Uric acid is a naturally occurring waste product resulting from the breakdown of purines, crystalline compounds found in certain foods.
Under normal conditions, uric acid dissolves in the blood, passes through the kidneys and is eliminated in the urine. If the diet is high in foods containing purine, or the kidneys are unable to eliminate excessive uric acid, high uric acid levels, known as hyperuricemia or gout, occur.
Higher uric acid levels have also been linked to low-level inflammation, which can lead to a large number of diseases.
Normal uric acid levels are:
- Men: 3.4–7.0mg/dL
- Women: 2.4–6.0 mg/dL
High uric acid in the kidneys is associated with kidney stones and kidney failure. Studies also suggest that elevated uric acid levels in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
Other factors that contribute to high uric acid levels include obesity, an underactive thyroid, psoriasis, diabetes, diuretic medications, and immune-suppressing drugs.
There are some tips and natural remedies that can help reduce and control uric acid levels. In addition, proper diagnosis and treatment by a healthcare professional is a must.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural detoxifier that can help eliminate wastes like uric acid from the body. Consuming apple cider vinegar breaks up the uric acid crystals and prevents them from reforming in the joints by helping with blood circulation and purification.
However, it has to be raw, unpasteurized, undistilled apple cider vinegar with no additives. Raw apple cider vinegar contains malic acid that helps break down and eliminate uric acid. Apple cider vinegar also helps rebuild the alkaline acid balance in the body and provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
You should add 1-2 teaspoon of raw, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Drink this solution two or three times a day.
Vitamin C is important in a low uric acid diet. Lemon juice is a good source of vitamin C and citric acid. Lemon juice will stimulate calcium carbonate formation, as a result, uric acid is controlled. The citric acid and vitamin C in lime can also help lower uric acid levels.
It is a good idea to add freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice to a glass of water and drink it after meals to prevent gout attacks. You can also take vitamin C supplements (2000mg daily).
Cherries and dark berries contain chemicals that help reduce uric acid levels. Additionally, purple and blue-colored berries contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that help lower uric acid and reduce inflammation and stiffness.
You should eat one-half cup of cherries daily for a few weeks. You can also drink one or two cups of tart cherry juice for about four weeks.
Baking soda is highly beneficial for lowering uric acid levels and reducing gout pain. It helps maintain the natural alkaline balance in the body and makes the uric acid more soluble and easier to flush out of the kidneys.
Mix one-half teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Drink up to four glasses of this daily for two weeks. You can drink it every two to four hours.
Note: Do not use this remedy on a regular basis. Also, do not follow this remedy if you suffer from high blood pressure. People age 60 or older should not drink more than three glasses of this baking soda solution daily.
Olive oil and olives
Olives and extra virgin olive oil are considered good alternatives to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) and they are among the foods that lower uric acid levels. The antioxidant vitamin E in olives and olive oil is considered vital to control uric acid levels.
It is best to add olive oil to salads, vegetables, and pastas. Avoid using the olive oil for deep-frying, especially since gout sufferers should always avoid fried foods.
Drinking plenty of water helps filter uric acid from the body, as it helps dilute the uric acid and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate excess amounts through urine.
Also, drinking adequate water regularly can reduce the risk of recurrent gout attacks. In an internet-based study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, researchers found that participants who drank five to eight glasses of water in the 24-hour period prior to a possible gout attack had a 40% decreased risk of an attack compared with those who drank only one glass of water or less.
Drink at least eight glasses of water throughout the day. Also, include more fluids and fresh, water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet.
A low purine diet
Purines are nitrogen-containing compounds that break down into uric acid, thus increasing levels in the body. They are mostly found in animal proteins.
Steer clear of animal proteins like meats, organ meats, fish, and poultry. Legumes, yeast, mushrooms, asparagus and beans are also high in purine. Beer, too, is rich in purine.
High fiber foods and starchy carbohydrates
Foods high in dietary fiber help lower uric acid levels by absorbing it and then eliminating it from the body. You can also eat foods with starchy carbohydrates as they contain only small amounts of purine.
Whole grains, apples, pears, oranges, and strawberries are some examples of high-fiber foods that you can incorporate into your diet. Starchy carbohydrates are foods like rice, whole grain pasta, tapioca (also called sabudana), quinoa, potato, oats, and bananas.
Low-fat milk and dairy products have been associated with lower plasma urate concentrations and reduced risk of gout. Skim milk, for example, contains orotic acid that decreases the reabsorption of uric acid and promotes its removal through the kidneys.
Tofu, too, can help alter plasma protein concentration and increase uric acid clearance. Soy milk, however, has been found to increase uric acid.
Wheatgrass helps restore alkalinity in the blood. Also, it is rich in vitamin C, chlorophyll and phytochemicals that promote detoxification. It is also a good source of protein and amino acids as an alternative to eating animal protein.
Simply drink one ounce (two tablespoons) of wheatgrass juice mixed with a squeeze of lemon juice daily until your uric acid level comes down.
You can also drink green papaya tea to prevent the buildup of uric acid and treat uric acid and gout related problems. The papain in green papaya helps the body maintain an alkaline state and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Additionally, anti-inflammatory herbal remedies will help control uric acid levels. Try olive leaf extract, milk thistle, celery seed extract, capsaicin in cayenne pepper, artichokes, grape seed extract, nettle root, devil’s claw, dandelion root, celery seed extract, pine bark extract, bromelain, chlorella, and ashwagandha.