I listened to a presentation last night from Dr. Kurt Woeller, sponsored by Great Plains Laboratory. Dr. Woeller was discussing the role of disruptions in oxalate metabolism in autism and fibromyalgia. It was new info for me, so probably it is for you, too.
Oxalic acid is the acid form of this molecule (the base is called oxalate), and it is the main thing that makes rhubarb sour (the leaves have so much they are considered poisonous), and also wood sorrel (the little “four leaf clover” looking plants which are common little lawn weeds from Florida throughout most of the US). The scientific name for this plant is Oxalis (you can buy larger varieties as potted floral plants), and the acid is named Oxalic Acid, after this plant. Other plants high in oxalate are spinach, beets, and swiss chard. You know that gritty feeling of your teeth that you get sometimes when you eat spinach? That is oxalate crystals.
Oxalic acid is thought by French researcher Joseph Davidovits to be the key to how the pyramids were built! He wrote a book describing a process by which the acids in plants could dissolve stone, and then it could be cast in molds, and converted back into stone. There is significant evidence that this technology was used for the megalithic structures of Egypt, and also the Incas of South America had a similar substance with which they dissolved stone and cast it into blocks for their huge structures.
Oxalic acid is used to bleach stained wood, and to remove rust, lime and corrosion from automobile radiators. Plus, as I mentioned, it dissolves rocks! Does it make sense that you might not want to have too much of this acid in your body?
Anyway, oxalic acid is a common part of our foods, and it can also be produced in abnormally large amounts by yeasts (like Candida), molds (aspergillis) and other fungi which might be inhabiting our bodies. For some people, they have the ability to get rid of the excess oxalate. For some, it causes problems.
Oxalate crystals (oxalic acid combined with a metal, such as calcium) form spiky or needle-like crystals, which can deposit into the kidneys, liver, muscles, bones, joints, brain, and really, just about any tissue. Just by looking at these crystals it is quite apparent why deposits of these spikey, spiny crystals in any tissue would cause pain! Furthermore, elevated levels of oxalate can also cause problems with the function of the brain and nervous system, such as are common in autism and fibromyalgia. And these are two disorders in which high oxalate levels are commonly found.
Your doctor is probably aware of one other disorder in which an organic acid—uric acid, in this case—is poorly excreted, and ends up in deposits in the bones and joints, especially the big toe! This disorder is called gout, and the deposits of uric acid crystals appear as lumps of fluffy white crystals which cause excruciating pain. So, mentioning gout as an example of an organic acid disorder might be helpful.
Too much oxalate in the body causes an uncoupling of the process by which the mitochondria (the little bacteria-like power plants in almost every cell) create energy currency for use by the cells. Oxalate blocks the action of vitamin B6 in producing ATP from carbohydrates or proteins. ATP is the energy currency spent by most cells in the body. This could certainly explain why people with fibromyalgia seem to have “less money in their accounts”, and to be unable to replenish their energy currency like unaffected people. No wonder small exertions like vacuuming the living room can cause them to crash for two or three days!!! They can’t make energy currency (ATP), and so spending even small amounts of ATP currency on trivial things “breaks the bank”. And replenishing the ATP currency accounts takes much longer than normal.
Oxalate also binds heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, or cadmium, and can be the cause for a chelation program to rid the body of these toxins being ineffective. Only when the oxalate levels are lessened does the body start getting rid of its toxic levels of heavy metals.
So how do you find out if you have too much oxalate in your body? Great Plains Laboratory in Kansas has a patented urine test called the OAT—Organic Acid Test—which looks at several different kinds of organic acids in the urine. It is truly a key for understanding metabolic disorders, including chronic fatigue, autism, and others. If your doctor will not order this test (because he is unlikely to be aware of the role of organic acid metabolism in illness), you can order it yourself, and receive a graphic report. You will likely want to discuss the report with a physician trained in metabolic laboratory tests, or perhaps a clinical nutritionist. Dr. Woeller is also available for consultations, as am I.
If you find out that you have high oxalate levels, what can you do about it? There are a few things. First, you can go on a low oxalate diet. You can find out more info about this from some experts at the links below. These are also good sources for other information about oxalate problems in general.
Next, you can support the body’s ability to excrete oxalate by taking supplements such as oral calcium citrate. If there is too much oxalate in the gut (from food or produced by yeasts, fungi or bacteria in the gut), calcium will tend to bind to it, forming a calcium oxalate crystal which passes with the stool.
The OAT test may suggest high levels of yeast or other organisms, producing large levels of oxalate. Repairing the internal ecology (the mixture of bacteria and fungi, and possibly parasites, inside the intestine) by using probiotic formulations should help this, as well. More specific information about the state of the internal ecology can be obtained by doing a stool analysis. I recommend Great Smokies Diagnostic Labs, now Genova, as the best in the business, and very much accustomed to working with patients with less recognized disorders.
Finally, there are other vitamins and supplements which can be helpful, such as B6. Others will help the body be less irritable when oxalate starts moving from the tissues in what is called “oxalate dumping”. Some good information about that is also available at the oxalate diet sites.
I hope that this offers some hope and insight into what might be a key finding for fibromyalgia, and one of the many causes of autism.
To Your Health,
Keywords: autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, oxalate, fatigue, yeast, candida, aspergillus, ATP, nutrition, medicine, health