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    Kale is high in oxalates
    planetocean posted:
    Could you comment on kale having high oxalate levels? Does it counteract with the absorption of its own Ca?

    For years, I've been eating a diet high in Ca-rich foods, especially vegetables, regularly exercising, walking, and hiking; yet, my bone density has been showing a progressive osteopenia. Whatever I was eating was pushing Ca down the drain... That has prompted me to increase my Ca intake from 500 mg to 1000, regardless of at least 750-1000 mg that I had been getting from food. My supplemental Ca is Calcium Citrate with Vit. D and Magnesium and that's on top of 400 mg of Vit. D that I've been taking daily.

    Reflecting on all that, I am wondering if the curse was in the oxalates?
    bonebabe responded:
    Kale is an excellent source of calcium. It's spinach you have to discount.

    It may just be that you're at an age (don't you just hate that phrase?) where the loss of estrogen and aging is doing its job on your bones. There comes a time for a lot of people that no matter how healthy you eat and all the right things you do, your bone density decreases. And then there are those people who do nothing "right" and have wonderful bones. It has to do more with genetics and the amount of bone you built up during your bone building years.

    As for your calcium intake itself, you need 1200 mg of calcium a day. The body can absorb about 500-600 mg at a time, so unless you're really diligent about spreading it out, it would be very difficult to actually benefit from more than that. You need 1000 IU of Vit D each day, and I've heard that that recommendation will soon be increased to 2000.

    I don't think the problem is in any oxalates. If you've recently gone through menopause and are not on hormones, that's probably it. The estrogen does protect the bones and when our bodies stop producing it, the bone density drops.

    You could also ask your doctor if you might have a calcium absorption problem like IBS, Crohns, etc.
    planetocean replied to bonebabe's response:
    Bonebabe, no doubt genetics is a major factor, as well as the bone build-up during the bone building years... Have you or -- perhaps, someone else -- had an encounter with biocompatible hormones? Can they stop bone loss and possibly reverse the damage caused by the lost bone density?
    bonebabe replied to planetocean's response:
    We do encounter some patients who use bioidentical hormone therapy. It's hard to draw a conclusion because some of them always had a normal test result and others have low bone density. Our anecdotal evidence is that there's not been a reverse of bone loss on the patients who only use the BHRT.

    I do know that the FDA issued a statement in the last year or two saying that there is no evidence to support the claims of reversing bone loss and that there also is no evidence that saliva testing (often used to determine compound) is accurate and reliable.

    I know also that the American College of OB/GYN's, the American Cancer Society, the Mayo Clinic and others have released statements that there is a lack of evidence that the benefits and risks of BHRT is any different from those of RX hormones. There is also no requirement for package inserts warning of adverse effects. It seems that the big concern is that consumers can be deceived into thinking they're taking something safe and effective, when actually they probably aren't.
    undefined responded:
    Hi PlanetOcean, how many ounces of calcium rich vegetables do you eat per day and how many times per day? Do you drink milk? What type of calcium rich vegetables do you eat?
    bonebabe replied to 32654438's response:
    Just a note to clear up about calcium portions. The amount of calcium is not determined by ounces, but by calcium content, usually measured by 1/2 cup to 1 cup serving. Calcium can only be absorbed by the body in 500-600 mg increments.

    Look at your food labels as many foods have calcium added. For instance, OJ with calcium typically has 300-350 mg per serving. The amount is given in % not mg., so convert % to mg by dropping the % and adding a zero. 30% of your daily requirement is 300 mg, 15% is 150 mg, etc.

    There are many foods with calcium. I believe the NOF has a list of them and their calcium content in a serving. Go to to research this.
    planetocean replied to 32654438's response:
    2 large servings a day of bok choy, lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, cabbage(s), rarely - spinach & chard. When cooking, always include root veggies like carrots, parsnips, celeriac, celery, leeks, daikon, onions, garlic, tomatoes. I don't drink milk, barely eat cheese, sometimes drink coconut beverage.
    bonebabe replied to planetocean's response:

    This is a good informative link from the National Osteoporosis Foundation giving the lowdown on foods that are good for the bones and how some of them interact with others.
    planetocean replied to bonebabe's response:
    Good info, thanks bonebabe. Something to clarify:

    Spinach and other foods with oxalates. Your body doesn't absorb calcium well from foods that are high in oxalates (oxalic acid) such as spinach. Other foods with oxalates are rhubarb, beet greens and certain beans. These foods contain other healthy nutrients, but they just shouldn't be counted as sources of calcium.

    In other words, spinach should not be counted as a source of Ca... What happens to cheese eaten with spinach? We have so many delicious dishes where these two are combined. My PCP told me a while back that we don't absorb any Ca from the food combined with spinach. Based on the statement above, it's not necessarily the case. What's your take on that? And, spinach is not the highest source of oxalates in greens: parsley has a higher count, and purslane is ahead of parsley.

    And a side question: how high in oxalates is arugula? Judging from its strong nutty flavor, it's quite high, but according to some online source (sorry, don't have the reference), it's quite low - suspiciously low.
    bonebabe replied to planetocean's response:
    You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out these oxalates.

    You need 1200 mg of calcium a day. I doubt people eat enough foods with oxalates regularly to interfere with calcium absorption. In the case with spinach/cheese dishes, you will get some benefit from the cheese, but you can only absorb 500-600 mg at a time anyway, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    You seem to eat a well rounded variety of calcium foods. If on the days you eat spinach (and how much parsley does anyone eat anyway?) if you're concerned about it, take a calcium supplement with some crackers at bedtime.

    You know, it's such a minor point in the whole area of calcium consumption, that we really don't give it more than a brief mention in our rehab classes. I think you're fine with your diet.

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