wendy Myers: What are some other signs? What are the typical health signs that you have oxalates?
William Shaw: It can be almost anything. For example, vulvodynia where the women have the reproductive track as raw and painful. This can be due to the deposits of oxalates in the vagina and the rest of the reproductive track.
The treatment is the same in each case, which is to get used to low oxalate diet, treat Candida or other fungus that may be there and of course vaginal Candida is extremely common. And use calcium and magnesium citrate as nutritional supplements. For an adult, 300 milligrams of calcium citrate and 100 milligrams of magnesium citrate with each meal.
It has to be with the meal. If you miss a meal, you can’t take more the next meal because the citrate forms help to prevent the oxalates from being absorbed. They have to be taken with the meal.
And then another very important factor is vitamin B6. In the body, there is a branch point and precursors of oxalate can go two ways. If they go one way, they form oxalate. So the body can produce oxalates as well. If there’s adequate B6, the body converts these precursors to glycine, which is not toxic at all compared to oxalate.
So having adequate B6 is a very important health factor. And this is something that everybody can do because B6 is one of the least toxic nutritional substances. A dose of 100 milligrams a day is very safe. There are almost never side effects at that dose for an adult. And at that dose, there is a significant increase in life expectancy.
A study was done in Texas where a family physician put a part of his patients on B6 at 100 milligrams a day and the other not. The patients on B6 lived an average of eight years longer than the patients not getting B6. The only side effect to B6 is longer life.
Wendy Myers: Are there any other supplements one can take to dissolve oxalates? I’ve heard that essential oil lemon, which is basically pure potassium citrate, can be helpful as well.
William Shaw: Yeah. That’s another one. So citrate of any form is helpful and it’s found if you do the Organic Acids Test. People with low citric acid in their urine would be more susceptible to problems with oxalates.
Taking more magnesium in general. Magnesium citrate is the best form, but any form of magnesium is helpful because it helps to dissolve oxalates.
And drinking a lot of water is important. It’s been found people are much more likely to have kidney stones in the southern United States than in the north just because it’s hotter and people get dehydrated. People who are dehydrated are much more likely to have kidney stones, but also these crystals of oxalate in their other organs as well.
One of the most dramatic side effects of the high oxalate is they can form in the eyes. So it’s a common factor in children with autism. And part of it is due to a lot of those children are on a milk-free diet. So they aren’t getting adequate amounts of calcium. So these oxalate crystals form in their eye. More than 20 children with autism actually pulled their own eyes out because the pain was so bad that they couldn’t tolerate it anymore.
The oxalate crystals in the autopsy, it’s found that these crystals do indeed form in the eye. They can form in the thyroid gland and cause thyroid disorder. In a series of autopsies, it was found that a significant number of people had the oxalate crystals in their atherosclerotic lesions in their coronary arteries. I suspect this is a very common problem. The finding of cholesterol in the arteries may be due to an attempt by the body to damn the damage done by the oxalates.
So the oxalates have a direct negative effect on the production of the endothelial lining of the arteries. They have a pronounced effect on killing the cells that keep the artery walls smooth with the endothelial lining. So I think this is a very important factor.
I don’t know when this is going to happen. At some time, there will be a tremendous new interest in this thing. But right now, I think the manufacturers of statin drugs prefer to keep everybody’s interest focused on cholesterol even though low cholesterol can be just as harmful as high cholesterol.
Wendy Myers: Are there any other signs of oxalates? I know a lot of my clients that I found with oxalates have really tight muscles, really painful stiff muscles. Are there any other signs?
William Shaw: Absolutely. That is a sign. What I suspect is perhaps the majority of patients with fibromyalgia – what the fibromyalgia pains are I suspect are the oxalate crystals being deposited in the muscle cells.
And there are lots of slides available showing the oxalate crystals can form in the heart as well and inhibit the transmission of the nerve signal that causes the heart beats. So the oxalates can also cause arrhythmias as well if they are at such concentrations that they’re impairing the conduction signal in the heart.
There is just a huge number. In some people, the oxalates will appear in the skin and you can actually see them. You will see white specks of the crystals actually appearing in the skin. If gets severe enough, it causes the skin to become necrotic and they will just turn black.
Initially, they may see these crystals in the skin itself. And then as more and more of these crystals, it will just completely start to damage the skin causing it to turn black and blue.
Wendy Myers: Do you think that anyone with kidney stones, without a doubt, have oxalate issues?
