Gout and Uric Acid

Gout and Uric Acid

How to Lower Uric Acid Levels

Lowering uric acid levels is the key to finding relief for gout sufferers –but how does one lower uric acid levels in the body? Read on to find out.

The average person will have low uric acid levels in their blood. The body produces it when breaking down purines, which is a type of chemical compound found in foods and drinks.

When uric acid builds up in the bloodstream, it consists of a condition called hyperuricemia. If you have hyperuricemia, you are at a higher risk to develop gout. This is why doctors advise gout patients to avoid high purine foods.

Aside from eating foods high in purines there are also other possible reasons why uric acid levels can get too high:

  • The body produces too much acid (mostly genetic)
  • The kidneys can’t properly excrete and flush out uric acid from the bloodstream.

To measure your uric acid levels, you will undergo a blood test. A health professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm and measure the amount of uric acid in that sample.

Uric acid can also be measured in urine. This method helps the doctor determine whether your body is producing too much uric acid or your kidneys are not filtering enough of it.

If your uric acid level is over 6.8 mg/dL, you could have hyperuricemia. Your doctor will provide you recommendations based on your symptoms and past health.

Does having hyperuricemia mean you’ll also have gout?

Not likely. Having high uric acid levels doesn’t automatically mean that you have gout. Most people with hyperuricemia do not experience any symptoms. Medical experts have yet to understand why this is.

Even if that person has a painful joint, it doesn’t always translate to gout. To be sure, the fluids from that affected joint need to be tested first.

Asymptomatic hyperuricemia does not require medical treatment but it’s still advised to get checked by a medical professional since the condition could indicate other problems like:

  • Kidney stones – Uric acid crystals can accumulate in the kidney, causing kidney stones
  • Pseudogout – The symptoms are similar to gout except it’s caused by calcium phosphate crystals, not uric acid crystals

Even if you only suffer from hyperuricemia, it’s still important to be watchful of your lifestyle choices. This is a chance for you to treat your body better so do your best to make healthy decisions that will improve your condition, not worsen it.

 

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8 Ways To Lower Uric Acid Levels

Whether you suffer from gout, hyperuricemia, or some kidney problems that makes it hard to filter uric acid, these tips will help you to manage your condition better.

1. Maintain a healthy body weight

It’s a known fact that extra body weight is associated with high uric acid levels. Work on maintaining a healthy body weight but don’t go doing crash diets as it might only worsen your symptoms. Instead, work on losing weight gradually to reduce uric acid levels.

2. Avoid high purine foods

Today’s standard diet makes it hard to avoid purines. To avoid uric acid buildup, you need to avoid foods that are high in purines such as seafood, organ meats, processed foods, and beer. In addition, you should also avoid alcohol and saturated fats since these inhibit your body’s ability to metabolize purines properly.

Beer is the worst alcohol to drink for gout because it both contains alcohol and yeast which is high in purines. If you have gout or hyperuricemia, you should completely avoid beer or just drink in moderation, preferably with just organic beer.

3. Avoid sugar too!

Artificial sweeteners are the worst offenders of this. When you drink too much sugar, the body finds it hard to flush out the excess uric acid. Avoid food and drinks that are laced with artificial sugars. This includes all processed sweets, pastries, and sweetened drinks (coke, juice concentrate, etc.).

4. Take high fiber foods and Vitamin C

High fiber foods absorb uric acid from the bloodstream, making it easy for the kidneys to filter it. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are some of the best sources of fiber.

Vitamin C has also been found to help with uric acid excretion. Try to consume at least 500mg of vitamin C per day, preferably from natural sources like citrus fruits, bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and guavas. Cherry juice (black or tart) is also a great addition to your diet. Though it is low in vitamin C, it has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help fight uric acid symptoms.

5. Fight inflammation

Since we’re on the topic of anti-inflammatory foods, we might as well mention that fighting inflammation can help fight proteins that’s responsible for inflammation. To reduce uric acid concentration, add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet such as blueberries, cherries, strawberries, bromelain from pineapple and celery.

