What is uric acid and how to control it? Nowadays high levels of uric acid have become a trouble for a lot of people. It is a natural waste product of our bodies. It’s produced in our bodies daily. It’s also known as “rich man’s disease”.
Uric acid is a natural metabolite that comes from one chemical called Purine. Purine is formed due to the natural cell breakdown of our body.
It is found in human body tissue. Some foods are also considered purine-rich. When the body breakdown purine rich foods or human body tissue, it produces or leaves a product called Uric Acid.
What level of uric acid is dangerous?
Normal uric acid levels range from 1.5-6.0 mg/dl. Normal value ranges may vary among different laboratories.
The uric acid normal range in females:
The normal range of uric acid in females is 2-6 mg/dl.
The uric acid normal range in males:
The normal range of uric acid in males is 3-7 mg/dl.
It is a disorder of protein metabolism in which abnormally high levels of uric acid accumulate in the blood. Endogenous production of uric acid from the degradation of purines accounts for 60%, the remainder being of dietary origin.
Most of the uric acid is excreted via the kidney. It is the reduced renal urate clearance that leads to hyperuricemia.
What causes high uric acid levels in the body:
The point to be debated is when uric acid is a normal by-product, which is produced in the body daily, then what causes uric acid levels to increase in the body?
When the body does not excrete this waste product (uric acid) efficiently/optimally, it leads to an increased level of uric acid in the human body.
What happens if waste is not removed from the body:
When the body doesn’t clear out waste products? It happens when the body is not functioning or the kidneys are not operating the way they should. So we need to optimize body functioning by the supporting clearance process. If you have to decrease uric acid, you essentially need to do is to adopt strategies that help clearance of uric acid.
The person suffering from hyperuricemia needs to optimize the clearance, not avoid foods like tomatoes, pulses, meat, spinach, etc. Hence proved that the reason behind increased uric acid levels is insufficient clearance.
What causes decreased excretion of uric acid:
Sometimes decreased excretion of uric acid is due to any medical condition or drugs but mostly uric acid levels increase due to;
. Sitting for too long
If you need to stop the above-mentioned things, what are the things you need to add to your lifestyle are;
. Increased water intake
Why do you smoke? The answer is to destress. But what is a better destresser that helps you with clearance is to sleep on time.
Water intake plays a vital role in flushing out uric acid from the body. Also, alcohol causes dehydration which leads to poor clearance. This poor clearance ultimately leads to an increased level of uric acid.
When you are sitting for too long, cells don’t get oxygenated blood supply, so it also comes in the way of waste clearance.
What happens if uric acid stays high: (Hyperuricemia)
If uric acid levels keep on increasing, it leads to inflammation in joints, decreased movements in joints, and decreased mobility. Over some time hyperuricemia (high levels of uric acid level) can cause kidney stones too. So it’s necessary to maintain uric acid at a lower level.
How to reduce Uric Acid levels:
How is a high uric acid level treated? Following lifestyle modifications can help to manage optimal levels of uric acid.
People suffering from increased uric acid levels which are called hyperuricemia, usually do not drink enough water throughout the day. Rather they drink more water at night time to compensate for the daily water requirement, which is wrong.
Be very conscious regarding your water intake and work on increasing the water intake throughout the day instead of taking it at night.
Now the question arises How will you increase water intake throughout the day? The easier solution to this query is to keep your water bottle around. This will helps you to hydrate and you will not forget to drink water after specific intervals.
Eat fresh seasoned fruit daily. If you have some inflammation, food that really works well is Banana (as banana is available for 12 months a year).
You need to add yogurt/milk to your daily diet. Yogurt with raisins is a very good combination, as people suffering from high uric acid (hyperuricemia) usually have low vitamin B12 levels. Yogurt and raisins act as very nice probiotic, also it is rich in B12 and Fe(iron).
Nuts will play an important role in providing you with healthy fats, minerals, and essential vitamins. You can take a hand full of nuts in the evening with tea. Replace sugary biscuits, and cookies with nuts i-e peanuts, walnuts, etc. Nuts also help keep uric acid down.
