Is Wheatgrass High in Oxalates?

Written by: Pard Bharaj

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Time to read 6 min

Image of Pard, the Author

Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have existing health conditions or concerns about blood pressure. 

Introduction: 


Wheatgrass, derived from the common wheat plant (Triticum aestivum L.), is widely consumed for its numerous health benefits. It is commonly used in juice form and is well researched for its rich nutrient profile, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Wheatgrass is also often incorporated into diets for its detoxifying properties which can boost overall health.


This article will examine scientific studies to determine "is wheatgrass is high in oxalates".  Oxalates are compounds that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. By analysing the oxalate content in wheatgrass compared to other foods, we aim to provide a clear understanding of its safety and suitability for consumption, particularly for individuals prone to oxalate-related health issues.  

What Are Oxalates? 


Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds found in many plants, including leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  Chemically, oxalates can bind with minerals such as calcium to form crystals. While the body can excrete small amounts of oxalates through urine, excessive intake can lead to health problems. Oxalates are of particular interest in the diet because of their potential to contribute to the formation of kidney stones, primarily composed of calcium oxalate.

Health Implications of high oxalate foods:


High oxalate foods can significantly affect health, particularly in the formation of kidney stones. When oxalates bind with calcium in the digestive tract, they can form insoluble crystals. These crystals can accumulate in the kidneys, leading to the development of kidney stones, primarily composed of calcium oxalate.


Additionally, a high intake of oxalates can interfere with the absorption of essential minerals. For example, oxalates can reduce the bioavailability of calcium, leading to potential deficiencies over time, affecting bone health and overall metabolic functions.

Who Should Be Cautious About Oxalate Intake:

 

  • Individuals prone to kidney stones, especially those composed of calcium oxalate.

  • People with hyperoxaluria (excessive urinary oxalate excretion).

  • Individuals with malabsorption syndromes (e.g., Crohn's disease, short bowel syndrome).

  • Those with a family history of kidney stones.

  • Individuals advised by healthcare providers to monitor oxalate intake.

Is Wheatgrass high in Oxalates?


According to various scientific studies (please see summaries in references and further reading at the bottom of this article), wheatgrass juice has been found to contain relatively low levels of oxalates. Specifically, research indicates that pure wheatgrass juice has an oxalate content of approximately 1.7 mg per 100 grams, which is considered low compared to many other vegetables and beverages.


  • Study Findings:¬†The analysis of wheatgrass juice shows that it contains about 1.7 mg of oxalates per 100 grams. This is significantly lower than many other foods commonly consumed.

  • Health Implications:¬†Given its low oxalate content, wheatgrass juice is unlikely to contribute significantly to oxalate-related health issues such as kidney stone formation, especially when compared to other high-oxalate foods.

Oxalates Comparison with Other Common Foods: 


To put the oxalate content of wheatgrass into perspective, it's helpful to compare it with other common foods that have been analysed for their oxalate levels:



High-Oxalate Foods:


  • Spinach: 412 mg per 100 grams

  • Amaranthus (Amaranth greens): 280.62 mg per 100 grams

  • Carambola (Starfruit): 263.34 mg per 100 grams

  • Chinese Pennisetum powder: 1575 mg per 100 grams

  • Green tea powder:¬†630 mg per 100 grams

Moderate-Oxalate Foods:


  • Sweet potato leaves: 48.6 mg per 100 grams
    Bitter melon: 60.21 mg per 100 grams


Low-Oxalate Foods:


  • Pure wheatgrass juice:¬†1.7 mg per 100 grams

  • Cucumber:¬†0.45 mg per 100 grams

  • Coconut juice: 0.04 mg per 100 grams

Conclusion: Wheatgrass for Managing Oxalate Levels:


In conclusion, wheatgrass  emerges as a beneficial addition to the diet for those concerned about oxalate intake and the associated risk of kidney stones. Scientific studies (please review references and further reading below) confirm that wheatgrass juice contains low levels of oxalates, significantly lower than many commonly consumed vegetables and beverages. Its rich nutrient profile, including essential minerals and antioxidants, further enhances its appeal as a health-promoting food.


