This week Jill answers a listener question about oxalate dumping and hair loss.
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Kidney Stone Diet Resources
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Who is Jill Harris?
Jill is a nurse and health coach that specializes in educating patients on kidney stone prevention. For more than 20 years she’s helped patients understand that kidney stones can be prevented with the right treatment plan. It’s one thing to be told to lower oxalate or drink more water, but HOW do you do it? That’s where she comes in. Through the educational resources at kidneystonediet.com, stone formers can learn everything they need to know to significantly lower new stone risk.
Who is Jeff Sarris?
Jeff’s co-founder of SPYR, a branding agency based out of Chicago, where he and his business partner Dave help awesome people like Jill create online platforms that make an impact. He’s also a certified health coach, Executive Producer of the Netflix documentary Minimalism, and host of the Starting Now podcast.
Love this episode? There’s more!
Jeff Sarris: Welcome back to the Kidney Stone Diet podcast, the show about reducing your kidney stone risk and living your best life. I’m your host and fellow student, Jeff Sarris.
Jill Harris: And I’m Jill Harris, your kidney stone prevention nurse. And I’m so happy to see you, Jeff. I’m so happy. Thank you for coming back, people. Happy to have you.
Jeff Sarris: Absolutely! And I always get to the end of that intro. and I wonder if I actually said the right thing, because it’s become so just like autopilot sometimes that I’m like, “Wait, what did I just say? Was that good?” Yeah, did it right, so….
Jill Harris: You did a very good job. A very good job!
Jeff Sarris: No, it’s just funny because we record–I mean, we’re up to I think this is going to be episode 82? Which is wild to think. That is so many episodes! We definitely need to plan something for 100. I have a few thoughts, but it’d be fun to do. Change it up just a little bit.
Jill Harris: So much fun! So much fun! I would like that, too. I mean, you know, here’s the deal: Jeff and I don’t really have to add this to our plates. We love doing it, but it’s not for us that we do this. We do it because there is a plethora of information here. Plether, plethora, plethora? I swear to God, it’s amazing that I tie my shoes and get to leave the house. I don’t even know. That’s why people are like, “Jill, you’re so smart!” I don’t know shit about anything, except kidney stone prevention. A plethora, plethora, plethora. Of course it’s plethora! There’s so much free information and it is a privilege to be able to give that out to the world. In the world of kidney stones the information can be very confusing. So, to us, it’s super exciting that there’s going to be so many episodes for you guys. So exciting!
Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, and we’ve touched on so many things, but it’s never ending. I mean, you’ve been doing this for 20+ years and there’s always more more things to solve and help people work through. No matter how many people you’ve talked to, and worked with so far, there’s always more. And it’s all about saying it the right way at the right time when that person needs it. So, even if there’s repeats on here, or repeat questions, or whatever it is, it’s important to try to reach as many people as we can because like you know firsthand, you don’t have this level of help a lot of times in the field, because the way the system is built. Nothing against it. It’s just very difficult to get the one-on-one time to really dive deep into things. So yeah, we just really hope that, that these episodes really help people along the journey.
The Kidney Stone Diet Helps with More than just Kidney Stones
Yeah, it’s super exciting. I just think we’re so lucky that we’re able to do this, you know, spend the time and give this to people. And, you know, there’s so much more. This is just not about kidney stone prevention. It’s like, how do you eat properly? And what is that– properly–for you? Because everybody here is different! And what works for Bob is not going to work for Sally. And that’s what what my services do. It’s like really pinpointing– listening to people, what are their obstacles? What are their other medical conditions? And how do you put a healthy lifestyle together based upon a crazy job, five children, single motherhood, surgeon who’s working all day and can’t use the bathroom? I mean, there’s so many things here, it’s not about “Give a list, and say drink more water, and do this and do that.”
It’s really difficult. And I guess that’s why I’ll never be a wealthy woman because, you know, I’m sitting here and we’re telling people, “Look, this is hard. It’s hard to do. And it’s even harder to stay consistent for the long term.” One of the reasons my patients are so successful and my students are so successful, is that I teach them to manage their expectation, knowing that things are going to come along and derail them. That’s going to happen. It doesn’t matter that it derails you for a day or two. It’s about how quickly you get back on your lifestyle. And nobody will gain a stone or weight in a day or two, even in a week or two. I mean, maybe weight in a week or two, but get right back to it and everything will be okay. So it’s teaching people how to manage their expectations against the big diet machine that’s telling us “What’s quick and easy and you know, get your flabby arms in February to where they need to be in March.” It’s such bull-do!