6. Always drink water

Water dilutes uric acid in the blood and stimulates the kidney to flush out excess uric acid. It’s recommended to drink at least 2 liters of water (8 glasses) every day. I recommend 12 glasses a day! Gout sufferers have to work a little harder.  In addition to that, you can also drink other healthy fluids like lemon water, green tea and other herbal teas.

Not everyone has the same body type and requirement, so your hydration needs may be different from others. Some factors to consider for determining your hydration requirements include age, gender, height, weight, temperature in your area, and activity levels. You may want to speak with a health professional to get an accurate recommendation.

7. Take apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is commonly used by gout sufferers to reduce inflammation and swelling in the joints. Once it turns alkaline in the body, it breaks the uric acid crystals and helps with blood circulation and purification.

8. Follow the 80-10-10 Gout Diet

This is the best diet for gout sufferers that I follow and promote; that is to eat 80% of your daily calories as complex carbohydrates such as fresh vegetables, legumes, some fruit, 100% whole grain breads, pastas, rices and beans for protein. 10% of your daily calories can be lean meats like chicken breast, turkey, red meat and fish. Avoid pork related meats like hot dogs, sausages and cold cuts. The final 10% of your daily calories should be fat as in milk, cheese, eggs, butter, Greek yogurt and so on. Drink only water, herbal teas and coffee. Avoid sugary beverages, processed foods and sugary foods. If you follow this strict diet, you will notice not only that you will feel much better but will also help maintain healthy uric acid levels.

In Conclusion

Lowering your uric acid levels is the best solution to preventing any problems that’s related to gout. Once you already have gout, you’ll do anything just to stop the pain. So do your best to take care of yourself today.

Always monitor your uric acid levels. You want to keep it below 6.0mg/dL. If it’s gets higher than that, consider making immediate changes such as the recommendations we shared above.

What efforts are you currently taking to lower your uric acid levels? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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19 Comments

  • Mark

    Reply Reply February 16, 2018

    In research and trial-and-error over the last couple of weeks after my first series of gout flares, I have discovered that it is not just purines and sugar that I need to be concerned about. I was doing several things prior to my first gout flare that were leading me to my first gout flare:

    1.) I was eating way too much sugar.
    2.) I was taking the wrong supplementation (creatine).
    3.) I was ingesting way too much iron.

    All of these have the effect of promoting a state of acidosis in the body. As my diet was already relatively low or at worst moderate in purine intake, I quickly realized that purines were not really my problem. Over the last two weeks, I discovered a correlation between eating processed cereal HEAVILY fortified with iron (Cheerios) and the onset of my gout flares (about 8 to 16 hours later). Unless you are definitely iron deficient, in addition to avoiding high purine foods during a gout flare, you should also avoid foods with high iron content. Most moderate and high purine content foods also contain a significant amount of iron. But not all high iron content foods contain lots of purines. By the time men reach 45 to 50 years of age, they have more often than not built up significant reserves of iron in their bodies and thus do not need to ingest as much iron. To keep ingesting iron at the same level that you did in your teens and 20s will more often then not tend to push you toward a state of acidosis in your body. One of the many bad potential consequences of this is gout. Women are at least protected from this until menopause. After menopause, women also need to be careful about the amount of iron intake.

    To summarize, if you are a gout sufferer, also stay away from high iron content foods (except for those who have been diagnosed with an iron deficiency).

    • Mark

      Reply Reply February 16, 2018

      As an additional comment, I do not mean that you should avoid all iron. Just avoid the foods that give 50+% of your daily iron needs in one serving. Spread it out among foods that contain 10% or less or your daily iron needs per serving. That way, you are much less likely to intake to much iron.

  • Andrew DeMario

    Reply Reply February 7, 2018

    I am 67 years old and a life-long exerciser who loved beer and sweet red wine. I had gout for eight years. It got progressively worse and more frequent. After I got it in my ankles and I had to crawl to the bathroom and use crutches to get around I decided to take drastic action that ultimately cured me of gout. I took no medications other than over-the-counter pain killers.

