What about the oxalic acid in beets?

What about the oxalic acid in beets? Is it good for you to take in large amounts?

veggie4every1 / Originally posted in Priming the proton pump


As noted in my video about the oxalates in turmeric versus cinnamon (Oxalates in Cinnamon), it’s not just the amount that matters but also how well particular oxalates are absorbed, and the bioavailability of oxalates in beets is relatively poor (6 times less so than spinach, for example). Cooking the beets could cut levels about 25% but for the rare person with a condition like idiopathic calcium nephrolithiasis (a type of kidney stones) that needs a low-oxalate diet, a better high-nitrate vegetable choice would be arugula.

Image Credit: timsackton / Flickr

  • May you please recommend a plant based “alternative” or treatment to dissolve oxalates in joints. May enchondromas be associated with high absorption of oxalates from food when fat absorption issues are present?

  • N_

    How much oxalic acid is safe to eat? According to wikipedia 600mg/kg is lethal, but how much is “just bad”?


  • do you believe in the need of cutting oxalates for conditions like IBS or leaky gut? Im only making the connection recently, but I always react badly to spinach and Im afraid of getting worse in my conditions after turning vegan/plant based. The other day I threw up after a watercress+lemon+ginger+ cucumber smoothie. I would appreciate your insight, as always. Thanks!

  • Garrett Smith

    Michael —

    What about oxalate absorption from beet root powder?

  • I just want to point out to anyone reading this that Dr. G made an error in stating the “bioavailability of oxalates in beets is relatively poor” by misreading the study he links to. That study only showed that oxalates and/or their bioavailability in BEET FIBER (in other words, a processed food where the sugar has been extracted) is low, but in fact the very same study shows a table showing that WHOLE FOOD BEETS (which is what most of us eat) actually contain relatively HIGH levels of bioavailable oxalates (see table 1 in the study). This implies that extracting the sugar from beets also removes the oxalates, and for someone concerned about oxalates, it might be safe to eat processed beet fiber if you’re into that :). I personally don’t worry about oxalates, the best way to avoid stones is to eliminate animal protein from your diet.