5- Pulses and sprouts:
Do add pulses and sprouts to your diet, but you need to be cautious about how to take them. First, you need to soak them for half an hour. Then you must sprout them and cook them before eating. The last step to look upon is ‘eat in the right proportion’.
Eating in the right proportion means you need to be careful regarding how many portions of pulses are needed with how many portions of rice or bread. Portion control is necessary. Sometimes to lower our carbohydrates level we eat too many pulses, which is not good for uric acid disease sufferers.
Working from home (especially on covid days) and sitting down added to the misery of increased uric acid sufferers. For every 30 minutes of sitting down, stand at least for 2-4 minutes. Keep your body mobile
Do strength training at least twice a week. 3-4 times is preferable. Add stretches, and yoga too on daily basis. Adapt it for 3 months and your uric acid will start to come down.
Does milk increase uric acid? The answer is NO. Have a glass of milk or Golden milk (milk with turmeric) before you sleep, if you feel trouble sleeping. It will destress your body and also helps with good sleep.
8- Keep gadgets away:
The more time you spent on a gadget, the more time you keep sitting and the higher your chances of having high uric acid. So cut down on the usage of your gadgets.
What should we avoid when uric acid increases?
Following are the things you need to avoid when suffering from Hyperuricemia (increased uric acid level);
All packaged items like ketchup
Tetra Pak juices
Beverages including Diet beverages, as diet beverages flareup uric acid levels
Stop smoking and Alchohol consumption
Myths about high uric acid:
The statement that you need to leave certain food groups if you are suffering from high uric acid is a Myth. It is said that you need to avoid foods like spinach, tomatoes, legumes, etc, which is a myth. You do not totally leave spinach. You can eat it nut after properly cooking it and in proper portion. It will not create any problems regarding uric acid.
You can also take milk and milk products.
An egg is totally safe too but does not eat much. 1-2 eggs a day is ok.
Do eat meat and fish too, but eat with vigilance and in proper portions. Portion control is necessary, two times a week in small portions i-e as a part of your lunch or dinner. You need to eat a wholesome diet.
You can safely have all the vegetables. Cook them properly and have them.
Take millets that are in season.
It is also safe to have protein too. If you are taking whey protein, just take it right after exercise. Rehydrate and replenish yourself.
Lifestyle changes to manage high uric acid levels:
Some people think allopathic medicine is the only way to treat high uric acid levels. You may need a pill to bring the uric acid level down but you also need to understand that your lifestyle and dietary habits also help you and assist you in flushing extra uric acid from your body.
The health of trillions of cells in your body is affected by many factors., which include;
your stress levels
quality and quantity of sleep
what you eat
your lifestyle choices
the kind of medication that you are on
and many other things.
It is multifunctional. There are trillions of cells that affect human body parts, which are working together at the same time.
The kidney works as a filter. It flushes out uric acid and you do not face any problems. The problem arises when your kidney is unable to filter all uric acid out of the body or your body is producing too much uric acid because of many reasons.
Uric acid accumulates in your kidney. Some of it crystallizes and accumulates in joints, which we called as GOUT. Gout usually is found in your big toe, within your fingers, elbows, knees, and even in your heels.
The Pathophysiology of GOUT:
Uric acid homeostasis is determined by the balance between production and renal excretion.
Hyperuricemia and Gout:
The excess uric acid crystallizes. It gives you a sign that your kidney is not working too well, due to reduced renal fraction clearance of urates. When you take allopathic pills, you actually suppress the symptoms and signs your body is trying to tell you, that something is wrong.
Over time this becomes very painful for the sufferer and the patient start getting treated for arthritis and other issues with pain medications and immunosuppressants. These regimes do not work in the long run because the problem is in your kidney and your lifestyle.
In very very few people, a side-effect of uric acid treatment with medications causes kidney functioning to slow down.
Know your Gout triggers:
What triggers uric acid in the human body?
A lot of people have to take diuretics because of water retention. People don’t know that these diuretic pills cause high levels of uric acid in the body. It causes your kidney unable to excrete extra uric acid from the human body.