William Shaw: It’s something like 80% to 90% of kidney stones are due to oxalates. So anybody who’s ever had a kidney stone should be looking at this angle and should be tested and probably also get the DNA testing. There are certain individuals who have the genes that are much more likely to result in kidney stones because they don’t detoxify them as well or the individual is producing higher amounts of oxalates than normal.
So DNA testing is going to be available. It’s something Great Plains is very interested. We’re planning on having that testing available in the fall.
Wendy Myers: Which kind of testing?
William Shaw: The DNA testing.
Wendy Myers: Oh, the DNA testing. Okay great.
William Shaw: For all the genes involved in oxalate metabolism.
Wendy Myers: Fantastic, yeah. So oxalates can also promote leaky gut if they perforate the gut wall.
William Shaw: Yeah.
Wendy Myers: Can you talk a little bit about that and how gut infections, which are so prevalent in our society today, promote the production of oxalates?
William Shaw: One of the problems is if there’s not enough digestion and absorption of fats, some of the fats can bind calcium, the non-absorbed fats bind calcium and then the calcium can’t combine with the oxalate. That makes the oxalates be absorbed into the body.
If they form with calcium, then they precipitate out and they’re lost in the stool. But if there’s a lot of unabsorbed fat due to factors like GI infection, it’s much more likely that oxalates will be absorbed into the body.
There’s a wide range of problems that can be caused by the oxalates. They can form in the testes and cause reproductive problems in males. Maybe that’s why men don’t like to eat those spinach salads as much as the women.
Wendy Myers: They have to go with their intuition on that one.
William Shaw: So a large number of the factors – oxalates at high amounts can deposit in the bone marrow, so the person can actually get become anemic due to the fact that oxalates actually get into the bone marrow and crowd out the cells in the bone marrow that are producing the red cells and white cells. So the person will become anemic and also can have their immune system impaired because the oxalates are crowding out the cells that are responsible for immunity.
So they’re really bad players and there is no benefit to oxalates that is purely considered to be a waste product. And occasionally, animals will have problems with the oxalates as well if they’re eating certain foods in the pasture, in the wild that are high in oxalates. The animals can have similar problems.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. Yeast definitely will contribute to oxalate issues and production of oxalates. Whenever I have a client talking about that they’ve got long standing Candida issues, I automatically think they probably got oxalate issues.
William Shaw: They probably got oxalates. So I see a very high correlation between those two factors. I have a friend who is an ENT, ear, nose and throat specialist. I’m sorry for that.
Wendy Myers: That’s okay.
William Shaw: And he had a patient who had severe sinus problems. He did an X-ray and found oxalate stalactites in the sinus of the patient. It was due to because they had a mold infection of the sinuses.
A few years ago, Mayo Clinic did a study and found that most sinus infections are due to fungus, not to bacteria where the most common treatments are to give the person antibiotics, which of course cause the mold and fungus to proliferate and make the sinus problems worse.
So he put the patient on an antifungal therapy. The follow-up showed that the stalactites had disappeared.
Wendy Myers: Whoa, that’s mind blowing that there are stalactites in your sinuses.
William Shaw: Which brings up the prison study of the prisons that we did extensive. We found that all these prisoners did indeed have high oxalates. And one of them actually had severe stomach problems on X-ray. It was found they had stalactites of oxalates in their stomach. So the oxalates can be highly significant.
The other thing is that oxalates are unique and they’re one of the few things that are absorbed primarily in the stomach. Most of the oxalates are absorbed in the stomach. Perhaps 90% with only maybe 10% or 20% are being absorbed in the intestine.
Wendy Myers: Why is that?
William Shaw: I don’t know. That’s a very hard question.
Wendy Myers: It’s kind of like alcohol. Alcohol is absorbed in the stomach too.
William Shaw: [inaudible 00:43:43] When you get your lab or you make a big donation to a laboratory, they’ll find out why those oxalates are absorbed in the stomach.
What I suspect is it’s because the stomach is so acidic. It’s like a pH of one, which is extremely acidic. And at that pH, the oxalates are all in a form, which I think is more easily absorbed. Whereas the body and the bloodstream are at a different pH and they’re probably somewhat less likely to be absorbed, whereas in the stomach, that very low pH allows them to be absorbed more readily.
Wendy Myers: Any other signs of oxalates?