    I quit drinking alcohol in any form, adopted a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet and used stevia as a sugar substitute, renouncing use of honey or any other form of sugar. I also drank a cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda every night before I went to bed. I kept this up for one year. At the end of that year I began eating fish, meat and fowl of any and all kinds, along with quantities of raw fruit and vegetables and whole grains.

    My year-long diet and alcohol abstinence and use of baking soda seems to have allowed the crystals in my joints to dissolve and rendered me gout free. I have had no attacks in two years. I have no doubts that in my case it was the beer, sweet red wine and honey that brought on the gout and that meat-eating had nothing to do with it.

    • Joe

      Reply Reply February 17, 2018

      Thanks Andrew

  • S P Upadhyay

    Reply Reply February 5, 2018

    Very helpful advice. Thanks a lot !
    Will definitely try to adhere to it !!

  • Angus

    Reply Reply February 3, 2018

    Hi Spiro

    First of all, thank you for your website, which I have found more illuminating on the subject of gout than any other resource.

    Testament to this is that I have purchased your Ultimate Gout book and tart cherry extract supplements.

    I had a first gout attack in April of last year, and had two more gout attacks in the next of six months.

    My condition was initially misdiagnosed because I had not been overweight, exercised regularly and had followed an almost entirely plant-based, wholegrain, low-oil diet for more than 5 years. I never ate meat but occasionally ate fish including shell fish, but not in great quantities and I consumed no sugary drinks and consumed very little sugar. There was no known suggestion of gout in my own medical history or that of my family. A couple of weeks, before my first attack my uric acid was measured at 5.5 and a couple of weeks after it, my uric acid levels was 5.9. I have no reason to think that my uric acid level had been higher than this previously.
    I did drink dry white wine on a daily basis, but this was the case when my levels were measured at below 6. I was also consuming a typical amount of fish and shellfish when these levels were produced.

    Testing fluid from my toe joint eventually confirmed that gout was the problem, and at that time my uric acid level was 7.4. This is the only time a professional lab measured my serum uric acid level above 6.

    I presently take 100mg Alopurinol daily, together with 6mg colchicine. I no longer drink alcohol, have returned to an entirely plant-based diet. avoid stress, continue to exercise, drink no-fat milk daily, and as well as tart cherry, I supplement with devil’s claw; celery seed, and terminalia bellerica.

    Despite all this labwork measures my my serum uric acid level to hover around 5.6.

    I also self-test my serum uric acid on a daily basis, using a UASure meter, and while I don’t find the results to be very accurate, they sometimes seem helpful in indicating momentary spikes in my levels. When this happens, I test several times, to verify that the result is not a testing error. Even when the spike in levels tests consistently, I can never think of a particular reason why my levels should have spiked but suppose this may have been happening for many years previously without me knowing, but I would have thought that any urate crystals that formed during occasional spikes would dissolve during the much longer subsequent lulls.

    Do you think it is possible for someone to develop gout from sporadic increases above normal range in their uric acid levels, if the levels return to within range less than a day later?

    Although I would prefer not to, I have no significant reservations about taking gout medication for the rest of my life, even though I am unsure as to any benefits this offers me, given that my baseline levels (and possibly spikes in those levels) seem unaffected by the medication and my modified lifestyle (no fish, sugar or alcohol; fat-free milk; supplements).

    Can you suggest any subjects I could research that might help me find a reason why I developed gout, and why my levels do seems to spike occasionally for no obvious reason? I feel that knowing this might help me minimize the frequency and intensity of future attacks.

    Thanks if you are are able to respond, and sorry for bothering you if you are not!

    Best,

    Angus

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply February 3, 2018

      Hi Angus!

      Thank you for your comment!

      If you are eating well and uric acid does rise, it’s probably a kidney related issue, maybe go seek the advice of a nephrologist who can test your kidney health. I for example was born with some thalassemia, a blood disorder connected to the kidneys, so it seems my gout came about at a young age due to this health related disorder. Anything I do diet-wise can still affect me if I don’t take my allopurinol.

      You can read more about it here–>https://goutandyou.com/gout-and-thalassemia/

      Good luck!

