Magnesium Deficiency and the Role of Oxalates

What are oxalates?

Oxalates are substances found in food that are necessary for that food’s metabolism.  Oxalate is an aniline with two negative charges – since most minerals have one or two positive charges, oxalate likes to bind with minerals.  An oxalate’s negative charge attracts it to things with a positive charge. Because of this, it pulls mineral out of the body because it binds to them and therefore causes the minerals to be unavailable for function.  More than just robbing us of minerals, oxalates also interfere in other metabolic and cellular processes and can deposit into other tissues of the body.  Although mineral depletion is the main concern of oxalates, vitamin depletion is an issue as well.(1)

Where do we find oxalates?

Oxalates are found in small amounts in animal foods but much higher amounts in plant foods – especially what we’ve come to know as “super foods.”  To name a few of the foods high in oxalates: rhubarb, chocolate, beet greens, almonds, Swiss chard, spinach, cashews and peanuts.(2)

Why have oxalates become such a problem?

Oxalates have become a problem for many different reasons.  A large reason is that antibiotics have killed a lot of the good bacteria found in our digestive tract that would usually break down oxalates – studies show that people who live in areas where antibiotic usage is low are able to eat oxalates in much larger quantities than we are.  Another main reason is because of the rise of popular ways of eating such as consuming large amounts of super-foods, gluten free, vegan diets and especially raw food diets.  These ways of eating – but especially raw vegan diets, cause us to inadvertently consume foods that are high in oxalates.  We think we are increasing the amount of nutrients by eating foods in their raw state, when in fact we could be doing the opposite if the oxalate binds to the extra nutrients we are trying to get.  In addition to this, we have abandoned traditional cooking and eating methods that may cause oxalate reduction in certain foods.(3) 

Oxalate and Magnesium

One of oxalates favourite minerals to bind to is magnesium.  Because oxalate has two negative charges and magnesium has two positive charges, oxalate easily depletes magnesium from our body.  So not only is magnesium found in lower amounts in our food supply, but we also may not be getting the magnesium from our food that we think we are.(4)

If you are concerned about a high amount of oxalates in your diet we recommend that you optimize your gut bacteria, study traditional cooking and eating methods and supplement with a highly absorbable magnesium supplement such as MAG365 ionic magnesium citrate.

 Sources used:

(1) Attinger, Monique.  “Oxalates…Ask Your Questions!” 4 March 2019.

(2) Author not cited.  “Can you tell me about Oxalates, including the Foods that contain them and how they are related to Nutrition and Health?” The World’s Healthiest Foods.” 2001-2019.

(3) Attinger. “Oxalates.”

(4) Ibid.



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