William Shaw: Let’s see. It can almost be any medical problem. It could be having thyroid problems because it’s been found that the individuals who have low thyroid, which is of course a very common problem, especially in women, that the amount of thyroid hormone being produced is dramatically reduced if these oxalate crystals are forming in the thyroid gland.
One thing to remember is that some people, if they have the oxalates, they don’t necessarily have kidney stones. So at autopsy, they found there were a lot of people who had oxalate crystals in their thyroid, in their testes and other organs in the body, but did not have oxalates in their kidneys or bladders.
What’s interesting is that there’s just a whole array of illnesses that can be associated with the oxalate problems. I think it is one of the great new possibilities for new medical therapies, a whole new approach in looking at this problem.
The value of the Organic Acids Test is we check the oxalates, but we check for the factors that contribute like the Candida and fungus markers. We also check for the vitamin B6. B6 deficiency is one of the major factors associated with excessive oxalates. And we also check for the markers that are associated with genetic forms of oxalate problems. So there is a wide range of information that helps.
It was interesting as I was preparing a seminar, I came across a general physician and general practitioner in the UK who was eating the green smoothie type of diet then had severe fibromyalgia. The headline of the story was “Throw out those healthy berries.”
So she got relief. She had been severely impaired. She had a fibromyalgia support group. Just two days of removing the high oxalate diet and changing to the so called unhealthy diet of meat and potatoes, all her fibromyalgia pain was gone. And to prove it, she went back on the old diet and within a short time, all her symptoms returned.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I think it’s one of those things where if you have any kind of chronic pain syndrome and the doctors can’t figure out what it is, I think definitely doing Organic Acids Test is the way to go.
William Shaw: That would be it and especially the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Those are by far some of the more common things. Like I said, virtually every single kid with autism has the problem of the high oxalates.
Wendy Myers: So when people are embarking on their low oxalate diet, do they have to be a little bit careful not mixing all of the oxalates right away because you start detoxifying, you start releasing all these heavy metals that are bound into the oxalates? What are your thoughts on that to maybe taper it slowly?
William Shaw: That could be a factor. So I think it’s definitely worthwhile to use the calcium and magnesium citrate at the same time because the magnesium has the ability, if you put in high amounts of it, to displace the heavy metals from the oxalates.
One of the physicians who had heard my seminar was impressed and really started using magnesium supplements for a lot of her patients and had extremely good results in reversing their problems with the magnesium supplementation. It will displace the heavy metals from binding to the oxalate.
It would be especially important to be drinking lots of water and the citrate is very useful. There you go. The citrates, so any of the citrus beverages of which there’s plenty of those around or just taking potassium citrate, I think you mentioned that. But anything containing citrate would be very helpful in that regard.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I was reading on your website, the Great Plains Lab website, that there are a few other supplements that could possibly be good at eradicating oxalates. One of them was arginine.
William Shaw: Yeah, arginine could be useful.
Wendy Myers: How is that helpful?
William Shaw: It helps to prevent the crystals forming. And so omega-3 fatty acids were useful as well.
Wendy Myers: Okay.
William Shaw: So those would be the other supplements. But the big one is to make sure of taking out the highest oxalate foods from the diet. That’s probably the most important factor. I began to reduce those.
Unfortunately, I think that spinach is just not what the Popeye was really using. I’m convinced that Popeye was really eating these big cans of spinach and having big biceps, he would have muscles full of toxic oxalates…
Wendy Myers: And crystals.
William Shaw: …and crystals. His muscles would very soon become necrotic.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. So what other foods should you be avoiding that are really, really high in oxalates? I’ve heard wheatgrass juice can be really, really high. Do we just need to avoid a lot of the green vegetables, the leafy green vegetables?
William Shaw: For example, lettuce is a good substitute. It’s not nearly as high. Broccoli is good.
Now all vegetables have some amount of oxalate. So you’d go crazy if you try to eliminate every oxalate containing food. Plus, even some of the amino acids in meat can be converted by the body to oxalates.
The only one you really have to worry about is gelatin. Gelatin doesn’t contain any oxalates, but it has an amino acid hydroxyproline that the body can convert to oxalates. That would be one of the foods you should consider eliminating is gelo.
Wendy Myers: Okay, gelo. I know a lot of people…
William Shaw: I like doing this because I never liked gelo anyway. So I get a perverse pleasure in knocking all these foods that I never liked to begin with. People are always telling me, I should eat these things because they were good for me.