So, you know, I feel like we’re always up against that, right? And we have to we have to change the way people think about this. It’s not quick. It’s not easy. It’s going to take some time, but your health I can’t think of anything. I can’t think of anything better to strive for than that. Not weight loss, per se, just to look adorable in your new sweater. It’s about losing weight, learning how to eat well to manage your health. That’s a whole different ballgame. And I think that’s what keeps people motivated. People come to us because they have a kidney stone, because pain is motivating. But what keeps them long term is we’re actually educating them on how to do the treatment plan so they can be successful and never make another stone again and that’s the goal.
Yeah, absolutely! Well, then, that’s a good note to dive into our question this week.
All right, honey, let’s go.
Oxalate Dumping & Hair Loss
Listener Voicemail: Hello, my name is Adelaide. I’m calling from Hawaii. First of all, I want to say thank you to both of you because I’ve been learning a lot. I enjoy what I’m hearing: the shows, the questions. You both make a very good couple. Jeff and Jill energy, very enjoyable. So my question is about hair loss. So, what do you recommend for hair loss in the process of dumping oxalates? Big Mahalo and Aloha!
Jill Harris: Aloha, isn’t that wonderful? Hawaii! Thank you. Thank you for your question. Thank you for your kind words. We’re so happy you’re here and we’re happy that you’ve got on a call and left us a voicemail. So, oxalate dumping and hair loss. Not going to win any friends. Let me just say this: there are people on the internet that just coach on oxalate dumping. I’ve dealt with people with high oxalate for 23 years. I’ve never had one patient have any problem with oxalate dumping? That’s just my experience. I don’t see any great science talking about oxalate dumping either, but I’m not here to cause any friction with that.
All I know and what I can speak to is my patients come to me to lower their oxalate. Oxalate dumping is thought to be, is said to be, has reported to be by people that–not my patients, I’ve had no experience with this–so let me be clear about that. But taking away oxalate to quickly can lead to this, this, this and this. That’s what some people say. I’m not saying it’s true or untrue. In my experience, I have not experienced this. And my patients and students, as soon as they find out they have a kidney stone, most doctors will say, “Stop eating oxalate.” So they do they stop eating spinach and almonds right away. They do that right away because they’re not going to go through that again. I haven’t had patients tell me they had neuropathy from it. I haven’t had patients tell me they lost their hair from getting rid of spinach and almonds, and you know, lowering their oxalate. I haven’t experienced that.
So, hair loss: I’m getting older, you can see my scalp real good now. It used to be I had so much hair, I couldn’t see even though I had eyeballs. So, we are going to lose some. We are going to have hair loss as we get older we women, too. So my question would be to you, is it from oxalate dumping? Is that true? Or are there other things? Do you have another medical condition ? Is your thyroid out of whack? I lost a lot of hair when my thyroid was out of whack in my 40s. Hypo- not enough low thyroid. Could it be from something else that’s going on with you that is causing the hair loss? So, oxalate dumping is getting very popular. A lot of people ask me about it. I don’t have any experience with it. A lot of people will tell you it’s not a real thing.
There are some huge advocates for oxalate dumping that will say it’s absolutely a real thing. I don’t see any real good science to show that it is. And in my experience, I can’t really speak to it because I’ve never had one patient have any of those symptoms after they have lowered their oxalate. So, for your beautiful question, I would say you might want to talk to your doctor about your hair loss. Do some testing to figure out what it could be from. Are you deficient in some vitamins, some nutrients? Have you lost a lot of weight recently? Again, do you have a medical condition that’s predisposing you to hair loss? Are you, like me, getting a little bit older and we are losing some hair we don’t have as much air as we used to?
It could be any of those things, but in my experience, I wouldn’t say it’s oxalate dumping. In my experience. Don’t give me no hate mail people for saying that I just don’t have I’ve never seen that in 23 years and I’ve talked to thousands of people and helped them lower their oxalate. I have a very robust community. They would be talking about that. So, that’s just my experience. Talk to your doctor as to what are the other possibilities that you could have to cause the hair loss? And, also, were you eating 5000 milligrams of oxalate and then you went down to 100? I mean, you know, this is so incredibly rare that that has happened to people. So, not in my experience, do I see anything oxalate dumping related? Never have had a patient or a student have any symptoms from it. And I hope I’m being clear. I think I’ll end it there.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, for sure. I mean, there are so many things that play into our overall health and hair and things can be a–I don’t wanna say a symptom, but sort of a tell that maybe something else is off. And even something as “simple” in air quotes is stress. It can really have a big impact because stress affects our hormones, and our hormone balance affects our hair, and there’s so many things that can cascade down and create different issues. It is, unfortunately, not going to be easy. It’s not going to be simple to say there is exactly one thing. But yeah, that is it’s a complex machine that we are.
Be Careful What You Read on the Internet!
