LOK Podcast Episode 1 _ Oxalate Content and Absorption - Michael Liebman PhD #1

LOK Podcast Episode 1 | Oxalate Content and Absorption – Michael Liebman, PhD


When I first was told I needed to go on a low oxalate diet, it was after I had my first kidney stone analyzed. The doctor told me my stones were made from calcium oxalate, and that I should start a low oxalate diet as soon as I could.

They then proceeded to hand me a couple-page printout that looked like it hadn’t been updated in 20 years. It had a little bit of information about oxalates and a list of maybe 10 or 15 foods that I should avoid. So I went home, stopped eating spinach, peanut butter and chocolate and thought I was good to go.

Soon after, I learned that things are a lot more complicated than they seemed, and that the internet doesn’t make it easy for people looking for reliable information.

In Episode 1 of the Low Oxalate Kitchen Podcast, Dr. Michael Liebman I attempt to help clear the waters for people just starting out on a low oxalate diet. We also give a bit more detail for the people who have been trying to figure this out for some time and are at the point that they want take a deeper dive.

We talk about the factors that affect the oxalate content of foods, and also the factors that affect how much oxalate is actually getting absorbed into the body once its ingested.


[03:40] What are oxalates and oxalic acid, where are they found?
[05:14] Factors affecting oxalate content of foods
[06:25] Importance of serving size and cooking methods
[10:50] Soluble vs insoluble oxalates
[12:54] Impact of maturity/ripeness of foods
[14:40] Grains/breads/soil conditions
[17:26] Factors affecting absorption
[18:35] How is absorbed oxalate measured?
[22:31] Dietary and supplemental calcium and it’s effect on oxalate absorption
[26:26] Oxalate absorption compared to other vitamins and minerals
[28:20] Including cheese and other low oxalate sources of calcium in the diet
[30:23] Probiotics, oxalobacter formigenes and oxalate degrading bacteria
[39:15] Questions from Low Oxalate Kitchen Facebook Group
[42:26] General nutrition guidelines while on a Low Oxalate Diet
[47:50] Spreading out oxalate consumption vs. all in one meal
[48:51] Endogenous oxalate production, primary hyperoxlauria, and Vitamin C


In this episode, we talked briefly about if there were any probiotics currently on the market that might be useful in helping to break down ingested oxalates, and Dr. Liebman mentioned VSL#3.

The current formulation of that probiotic is similar to the original that was used in Dr. Liebman’s studies. But as of 2016, the original inventor of that formulation has moved on to a new company called Visbiome and taken the patent for it with him to this new company. 

If you are interested in getting a probiotic VSL#3 may still be a good choice, but if you want the formulation that was used in the studies by Dr. Liebman and his colleagues, that is currently  available as Visbiome. 

Both of these should be available over the counter, but maybe only at certain pharmacies. They are a bit pricey, but it’s because they are such high quality and are meant for pretty serious health conditions.

They should be kept refrigerated so if you don’t see them outside the pharmacy, ask if they are keeping them behind the pharmacy counter in a refrigerator. Even though they are kept back there sometimes, you still shouldn’t need a prescription. 

If you can’t find them or just want to order online, there are links below to each. You can also check out this article that talks about the difference between VSL#3 and Visbiome and what happened there if you want more information.


Michael Liebman – University of Wyoming Faculty Page
Low Oxalate Vegetable List
Article – Best Practices for Integrating Cheese into A Low Oxalate Diet
Trying Low Oxalates Facebook Group
OxThera Oxabact Clinical Trial
VP Foundation
VSL#3 Probiotics
Visbiome Probiotics

Tang M., Larson-Meyer D. E., Liebman M. (2008) Effect of cinnamon and turmeric on urinary oxalate excretion, plasma lipids, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 87(5):1262–1267


Chai, W, Liebman, M. (2005), Effect of different cooking methods on vegetable oxalate content. J Agric Food Chem. 53, 3027–3030.

J. Armesto, et al., (2019) Effects of different cooking methods on the antioxidant capacity and flavonoid, organic acid and mineral contents of Galega Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala cv. Galega)”. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 70(2), 136-149.

Oulai, P. D., Zoue, L. T., Niamke, S. L. (2015). Evaluation of Nutritive and Antioxidant Properties of Blanched Leafy Vegetables Consumed in Northern Côte d’Ivoire. Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences65(1), 31-38. https://doi.org/10.1515/pjfns-2015-0003


  1. Vincent, I am so glad I found your website on a Google search on oxalates. For your first podcast, kudos to you and thanks so much! You are already a pro. The information with questions and answers with your guest speaker Dr. Liebman was perfect. I will be a continuing fan of your work. I also have kidney stone issues, so this is very appropriate for me. I perceive that your goal is to bring the most current data to your followers so that we can make sense of how to deal with a little-known culprit to our health and wellbeing. I appreciate you and your efforts to help as many people as you can. Having this information gives me hope that I will learn to deal with oxalates and get my health back on track!

    • Vincent Cilento

      Hi Donna! Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it. You can certainly take control of your health and steer the ship in whichever direction you’d like! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

  2. Very informative interview. I was encouraged to hear that even high oxalate foods esp. spices could be used judiciously since you only use small amounts usually.

    • Vincent Cilento

      Thanks Rebecca! The diet is certainly limiting enough without completely removing all of the higher oxalate foods. A pinch of pepper and other spices here and there can make a big difference in some dishes without adding too much oxalate. Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Great interview, great guest. Thank you for putting out this podcast, and keep up the great work.

    • Vincent Cilento

      Thank you Elaine! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear on future episodes

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