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.

A study published in Nephrol suggest that hospitalized patients with high serum uric acid levels have increased risks for acute kidney injury also known as AKI, non-recovery fro AKI and death compared to patients with low levels.

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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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