Wendy Myers: I think you’re probably freaking out a lot of the listeners, the Paleo community because a lot of them love to put Great Lakes Gelatin, et cetera in their smoothies or their drinks or what have you. What exactly is the problem about how they can create oxalates?
William Shaw: Yeah. The big thing is that gelatin has perhaps 20% of the amino acids or this hydroxyproline that the body converts to oxalate. That’s the big problem. There’s no other substance. There’s no other food that has anywhere near. So all proteins have a small amount of this hydroxyproline, but only gelatin has the huge amounts.
Again, in animal studies, they showed if they put the animals on a diet and supplement them with a lot of gelatin, they developed very high oxalates in their urine within a short period of time.
Wendy Myers: Wow.
William Shaw: So these things again – if people are only eating them occasionally, it’s probably not going to cause a problem. But if they think that the gelatin is the Rosetta Stone for all their food problems and start eating it daily, that’s where they’re going to run into problems.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I think it’s just the old saying, “Everything in moderation.”
William Shaw: Yes.
Wendy Myers: Don’t go crazy with only one food even if it’s healthy and you get too much of a good thing.
William Shaw: Yeah.
Wendy Myers: You said to test for oxalates, you want to do an Organic Acids Test.
William Shaw: Yeah. It’s just going to need a small morning urine sample.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. And I’m surprised. I’ve had a lot of clients that were like, “I’ve had an Organic Acids Test already from Genova Labs or something.” And they don’t test for oxalates.
William Shaw: Yeah.
Wendy Myers: Are there any other lab testing for oxalates?
William Shaw: Mayo Clinic, but you would have to do a separate test. The advantage of our test is it not only tests for oxalates, but it tests for all the things related to it, Candida, vitamin B6 and citrate and the precursors of oxalates. We have the best testing available for the oxalate problem.
Wendy Myers: I absolutely agree. It amazes me that there are so many amazing labs out there and there are just some myopic and not testing for catching this very common problem.
William Shaw: Yeah. So there is a high percentage of abnormalities, one of the most common abnormalities that I find. So there must be consequences for many different illnesses, but a lot of people unfortunately are missing that information.
Wendy Myers: How long does it take to get rid of oxalates?
William Shaw: According to this physician, it only took her two days. I don’t think she was rid of it, but she was rid of a lot of the symptoms of it. It can sometimes take months because these things do accumulate in the tissue and it will be a step-by-step situation.
Most of the time, they’re not going to be all solubilized simultaneously. It will be controlled by the body and they’ll be gradually removed.
I could see I guess it’s possible there might be a few cases where there’s too much and then you could end up with kidney stones. But I think ordinarily, the body will regulate itself and these things will be slowly eliminated overtime. For the person who’s been on one of these high oxalate diets for a long time, I would say it probably takes several months before the body has removed most of these oxalate deposits.
What I suspect too is that this is another factor in women’s health. It’s been found that individuals with high oxalates – the oxalate actually gets into the bone structure. So the oxalate is forming in the bone crystals by reacting with the calcium and it markedly weakens the bones. I think that’s why some of the older women are having problem with breaking bones and broken hips. If they’ve had this oxalate problem and they have large deposits of this, it may take months or perhaps even in some cases, a year or more before these things are all gotten rid of.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. Dr. Shaw, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really, really appreciate it. It was so good. I was so excited to have you on the podcast to talk about this because I realized how pressing an issue the oxalate prevalence is in our society and contributing to our health issues.
William Shaw: Well, it’s my pleasure. Thank you very much.
Wendy Myers: Yes. And I have one more question I like to ask you.
William Shaw: Yeah.
Wendy Myers: What do you think is the most pressing health issue in the world today?
William Shaw: The most pressing health issue I think is the rate of change of technology. We are altering the entire biosphere so rapidly with things like genetically modified foods that require very toxic herbicides or pesticides to go together with the genetically modified like the GMO soy and the GMO corn that require roundup, which is the glyphosate or there are new ones that are going to require 2,4-D.
All of these things are being introduced into our society at extremely rapid rate. It sometimes takes 30 or 40 years to determine the toxicity of these things. So our ability to introduce new products and alter the entire biosphere of the earth, that ability is dangerous because we don’t have time to assess what we’re actually doing. We’re making huge changes without knowing what the long term effects are.
