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Oxalates vs. Gout on Paleo? Joint pain vs. Cramps vs. Brain Fog . . .

Commented on December 02, 2014
Created April 19, 2013 at 8:16 PM

It's funny: I never had these problems when I was eating S.A.D. (very little fruits and veggies). Now that I'm doing my best to eat healthy Paleo, I'm having several problems (but I think they are related).

I seem to develop progressively worse symptoms When I eat a lot of sweet potatoes, kale, dark chocolate, tomato juice.

The symptoms sounded like classic electrolyte or dehydration (muscle cramping, twitching, tension headache, brain fog), but I don't think it's that because I've experimented high and low quantities of sodium, potassium, calcium & magnesium, and 2 or 3 liters of water /a day. It doesn't think it's simply dehydration or electrolytes.

A few days ago, I began eating sweet potato 3 times a day for 3 days. I developed muscle cramping (hands & feet) and they got progressively worse. It then escalated into very painful joints, and the big toe on my right foot became very stiff and painful. In previous episodes, my ankle was swollen. I presumed I was retaining water, but maybe it was just inflamed.

It just occurred to me that the foods listed above are all high in oxalates (something I never heard of till just recently). However, in the course of googling, I came across a description of gout which described painful joints and inflammation of big toes.

I stopped eating all fruits & veggies yesterday, and am beginning to feel better.

In looking back through my food diary, I had several identical experiences with sweet potato binges.

I read a really interesting article about oxalates at: http://oxvox.com/oxalate-dumping-symptoms-what-to-expect/ :

"Since oxalates bind readily to minerals (especially calcium and magnesium), a great many of the symptoms associated with dumping are the same as symptoms of low calcium and low magnesium ??? muscle aches, twitches, cramps and spasms for example, or headaches."

I also read that over absorption of oxalate will also occur when the tight junctions between intestinal cells open up and let molecules pass to the other side going between the cells. This condition, called the "leaky gut"

So, with all that said:

1) could oxalates really be the cause of tension headaches, brain fog, muscle cramping, twitching?

2) Could the sudden severe joint pain that starts to ease after stopping fruits & veggies be from gout? (I thought gout was from too much protein, not particular veggies?)

3) If it is an attack of gout, do those crystals in joints just dissolve or once there, are they there forever?

4) Is there any relationship between oxalates and gout? I just purchased the book: "No More Kidney Stones" - even though I've never had a stone, it contained lots of good info on oxalates (but I'm only 17% through it so far).

If anyone has any thoughts, I'd very much love to hear them. I think I've been barking up the wrong tree This has been driving me crazy!

Mike

PS: As a side note, I recently read that dehydration can trigger a histamine release. The sneezing fits I get with certain foods my not have been the root cause, but a consequence of something else).

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 22, 2013
at 11:14 AM

Btw, I read that vitamin C is good for gout, but bad for oxalates

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 22, 2013
at 11:13 AM

Wrong word again. I think pain in big toe is the big clue. Using my infrared thermometer gun I measured my inflamed toe is 5 degrees warmer than the non inflamed one on other foot. I think it really might be gout.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 11, 2013
at 11:54 AM

I doubt this is it but I'm stopping fluoridated tap water and fluoride toothpaste.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 11, 2013
at 11:53 AM

I think cramping of feet and hands is not the right word. I now realize it's edema. When I couldn't get my ring off my finger, that was the clue. I'm eating VERY little salt and the last few days the edema has gotten really bad. My doc is sending me for a kidney ultrasound and Im getting some fancier blood work done. Today I'm stopping all fruits/veggies/choc to see if it gets better quick.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 07, 2013
at 06:12 PM

I'm also exploring chronic dehydration, even though I drink enough water. I am now second-guessing all of my conclusions: I may have been distracted by what's on my plate and not having paid enough attention to the sodium content. I'm going to post a separate question about that.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 02, 2013
at 04:26 PM

I certainly will shout-from-the-roof-tops when I finally get this thing nailed down. I can't believe I can't get to the bottom of this. It really feels like its from electrolytes but it's certainly not straight-forward. I'm focusing on magnesium (oral plus transdermal oil rubbed into the skin). BTW, I just leaned that high doses of vitamin C convert to oxalate, so I'll need to keep my eye out on that as well.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on June 30, 2013
at 02:18 PM

I'm also very interested in this as I have similar reactions that I suspect must come from some dietary choices but could not yet manage to isolate. It would be be great if you can update how are you doing on this every now and then :)

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on June 15, 2013
at 05:22 AM

I think I may have been barking up the wrong tree entirely with the oxalate hypothesis. I current thinking is it wasn't so much what was in my bowl, but the salt I was shaking onto the food in the bowl. I'm going to try increasing my dietary potassium, and keeping the salt low, and making sure to drink enough water. Low potassium can cause the same cramping/twitching symptoms as many other things. Thanks, Mike

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3 Answers

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1
672e0b3ad9627a23c9c1c2c930c28fd2

on June 15, 2013
at 12:08 AM

Interesting stuff regarding oxalates. I had been a gout sufferer for years, went paleo and got off allopurinol, had no gout flares for nearly two years. Tested autoimmune protocol in January and had a gout attack in week 3 (no dark chocolate, nuts or seeds, but definitely sweet potatoes and greens). Since then, I've had two more flares and can't figure out what the change has been. Perhaps oxalates could be involved. Now I'll need to pay really close attention...

