Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring compound in various plant foods. It is utilized as a bleaching agent and for the removal of rust. If it enters the body, oxalic acid can mix with calcium in the kidneys to allow the formation of kidney stones in vulnerable individuals.
Oxalic acid is considered poisonous in large amounts, thus individuals with certain health conditions must avoid high-oxalate foods.
Am I at risk for kidney stones and kidney damage?
Kidney stones are the usual side effect of having excess oxalic acid in the body. It can also damage the kidney after a certain surgical procedure.
In one case, an individual who undergone gastric bypass surgery for treatment of obesity ended up with excess amounts of oxalic acid in the kidneys. Dialysis could not improve the functioning of the kidney. It is believed that the surgery might led to malabsorption of fats and elevated fatty acids in the intestine.
Calcium in the intestines typically binds to oxalate and prevents its absorption might bind to the extra fatty acids. Oxalate is absorbed into the bloodstream and builds up in the kidneys as they try to filter the oxalate from the bloodstream.
Excessive intake of vitamin C
A large intake of vitamin C can result to kidney stone formation due to oxalic acid. Even though oxalic acid is the product of the degeneration of vitamin C, it might lead to build-up that results to kidney stones.
Oxalic acid poisoning
Remember that oxalic acid is considered as a poison that can cause a variety of dangerous symptoms. The possible symptoms of poisoning include:
- Abdominal pain
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Mouth and throat pain
- Weak pulse
First aid generally includes providing the individual with water or milk to drink unless he/she has symptoms that makes it hard to swallow such as vomiting, convulsions or reduced alertness. Seek medical care if any of these symptoms are present.