Uric Acid: Good or Bad for Your Body?

Uric Acid: Good or Bad for Your Body?

Your body contains uric acid, and you might be wondering if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Uric acid is a waste product in your blood that is created when your body breaks down organic compounds called purines. Purines are “building blocks” our bodies make that play essential roles in RNA and DNA synthesis and cellular energy production. Our bodies break purines apart as cells die — but we also get purines from the foods we eat. The purines that our bodies break down and convert to uric acid come from our food. If our bodies are functioning properly, our livers break down the purines and release the uric acid into our bloodstream. It’s our kidneys’ job to remove the uric acid from the blood and excrete it in our urine.

What Happens If I Have Too Much Uric Acid in My Body?

Sometimes, our bodies produce too much uric acid — or our kidneys can’t remove it fast enough, a condition called hyperuricemia.

  • Hyperuricemia can cause needle-shaped uric acid crystals to form and settle in our joints, causing a very painful type of arthritis called gout.
  • The joint linings become inflamed, often suddenly without any prior pain or symptoms.
  • Untreated, the deposits can cause permanent bone, tissue and joint damage.
  • Tophi, large, swollen growths under the skin, can form around the affected joints or on the upper curve of the ear.

Millions of people suffer from gout (AKA as gouty arthritis), but men between the ages of 40 and 50 are most susceptible. Gout usually affects one joint at a time, with the big toe joint being a prime victim, followed by finger and elbow joints. Many live with gout and can control the flare-ups with dietary and lifestyle adjustments and medication. Nutritional supplements such as Lifetone’s Uric Acid Support can also make a big difference in lowering uric acid levels.

The crystals can also settle in our kidneys and form uric acid kidney stones, which are different than the more common kidney stones formed from calcium deposits. The crystals can also make their way into the ureters (tubes that connect the kidney and bladder) or in the bladder. Uric acid stones can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms such as pain in the lower back, abdomen and groin, blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills.

High uric acid levels have also been linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke and congestive heart failure. One Taiwanese study found that high uric acid levels are associated with a statistically significant increased risk of death. Research has also found correlations between high uric acid levels and Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and high blood pressure.

What Causes Elevated Uric Acid Levels?

Now that we know high uric acid levels can cause painful conditions such as gout and kidney stones — and possibly increase risks of serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, let’s 

understand how we can end up with unhealthy levels of uric acid in our bodies. A wide variety of factors can cause excessive uric acid levels:

  • Having a family history of gout or other genetic conditions.
  • Drinking too much alcohol, especially beer.
  • Eating foods high in purines (we’ll talk more about this in a moment).
  • Taking immune-suppressing medications or diuretics (medications that reduce fluid retention).
  • Having cancer or undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Having kidney disease, diabetes or psoriasis.
  • Being obese.

How Do I know If My Uric Acid Levels Are Too High?

Many people have hyperuricemia but never know it because they don’t experience any symptoms. And a high uric acid level doesn’t always require treatment. You should always consult your doctor if you:

  • Experience sudden joint pain, especially at night.
  • See redness, tenderness and swelling of your joints, especially in your big toe, knee, wrist, elbow or finger joints.
  • Feel pain in your side, lower back, groin or abdomen.
  • Have difficulty urinating, see blood in your urine or your urine smells bad.
  • Feel nauseous or you vomit.

Your doctor will examine you and order a blood test to check for hyperuricemia. Normal values will vary from lab to lab — but in general, normal uric acid levels for men are 3.4-7.0 mg/dL and 2.4-6.0 mg/dL for women.

How Do I Lower My Uric Acid Levels?

Fortunately, if you’re diagnosed with hyperuricemia, you have some options to lower your uric acid levels. Your doctor may prescribe medication if your levels are excessive or you’re suffering from gout. If you have small kidney stones (5mm or less), your doctor may advise you to drink a lot of water to try to pass the stones naturally. Larger stones may require additional treatment and even surgery.

Adding a dietary supplement that contains stinging nettle and celery seed can help neutralize uric acid and balance pH levels.

Dietary Changes

Simply drinking more water is a simple, highly effective way to help your body get rid of excess uric acid. If you’re overweight, you probably don’t need to be told that shedding some pounds will help reduce uric acid levels, as well as reduce the risks of diabetes and other chronic health conditions.

Since some foods are high in purines, you can lower your uric acid levels by avoiding them. Foods highest in purine you should try to avoid or eliminate from your diet include:

  • Alcohol, especially beer or other yeast-containing beverages or extracts.
  • Soft drinks and other sugary drinks.
  • Organ meats such as brain, kidney, liver and sweetbreads.
  • Fish such as anchovies, sardines, herring, cod, trout and haddock.
  • Shellfish such as mussels and scallops.
  • Meat-based sauces and gravies.
  • Wild game such as venison, duck and goose.
  • Veal and high-fat meats and skin.

The majority of people with hyperuricemia don’t experience symptoms, so you may want to ask your doctor to test your blood if you’re concerned. You may be able to reduce uric acid levels naturally by adding an all-natural herbal supplement and by modifying your diet. Your doctor can help you determine the severity of your condition(s) and if you need medication or other treatment.










*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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