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Natural Ways to Reduce Uric Acid

Thursday 24 September 2020
Gout

Table of Contents


I. What is Uric Acid?

a. What is Gout?

II. Changing Your Diet

a. Seafood and Red Meat

b. Alcohol

c. Sugar

III. Weight

IV. Other Medications


What is Uric Acid?

You may have heard about uric acid before, especially if you have gout, but what do you really know about the substance, and how can you remove it from your body? Keep reading to learn about the best ways to lower your levels of uric acid.

Uric acid is a natural substance found in the blood. The body produces this acid in order to break down purines. Purines are chemicals that are found in the body after cells die. They are also found in all of the food and drinks that we consume.

Uric acid is a waste product that is generally removed from the body. The majority of uric acid dissolves in the blood. However, it also leaves the body when we use the restroom. Having high levels of uric acid in your body can cause complex diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and most commonly, gout. [1]

a. What is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis that affects the joints. It can cause the joints to inflame and become incredibly painful. Gout is a common condition in the United States, affecting over eight million Americans. [2]

Two feet, one swollen with gout

Although gout can affect any joint in the body, more than half of the cases involve the big toe of either foot. [3] The pain and inflammation of gout are not constant, but flares up irregularly, causing severe pain for days or weeks. After an episode of gout, a period of remission will follow. During this period, there will be no pain or other symptoms until the next episode.

As well as causing pain and inflammation, joints that are affected by gout are likely to be tender, warm to the touch, and a red or purple color. If the affected joint is in the leg or foot, it may be very painful to put weight on the limb. This can severely affect mobility.

Gout is a chronic condition. However, the frequency and severity of episodes can be reduced by lowering levels of uric acid. Prescription medications, including Colcrys (colchicine), Uloric (febuxostat), and Zyloprim (allopurinol) can also help reduce gout.

Changing Your Diet

People that are looking to lower their levels of uric acid should seriously consider changing their diet. Purines enter our bodies through the food and drinks we consume. However, not all foods have the same purine level. By following a low-purine diet, your body will not need to create as much uric acid.

a. Seafood and Red Meat

You do not need to completely remove red meat and seafood from your diet, as it is important to get enough protein. However, red meat and seafood are particularly high in purines. When possible, you should substitute lean poultry or fish into your meals. [4]

b. Alcohol

There are many different types of alcohol and they are all high in purines, especially red wine and beer. An easy way to naturally reduce your uric acid level is by reducing or completely eliminating alcohol from your diet. For people that want to continue to drink alcohol, you should choose a beverage with a lower alcohol content or use a mixer with your beverage.  [5]

Four glasses of wine on a table

As well as being high in purines, alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of the kidneys in removing uric acid through urination. When drinking alcohol, the kidneys need to filter out waste from the blood caused by alcohol. This can trigger high levels of uric acid and other wastes. This is another reason to cut down on alcohol. [6]

c. Sugar

Fructose is a specific form of sugar often found in soft drinks, fruit juices, honey, and other substances. While foods high in fructose may not necessarily be high in purines, gout patients should still avoid them. The body produces uric acid very quickly when breaking down this type of sugar, which could cause a flare-up of symptoms.

Weight

Fat cells produce more uric acid than muscle cells. [6] For those wanting to naturally reduce their uric acid levels, reaching a healthy weight can help. On average, people that are overweight develop gout around ten years earlier than someone that is a healthy weight. [7]

As well as fat cells producing higher levels of uric acid, being overweight also reduces the efficiency of your kidneys. If the kidneys are not working as effectively, an insufficient amount of uric acid will be removed from the body, once again leading to a build-up of the substance.

Along with your weight, the location of fat on the body is also important. People that have more visceral fat (belly fat) are more likely to develop gout. Visceral fat produces more inflammatory chemicals than other fat cells. People with more belly fat, even if they are not overweight, may need to consider speaking to their doctor about the best way to lose weight. [7]

Other Medications

Almost all people with gout are more likely to have other chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. Around 65 percent of gout patients suffer from five or more chronic conditions. [8] It is, therefore, likely that gout patients will be taking several different prescription or over-the-counter medications.

blue pills in a clear bottle

Many medications and supplements can result in uric acid building up in the body. This can be common in:

  • Aspirin
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Immunosuppressant drugs
  • Vitamin B-3 (Niacin) [6]

If you have recurring gout and take any of these medication types, then you should speak to your doctor who may be able to prescribe an alternative medication for you.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.