It seems that kale has been labeled the new “superfood” for the last decade. After all, it’s a green veggie so it has to be good for you, right? It’s loaded with vitamins A, K, antioxidants, flavonoids, and a host of other vital nutrients to help you feel your best. But according to Dave Asprey, author and creator of the bulletproof coffee and podcast, he says it also has a dark side:

“Kale naturally has oxalic acid in it to protect it from animals, insects, and fungi.  Oxalic acid is a toxin made from a mixture of fungus and yeast, and can cause lots of problems, such as gout, kidney stones, and muscle pains.”

Wow, bummer!! This message is definitely not getting to the general public. He goes on to say ”oxalic acid crystals can form anywhere in your body when oxalic acid binds to calcium to form crystals, causing muscle pain. It’s very similar to the way uric acid crystals form in joints in cases of gout. I suspect that many people with diagnosed gout, especially at a young age, also have oxalic acid problems. Oxalic acid also causes most kidney stones when it binds to calcium in the kidney. Low-grade fungal infections happen quite often in relatively healthy people, and they increase your oxalic acid burden.”

Gout and kidney stones should be enough reasons to stay away from kale, but fungal infections are even worse. In my practice, I suspect that the majority of my patients, and general public struggle with unknown fungal infections like candida, especially with all the processed foods and sugar that we consume in the U.S. And candida infections disrupt your gut leaving you fatigued, mentally drained with brain fog, and causing muscle and joint soreness, just to name few side effects.

But if you can’t live without your kale smoothies you can mix calcium and magnesium in your blender.These minerals bind to the oxalic acid so you don’t absorb as much of it, while still getting the benefits from kale. In general, I recommend against taking this “superfood” as the benefits do not outweigh the risks.

Recently I saw a patient, that I’ll name Ben, who came into my office with intense lower back pain for over a year and with overall moderate joint pain that limited his ability to fully exercise, especially in regards to going on long bike rides which he really enjoys. When asked about his diet, his spouse mentioned they were eating very healthy starting each morning with a “kale smoothie.” Along with chiropractic treatments for his lower back pain I had him stop putting kale in his smoothies and instead use other greens like spinach and arugula. Their smoothie was a fantastic way to start a day energized but the kale had to go. Within 3 weeks Ben’s lower back pain had fully resolved along with his moderate joint pain.

I personally start out each morning juicing cucumbers, carrots, green apples, and sometimes spinach. But be careful what you juice, as all vegetables are definitely NOT created equal!

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