  • Joseph Laberge

    Reply Reply February 1, 2018

    Have gout in left hand. Will fasting but drinking lots of water help rid of it quicker!?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply February 2, 2018

      Drinking lots of water will help but I am not a fan of fasting, eat but eat wisely. Eat mostly complex carbs as in fresh vegetables, legumes, 100% whole grain breads, pastas, rices, beans and some fruit. Avoid meat, any food or beverage with sugar, alcohol, processed foods.

      Good luck!

  • Karthik

    Reply Reply January 30, 2018

    Hi,

    I started to do the following to handle gout and uric acid levels.

    a) 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with honey every day. This helped to lower the uric acid level to 7.2 with very less medication.
    b) ginger juice once a week. This helped to reduce the pain in my leg due to sprains (developed through jogging)

  • Art

    Reply Reply January 29, 2018

    I am concerned when I read suggestions similar to the article. Some of the content is DEAD WRONG!

    Gout pain for me is life threatening and ties me up in bed for weeks at a time-wishing the frig I was dead.

    Whole grain foods contain gluten (most of them do). Even if you don’t have an apparent allergy to gluten, it still produces leaky gut when it is consumed. Leaky gut means that very small undigested food particles leak through the gut and end up in the blood and various fluids in the body. The reaction of the body is to attack the invaders with extreme prejudice as well as invoking a fight or flight brain reaction which puts the body in an offensive mode. While in this mode, the body doesn’t heal normally because of the heightened body wide alarm.

    Gluten is the enemy-don’t specify ‘whole grains’ without noting that gluten containing whole grains are to be avoided at all costs.

  • John

    Reply Reply January 25, 2018

    I have just learned that I have gout (I’m 63 years old). I just started a 10 day regiment with gout meds from my doctor. I seem to be finding a lot of conflicting info on the internet though. Here are some examples:

    (1) some sites say no to asparagus, others say it’s good for gout.
    (2) I’ve seen in a lot of places that tart cherry juice is good for gout, others say fruit juice is loaded with sugar, & should be avoided.
    (3) I’ve seen that tuna & salmon are bad, but another site recommends fish oil?

    I really want to control this thing, but it’s hard to sort out what to do or not do. Can you help?

    Regards,
    John Russell

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 25, 2018

      Hi John!

      I know it can get confusing but the biggest study done on this subject is very clear and it’s the diet I propose.

      80% of your daily calories should be complex carbohydrates as in fresh vegetables, legumes, 100% whole grain breads, pastas and rice. Throw out all the white stuff. Beans instead of meat for protein is ideal. Some fruit is fine too but not too much, 1-2 portions max.

      10% of your daily calories should be fat as in low fat milk, cheeses, yogurt, eggs, butter, nuts etc…

      10% of your daily calories should be lean meat like chicken breast, turkey and lean beef from time to time and/or fish. That’s about 4 to 6 ounces a day.

      Drink only water, herbal teas and coffee.

      Avoid all processed foods, alcohol and sugary beverages.

      Asparagus is fine, yes it’s a complex carb that is a bit higher in purines but won’t result in a direct gout attack ever cause your body metabolizes a vegetable differently compared to meat or sugar.

      Cherry juice is loaded with sugar so best to consume a tart cherry extract for best results!

      Tuna and salmon you can eat 4 to 6 ounces occasionally.

      Hope this action helps you get on the right track concerning your gout diet.

      Good luck!

  • Parikshit

    Reply Reply January 22, 2018

    I was told to avoid carrots for uric acid, why is that?

  • Killian Kavanagh

    Reply Reply January 19, 2018

    Very good information, very simple, not far off what my doctor gave me

  • PAUL EDDY

    Reply Reply January 18, 2018

    You mention artificial sugars or sweeteners in soft drinks as being a problem….what is the situation with sweeteners 950 & 951?

  • Dorothy Ramsumer

    Reply Reply January 18, 2018

    Thanks for your information. I am now drinking lots of water and am taking Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with Raw Honey and feel this is doing me good. Thanks once again, much appreciated.

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