I think this is made even more dangerous because of the huge population of the earth. I don’t know what the easy answer is. I saw that there may need to be some fundamental change in families. Maybe we all can’t have a bunch of kids if we are going to save the earth because with a huge population, that makes it even more difficult because the argument for all these genetically modified foods is we’re going to have to do this to support the huge population we have.
I think that we’re going to have to find some way at sometime of hopefully voluntarily limiting the human population back to maybe the numbers that we’re in the year 1900 and also putting a lot more stringent regulations on the interactions of new chemicals and technology and obviously global warming. All of these things are related to the huge human population and the profit mode of chemical companies producing new products that are introduced without adequate oversight.
Those are the biggest problems that I see and are the toughest challenges. I think we should be asking our presidential candidates questions about these things, how are they going to deal with these issues.
Wendy Myers: It seems now they’re just getting paid with the corporate lobbyists and being paid under the table and they turn a blind eye to it. So it’s probably not going to change. That’s why I advocate infrared saunas to just sweat out all these chemicals. It’s probably going to be the only insurance people can have against the toxic effects of all these chemicals, to just clean our body.
William Shaw: That’s great. I’m glad you brought that up because that’s a great way for a person to detoxify most of these toxic chemicals.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Dr. Shaw, can you tell the listeners where they can find you and anything that you’re up to in the future, any research projects, et cetera?
William Shaw: Yeah. One of the new exciting research projects that have just come out is the phospholipase. It is the toxin produced by rattlesnakes. It’s in rattlesnake poison. And it is the most common molecule produced in inflammation. It’s toxic for exactly the same reason that rattlesnake venom is toxic because it causes the production of too many molecules that cause pain and inflammation.
This test just became available. I’m very excited and I think it will apply to virtually every chronic illness. It has an involvement with this molecule. And what’s so exciting is that there’s a simple nutritional supplement that can reverse that particular problem.
And also we’re just on the verge of the introduction of a urine test for 165 chemicals in the urine for non-metals, so non-metal toxic substances.
Wendy Myers: Oh, I’m excited about that one.
William Shaw: Pesticides, phthalates, the whole gamut of common toxic chemicals. And I mentioned also in the fall, we’ll have one of the most comprehensive SNP assays. That’s available anywhere.
We’re looking at a lot of different factors that I think are important. I mentioned oxalates, but there are many other pathways that are not getting attention. So it would be one of the most comprehensive SNP panels available anywhere. So look for that in the fall.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I’m really excited.
William Shaw: You get the website.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, what’s the website again?
William Shaw: The website is GPL4U.com. And on the website, there are about 100 different webinars that are available, that are archived that you can look at anytime on a whole host of interesting topics for different diseases.
So I think that you would find that extremely interesting. It’s a great resource that you can look at, at 2:00 in the morning if you have insomnia.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. Or the oxalate is keeping you up. Well, Dr. Shaw, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really, really appreciate your time.
William Shaw: Yeah, thank you again. It was a great pleasure.
Wendy Myers: Everyone, thank you so much for listening to the Live to 110 Podcast.
I want to give you a few tips and resources on how to adjust your oxalates and support groups that you can join. Certainly there are groups on Facebook as well, but you can go to LowOxalate.info. There is lots of information there about low oxalate diet.
You can also join The Low Oxalate Group on Yahoo! This is one of the biggest groups on oxalates where you can get information and support. Go to OxVox.com and click on the How of low oxalates. Then click on the Why join the TLO Group. At the bottom of the page, there are very specific instructions on joining the Yahoo! group.
After you apply, Yahoo! will e-mail you back when you’re accepted and they’ll send you an e-mail with all kinds of information. On the group, they’ve got food lists, supplement lists and other links, et cetera that are very, very helpful in your endeavor to eat a low oxalate diet and get rid of your oxalates.
If you need to do testing for oxalates, I do testing. I’m a functional diagnostic nutritionist. So I can do the Organic Acids Test by Great Plains Lab offered by Dr. William Shaw. Just go to Store.myersdetox.com and click on Functional Diagnostic Test and then click on the OAT or Organic Acids Test. And it will run that for you and give you a very thorough interpretation of the test and recommendations to reduce your oxalates.
You can go to my website at myersdetox.com to learn more about natural, alternative methods to address your health conditions, natural means to reduce or eliminate your health conditions. You can learn about my version of Paleo, the Modern Paleo Diet and all about my favorite subject, detoxification in our toxic modern world.
Thank you so much for listening to the Live to 110 Podcast.