Jill Harris: It is a complex machine! And I know some people are like, “Oh, boy, Jill! If my doctor told me something, I wouldn’t have been asking this on the phone, okay?” But the thing is, you have to be careful when you’re answering some questions. It’s our personal responsibility to really be responsible with the answers we give. So the other thing is, like Jeff said, hormones. Are you going through menopause? Are you losing hair because, you know, of that and the hormones that are going on? Did you lose weight, a lot of weight recently, because of stress? So many different things!
And when you are searching for an answer, and God knows I’m guilty of this, even me, I’ve been guilty of this. My back went out three weeks ago now and I’m like Googling, “Is it from my radiation? Is it from this?” And then you just start getting so heady. And then you see a couple things on the internet, you’re like, “I got that!” And, a matter of fact, that person says, “Because of the symptoms, I must have that!” I’ll always refer patients back to their doctor because when you ask us a question, which I’m so grateful for, but we can’t say it’s this. So, I would never say–and nobody should say “It’s absolutely oxalate dumping!” Who knows that? Nobody here knows your medical history! So you’ve got to be careful. We, as patients, have got to be careful on what we Google and what we take from it.
And also, we who are giving education on the internet have got to be very responsible and be careful about what we’re saying because what we say, people take and do their own thing with. Even me, who’s so particular about what she says. And I know what I say typically, unless you’re asking me kilograms per pound or something, then I get confused! But I mean, even me, I’ve been saying so many of the same things over and over for decades, so I know what I say. But it’s always surprising to me what patients do with, “Jill said, Jill said,”–on my Facebook group where there’s thousands of people, “But Jill said this!” No, Jill didn’t say that! And then I’ll do a Facebook Live and I’ll say, “No, Jill did not say that.!
So sometimes how the message is communicated, and then what is taken from it–it’s a game of telephone, right? So, you know, we as educators have got to be so careful on what we say and how we say it. And I’m always going to say that you should talk to your doctor about that. But it’s a wonderful question and it makes total sense that you may have heard on the internet that that could be caused by oxalate dumping. I’m going to push a little back on that and say I think you should keep seeing what else it could be.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, for sure. Thank you so much for your question. Yeah, that is a question that when it comes to oxalate dumping there’s a lot of information out there and valid or not, good or bad, that isn’t your experience. And, like you said, we stick in the lane of what you know. That’s why I’m just here as the student learning from you. I’m trying to contribute and help where I can and where I’m proficient and understand from my training as a health coach, but when it comes to stones and oxalate and all these things, this is 100% you and this is why we stay in this lane sharing the things that we can be 100% certain is the valid response to a given question.
Jill Harris: Yeah, because we take this seriously. This is your health. So, I’m not just gonna throw stuff around. I mean this is your health, so we’ve got to be–it’s a privilege. It’s a privilege to be able to talk to people and try to help and support them. That’s a privilege. I went on my Facebook page today, and I do this often, and I wrote a post and I said I’m just so grateful. I appreciate that you trust me. You don’t have to–who the hell is this broad on the internet with the rocker t-shirt? I mean, what’s this? You know, you don’t have to. So, I cherish that. I value that. I’m grateful for that because as a patient myself with cancer stuff, it’s like, you want somebody you can trust.
So, we here are going to be very careful about the answers we give. We’re going to be very thoughtful, and we’re going to be sensitive, and we understand that there’s other things going on in your life. It’s not just about kidney stones. And so sometimes when you ask a question–again, so grateful for it because we get to talk about all this in the open. It may not be your experience in the stone world. I’m not saying something’s true or not true. I’m just saying I’ve never seen it in my world in 23 years. All questions are welcome. I’m thrilled to have them and we are both very thrilled and never take a day for granted that you trust us with the information we’re giving you. We’re very grateful for that.
Jeff Sarris: Oh, 100%! And for anyone listening, if you have a question that you’d like to have answered, the number again is 773-789-8763. And we will feature you on a future episode. If you want to dive deeper, there is the Kidney Stone Prevention Course at kidneystonediet.com. There is the weekly email newsletter that every Saturday or every Sunday?
Jill Harris: Saturday! It goes out on Saturday. People mostly read it on Sunday, but it goes out on Saturday.
Yeah, I’m a little off this week, but every Saturday, you send out the email newsletter for a little inspiration to keep people sort of on the right path on the journey to reducing their risk for kidney stones. And that’s completely free. You can find it at kidneystonediet.com, where you can find the meal plans, the prevention course and the link to the Facebook group, which is a wonderful community where people really understand what you’re going through, and you can share the experience together. There’s so many resources and we’re so grateful for having you here. So, I think with that we will just wrap for this week. So thank you again, and we will see you next time.
Bye bye, Hawaii!
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