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on June 15, 2013
at 05:22 AM

I think I may have been barking up the wrong tree entirely with the oxalate hypothesis. I current thinking is it wasn't so much what was in my bowl, but the salt I was shaking onto the food in the bowl. I'm going to try increasing my dietary potassium, and keeping the salt low, and making sure to drink enough water. Low potassium can cause the same cramping/twitching symptoms as many other things. Thanks, Mike

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 02, 2013
at 04:26 PM

I certainly will shout-from-the-roof-tops when I finally get this thing nailed down. I can't believe I can't get to the bottom of this. It really feels like its from electrolytes but it's certainly not straight-forward. I'm focusing on magnesium (oral plus transdermal oil rubbed into the skin). BTW, I just leaned that high doses of vitamin C convert to oxalate, so I'll need to keep my eye out on that as well.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on June 30, 2013
at 02:18 PM

I'm also very interested in this as I have similar reactions that I suspect must come from some dietary choices but could not yet manage to isolate. It would be be great if you can update how are you doing on this every now and then :)

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 07, 2013
at 06:12 PM

I'm also exploring chronic dehydration, even though I drink enough water. I am now second-guessing all of my conclusions: I may have been distracted by what's on my plate and not having paid enough attention to the sodium content. I'm going to post a separate question about that.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 11, 2013
at 11:54 AM

I doubt this is it but I'm stopping fluoridated tap water and fluoride toothpaste.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 11, 2013
at 11:53 AM

I think cramping of feet and hands is not the right word. I now realize it's edema. When I couldn't get my ring off my finger, that was the clue. I'm eating VERY little salt and the last few days the edema has gotten really bad. My doc is sending me for a kidney ultrasound and Im getting some fancier blood work done. Today I'm stopping all fruits/veggies/choc to see if it gets better quick.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 22, 2013
at 11:14 AM

Btw, I read that vitamin C is good for gout, but bad for oxalates

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on July 22, 2013
at 11:13 AM

Wrong word again. I think pain in big toe is the big clue. Using my infrared thermometer gun I measured my inflamed toe is 5 degrees warmer than the non inflamed one on other foot. I think it really might be gout.

0
Ace526caa4e31dff012790a879652957

on November 30, 2014
at 03:48 PM

Hey there - Michelle from OxVox here! I actually stumbled across your post completely by accident - my husband suffers from gout, and is having a flare that I was hoping to help him shorten by doing a little research. :)

Anyway, he and I both have known oxalate issues, and here is how I believe the two connect:

1. Oxalates bind minerals, thus reducing the number of minerals available for the body to use in buffering acidity.

2. Assuming high uric acid is (at least one) root cause of gout, it naturally needs to be buffered by the body.

3. If a high oxalate load has reduced your available mineral stores, it would leave less left over for buffering the uric acid (or other acidity) load that can trigger gout.

I mention other acidity because my hubs' most recent flare appears to have been triggered by a vinaigrette dressing, of all things.  My hunch that overal acidity might have to do with the gout was reinforced by the post here on PaleoHacks entitled "Acid/Alkaline Theory: Does Body's pH Trigger Gout Attacks?" (I'd link to it, but I'm too much of a lurker to have enough posts under my belt...whoops!) Then this post was linked to in the sidebar of that post.

So anyway, that's my theory as it stands. I'd love to hear others' thoughts and experiences regarding this connection!

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on December 02, 2014
at 06:13 PM

Thanks for the reply.  Just to update this old post, I'm presently trouble-shooting if my problem is being caused by too much protein (something I definitely started eating more of when I went paleo).  

 

I did the 23andme genetic testing and I'm mthfr/cbs/comt which led me to entertain the protein qty hypothesis.

 

Mike

0
Af9e23fd927bacc1ad31e83db69f454e

on December 24, 2013
at 11:05 PM

Actually I've had nearly the same experience as you. I tend to eat a limited arrangement of veggies everyday, and if that arrangement includes sweet potatoes or kale, I will inevitably get all this annoying joint pain, brain fog, very slight head aches, and a general feeling of weakness. Looks like its low-oxalates for me from now on. You should update this post with what veggies seem to not cause those symptoms for you. For me romaine does not seem to cause the symptoms.

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