How To Control Uric Acid
Uric acid is a waste product, which is a result of your body breaking down purines from food, but most of us simply do not worry about our uric acid levels, so why is it important to know how to control uric acid? I am going to go through what uric acid is and how it affects our bodies, as well as tips on how to control uric acid or, at the very least, reduce uric acid levels.
What is uric acid?
Uric acid is produced because of the metabolism of purine rich foods. Most uric acid dissolves in blood and is taken back to the kidneys for its elimination through urine. Food and drinks high in purines could elevate uric acid within the body.
What foods are rich in purines?
Food and drinks high in purines will result in an increase in uric acid and these include:
- Red meat
- Organ meats, especially liver
- Seafood including shrimp, lobster, salmon & sardines
- Food and drinks containing high fructose corn syrup and alcohol
High uric acid levels can cause major problems with joints and affect many of our organs, so it is important to follow a uric acid control diet chart which can be obtained from your GP or online to manage uric acid levels in the body.
What are the dangers of high uric acid levels?
High uric acid levels can cause crystals to form which can settle in joints causing gout, a form of arthritis which can cause severe pain. These crystals may also settle in the kidneys resulting in the formation of kidney stones. These are just two common concerns associated with high uric acid levels and there are also silent diseases associated with high uric acid levels that can cause complications in time, such as cardiovascular disease.
There are two reasons why one can have too much uric acid:
- Some purines are naturally made by the body for nerve transmission and other processes however when there is an excess of purines from dietary sources, these are almost exclusively converted into uric acid.
- Some people simply do not excrete uric acid sufficiently whether due to poor kidney function or otherwise. This accounts for almost 90% of cases with high uric acid levels.
Although one associates high uric acid with gout, many of these individuals remain symptom-free for many years, whilst this acid is causing the destruction of our joint tissues. It is also a high risk for cardiovascular disease and kidney disease, since any acid in the body can be destructive, with the exception of hydrochloric acid which is produced by the stomach and is protected by the cells lining the stomach.
Treatment for high uric acid
Medications for reducing uric acid are only prescribed once someone has a full-blown attack of gout yet, as mentioned earlier, high uric acid levels can be silently causing destruction of our tissues, organs and the whole body.
Gout affects roughly 1% of the population in Western countries but it is estimated that anywhere between 15% and 20% of people have higher than average uric acid levels and are tragically left without options as medications are only prescribed to those with a full-blown attack of gout or those diagnosed as having very high uric acid levels following a routine blood test.
Most of the medications for reducing uric acid levels are effective, but not without side effects.
The enzyme xanthine oxidase is involved in the production of uric acid. Any herb or natural extract that inhibits xanthine oxidase will help to reduce uric acid. A tree fruit extract of Terminalia bellerica is thought to be a good natural uric acid lowering agent.
The fruit of Terminalia bellerica has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for decades for the removal of kidney stones and several other health concerns. Its high tannin content appears to inhibit xanthin oxidase which in turn controls uric acid.
A double-blind clinical study using the above extract on 110 volunteers found that almost nine out of ten volunteers achieved the target level of uric acid within 24 weeks without any side effects.
Critically this extract is available without prescription to anyone wanting to reduce uric acid levels, such as gout sufferers. It should help prevent the manufacture of uric acid from the purines in the food we eat.
Tips to control uric acid
The control of uric acid is important since this compound can cause damage to our joints, soft tissues and organs as well as increasing the risk of kidney, heart, and brain disease. I have listed some tips to help maintain lower uric acid levels:
Limit purine rich foods: an obvious one, limiting red meat, pork, lamb and seafood will help reduce uric acid levels.
Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol: alcohol interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body.
Maintain good kidney health: since 90% of high levels of uric acid arise from the inability to excrete this quickly, maintaining healthy kidney function is beneficial.
Consider taking a daily supplement containing Terminalia bellerica such as Life Extension's Uric Acid Control. This supplement works to help control uric acid levels within a healthy range without side effects.