There are natural alternatives for diuretics available, but you need to check by your physician/doctor before considering these natural alternatives.
2- Excessive alcohol consumption:
Excessive alcohol consumption especially red wine can build up high uric acid in the body.
Genetics runs in the family. Some people have high uric acid levels due to genetics which is beyond their control.
If a patient has an underactive thyroid, he/she needs to get it fixed, as hypothyroidism can lead to high uric acid levels in the body.
the endocrine system in your body controls everything in your body, which includes your metabolism. The kidney has to metabolize uric acid and flush it out of the body. Thus everything is connected you your thyroid gland and the metabolism of many acids in the human body.
5- Immunosuppressant drugs:
Many people have to take immunosuppressant drugs. These drugs also cause the accumulation of uric acid in many people.
6- Overdose of VitB3:
Overdose of vitamin B3 can lead to high uric acid levels as well.
Obesity is a crucial factor in Gout patients. When you have lots of fat inside your body, your kidneys struggle to work. They cannot excrete uric acid out of the body, So uric acid levels rise in your blood, which can be shown on your blood reports.
What can be mistaken for Gout?
The biggest mistake most people who are suffering from GOUT (high uric acid levels) do is, to go to a low protein diet. Here you need to understand that every protein is not purine rich. You just need to avoid high purine food, as purines get metabolized to uric acid and the kidney is not flushing out too much uric acid.
Few proteins like red meat, organ meat, peas, and mushrooms are high purine foods, as all proteins are not high purine foods. So you don’t have to go on low-protein food when you have high uric acid levels.
30% of purines come from your food, and 70% of purines already exist in human tissue. So the problem is the inability of your kidney to flush out uric acid.
Acidosis is a huge problem. It means a very acidic body. Your stomach has to be acidic but your blood has to be alkaline. If it’s too acidic, your kidney will not flush out extra uric acid.
Diabetes and hypertension have an effect on your kidney. Anything that affects your kidney will cause an accumulation of uric acid if you don’t look after your kidney well.
Pure vegetarians people who are on vegetables and fruits have high uric acid as well. A lot of people eat fruits mindlessly, considering them to be healthy. Fructose gets metabolized very differently from glucose if you beat too many fruits.
your body struggles to break it down and it gets metabolized in your liver and the excess causes purines-
more purines=more uric acid. When the body metabolizes purines, by product will be uric acid. So everything has to be taken in balance.
Natural Ways to Reduce Uric Acid in the Body:
There are natural alternatives for diuretics available, but you need to check with your physician/doctor before considering these natural alternatives.
a- Apple Cider Vinegar:
1-2 tablespoons in a big glass of water, 30 min before your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can have it one or three times a day. This is a good way to flush down the uric acid.
b– Lemon juice:
Squeeze lemon in water. This will help uric acid to keep level.
Both apple cider vinegar and lemon juice are acidic but when they break down in the body, they are alkaline. This alkaline nature is very helpful when it comes to uric acid.
Oats, grains, fruits, nuts, fiber, celery seeds (ajwain), and coriander seeds are very helpful to flush out uric acid from your system. Strawberries, and cherries, act as a very good diuretic.
Boil coriander seeds and celery seeds and take it sip by sip. This will be very helpful in flushing excess uric acid out of the body.
d- Limit exercise:
If you exercise a lot and suffering from high uric acid levels, you need to limit over-exercising. more exercise=more tissue breakdown=more purines.
Vitamin D supplementation is very useful in the case of ankle and joint pain. VitC supplementation is also recommended, as its also required for vitD absorption. Fruits with high fructose content should be avoided.
Two classes of drugs have been used to lower serum urate;
- Uricosuric drugs: These increase the excretion of uric acid by blocking its renal tubular reabsorption.
- Uricostatic drugs: These reduce the synthesis of uric acid by inhibiting xanthine oxidase.
- Persistent accumulation of MSU crystals causes joint damage through mechanical effects leading to chronic symptoms of arthritis.
- Type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance)
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Fatty liver
- Kidney stones
- Congestive cardiac failure
- Blockage of kidney filtering tubules
24-hour urine test