The low oxalate content of wheatgrass makes it a suitable option for individuals prone to kidney stones, providing a way to gain nutritional benefits without the risk of high oxalate intake. Additionally, wheatgrass's potential to aid in the  dissolution of calcium oxalate crystals and promote healthy urinary function underscores its role in kidney health.


However, individuals, especially those with existing health conditions, should consult a healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement regimen.

References and Further Reading:

1. IN VITRO ANTI-UROLITHIATIC ACTIVITY OF FRESH JUICE OF WHEATGRASS.


Summary: This study evaluates the anti-urolithiatic potential of fresh wheatgrass juice (Triticum aestivum L.). Wheatgrass juice is noted for being rich in essential minerals such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc. Phytochemical analysis of the juice revealed the presence of beneficial compounds like amino acids, flavonoids, saponins, phenols, and tannins. The anti-urolithiatic activity, which helps in preventing kidney stones, was assessed using in vitro methods involving calcium oxalate crystals. The results showed that wheatgrass juice significantly increased the dissolution of calcium oxalate crystals and turbidity compared to the control (distilled water). This indicates that wheatgrass juice has promising potential for treating kidney stones.

Authors: Reecha Madaan, R. Bala, C. Kaur, A. Sharma, D. Kumar


2. Comparison of Oxalate Content in Foods and Beverages in Taiwan


Summary: This study analyses the oxalate content in various foods and beverages common in Taiwan, including wheatgrass juice. It was found that pure wheatgrass juice has a relatively low oxalate content of 1.7 mg per 100 grams, making it a safer option compared to other high-oxalate foods. The study emphasises that while wheatgrass juice is low in oxalates, other common foods like spinach, amaranth, and carambola contain much higher levels of oxalates, which can contribute significantly to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. The findings suggest that individuals prone to kidney stones should monitor their intake of high-oxalate foods and beverages.

Authors: Jeng-Yu Tsai, Jong-Khing Huang, Tony T. Wu, Ying-Huei Lee


3. Effect of Wheatgrass Juice on Nutritional Quality of Apple, Carrot, Beet, Orange and Lemon Juice


Summary: This study examines the impact of wheatgrass juice on the nutritional quality of apple, beet, carrot, orange, and lemon juices. It highlights that wheatgrass juice is a rich source of minerals and antioxidants, enhancing the overall nutritional value of the combined juices. The presence of oxalates, a type of antinutrient, in wheatgrass is discussed, emphasising their potential to interfere with the absorption of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. Despite this, the study suggests that the benefits of adding wheatgrass juice, such as increased mineral content and antioxidant activity, outweigh the drawbacks associated with oxalates. The study does not provide specific dosages or daily intake recommendations but implies the importance of moderate consumption to balance the nutritional benefits and potential antinutrient effects.

Authors:¬†Sanja GrubiŇ°ińá, Marija Kristińá, Miroslav Lisjak, Katarina MiŇ°kovic ҆poljaric, Sonja Petrovic, Sonja Vila, Andrijana Rebekińá

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does wheatgrass's oxalate content compare to other greens?

Wheatgrass has much lower oxalate levels (1.7 mg/100g) compared to spinach for example which typically has 412 mg/100g) making it a safer choice for those concerned about oxalates.

Are there any risks associated with the oxalates in wheatgrass?

Given its low oxalate content, wheatgrass poses minimal risk, even for those prone to kidney stones. However, please do contact a healthcare specialist before beginning a new supplement regime.

Are there any side effects of consuming wheatgrass juice?

In very rare cases some individuals may experience nausea, headaches, or allergic reactions. It's important to start with small amounts to gauge tolerance.

Is wheatgrass safe for people prone to kidney stones?

Yes, due to its low oxalate content, wheatgrass juice is generally safe for those prone to kidney stones.

Can wheatgrass help with kidney health?

Wheatgrass may aid in the dissolution of calcium oxalate crystals and promote healthy urinary function, potentially benefiting kidney health. However more studies are required in this area.

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