6 ways to lower uric acid levels naturally
To lower uric acid levels, you can eat more foods with lower purine levels like cherries. JBfotoblog / Getty Images
To lower uric acid levels, you can eat fewer purines in your diet, get more vitamin C, limit alcohol and sugary drinks, drink more coffee, and try to maintain a healthy weight.
If you're taking certain medications for other conditions, stopping them may also help lower your uric acid levels.
It is important to lower your uric acid levels to reduce your risk of gout and some types of kidney stones.
This article was written by Dr. Jennifer Linehan, a urologist who is Associate Professor of Urologic Oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John's Health Center.
Check out Insider's Insider Reference Library for more advice.
According to the Mayo Clinic, around 20% of people have high uric acid levels. However, around two-thirds of people with high uric acid levels have no symptoms.
Here's what you need to know about uric acid, and how to lower your levels when they are too high.
What is uric acid?
Uric acid is created when your body breaks down chemicals called purines. Uric acid is said to be a waste product: it dissolves in your bloodstream, flows through your kidneys, and leaves your body in the urine.
However, if the uric acid in your blood is not filtered out efficiently and reaches a high level called hyperuricemia, crystals can form. If these crystals settle in your joints, it can lead to gout, an arthritis. About 20% of people with hyperuricemia develop gout.
You may be at an increased risk of high uric acid levels if you:
I've had chemotherapy or radiation for cancer
Your uric acid levels can be measured with a blood test. For women, it should be below 6 milligrams per deciliter of blood. For men it should be below 7 mg / dl. If your uric acid levels are too high, here are some of the best ways to lower them naturally:
1. Eat foods with fewer purines
Purines are chemicals that are naturally produced by your body and are also found in certain foods. Animal purines from meat and seafood, in particular, can affect your uric acid levels.
"Most people eat more [purines] than they think," says Dr. Monya De, internist in Los Angeles.
The following foods are high in purine, so those looking to lower their uric acid levels should avoid or limit eating:
Organ meat such as the liver or kidneys
Shellfish and oily fish like anchovies and tuna
Some vegetables, including asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach
On the other hand, the following foods contain small amounts of purines, so consuming them will not increase your uric acid levels:
Nuts and peanut butter
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt
Cherries and other fruits
Eating a healthy diet can also help lower uric acid levels. For example, a 2016 study published in the American Art of Rheumatology journal Arthritis & Rheumatology found that people with prehypertension and hypertension were able to lower their uric acid levels by up to 1.3 mg / dL after a 30-day DASH diet.
2. Get more vitamin C.
Researchers have found that vitamin C can help lower your uric acid levels. In a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism in 2005, participants who took 500 mg of vitamin C supplements daily for two months had significantly lower uric acid levels - an average drop of 0.5 mg / dL - than participants who took placebos.
However, this may not be the case for people who already have gout. A 2013 study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism found that participants with gout who took 500 mg of vitamin C daily for eight weeks did not significantly lower their uric acid levels.
Also, if you have had kidney stones, discuss your vitamin C intake with your doctor as this can increase the risk of stone formation.
3. Limit alcohol and sugary drinks
Drinking beer and liquor appears to increase your uric acid levels, according to the Third U.S. Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in Arthritis Care & Research.
Alcohol increases the purines in your blood, which leads to the production of more uric acid. Beer contains the most purines while wine contains the least.
"Alcohol dehydration can be a cause of high levels, and regardless of that, alcohol prevents the body from uric acid from interacting with higher lactic acid levels," says De.
Soft drinks containing sugar or high-fructose corn syrup were also linked to elevated uric acid levels, according to the results of the same survey. When your body breaks down the fructose, a natural sugar in these drinks, it makes purines, which then produce uric acid.
To lower your uric acid level, you should stay away from the following beverages:
Soft drinks with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup
Juices with high fructose corn syrup
4. Drink coffee
Coffee contains an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which can lower your uric acid levels and even prevent gout.
For example, in a 2007 study, men who reported drinking four to five cups of coffee a day had a 40% lower relative risk of gout compared to men who did not drink coffee.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it seems safe for healthy adults to drink up to four cups of brewed coffee a day. However, drinking more can lead to caffeine-related side effects such as headaches, insomnia, and nervousness.
5. Try to lose weight
In addition to avoiding certain foods and drinks, losing weight can also lower uric acid levels. Being overweight or obese makes your kidneys less efficient at removing uric acid from your urine. The risk of developing gout is ten times higher in overweight people than in people of healthy weight.
A 2017 study published in Oncotarget of 4,678 people in China with high uric acid levels found that those who had lost more than 22 pounds over two years had "significantly" lower uric acid levels. This was especially true of overweight, middle-aged men.
In overweight and obese people with gout, a review of 907 patients from 10 studies in 2017 found that those who lost 6 to 75 pounds decreased their uric acid levels by around 0.3 to 1.9 mg / dL.
6. Do not take certain medications
Some drugs can increase your uric acid levels because they make you produce less urine. These prescription drugs include the following:
Diuretics, also called water pills, such as Demadex (torsemide), microzid (hydrochlorothiazide), and thaliton (chlorthalidone)
Antituberculosis antibiotics such as Rifater (pyrazinamide) and myambutol (ethambutol)
Immunosuppressants such as Gengraf (cyclosporine)
Low-dose aspirin can also increase levels as it can affect your kidneys' ability to excrete uric acid.
It is important to let your doctor know if you are taking any of these drugs. "A good doctor will look at the patient's list of medications and share those that may make the problem worse," says De.
Research has found that monitoring your diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your uric acid levels. However, for some people, this may not be enough, and you will also need to take medications that can be effective in lowering uric acid levels. If you have gout, your doctor may prescribe drugs that dissolve uric acid crystals.
Related stories from Health Reference:
The main causes and risk factors for kidney stones
The 3 best natural home remedies for kidney stones
4 ways to naturally lower your creatinine levels
How to spot 3 early signs of diabetes
What is Metabolic Acidosis? Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
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