How to Naturally Lower Uric Acid Levels and Reduce Gout
Uric acid, a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines, affects many people. Purines are normally produced in the body and are also found in some foods and drinks. A build-up of uric acid can cause hard crystals to form in the body and result in immense pain. Luckily, there are several natural methods to help lower your levels of uric acid.
Four Ways to Naturally Lower Uric Acid Levels
- Eat cherries
- Drink water and stay hydrated
- Drink a baking soda solution
- Change to a low-purine diet
More and more gout sufferers are moving away from costly drug-based medications, with their nasty side effects, to natural ways to decrease uric acid. Below are some simple tips on how to lower uric acid levels in the body naturally, without turning to drugs.
1. Cherries Can Help Lower Uric Acid Levels
This is the natural remedy of choice for many gout sufferers. Cherries contain anthocyanins, which have anti-inflamatory properties—ideal for gout attacks. Additionally, research has also shown that they can lower uric acid serum levels. This is why cherries are such a powerful weapon against gout.
- In terms of how much to take, estimates vary between 10 and 40 cherries a day to help prevent attacks.
- During a gout attack, sources have suggested 30 to 40 cherries every four hours.
2. Drink Water and Stay Hydrated
While staying hydrated is already generally important, it's even more crucial that you do so if you have high levels of uric acid.
Make sure that you drink between two and three liters of water every day. Drink small amounts regularly throughout the day. Water helps the kidneys to process and flush uric acid out of the body.
3. Drink a Baking Soda Solution
Consuming a baking soda solution may help to dissolve uric acid crystals, and in turn, increase uric acid solubility.
How to Make a Baking Soda Solution:
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to 8 oz of water. Mix thoroughly.
- Drink a maximum of eight glasses daily. One before bedtime, one when you get up in the morning, and one every 2 to 4 hours between meals.
- Repeat until the symptoms have gone.
Note: Since baking soda is high in sodium, make sure you change to a salt-free diet whilst on this remedy. Also, it's best to avoid this remedy altogether if you suffer from high blood pressure. While you can take it as long as you monitor your blood pressure closely, it's better to err on the side of caution.
4. Change to a Low-Purine Diet
You may want to look into changing to a low purine diet. Since uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines, and purines also exist in our foods, a gout sufferer needs a diet that is relatively low in purines in order to lessen uric acid levels. This also means avoiding high purine foods completely.
- Foods to avoid: The general types of food to avoid are: fatty red meats, offal, poultry, and certain types of seafood including mussels and scallops.
- Cut alcohol: It's important to avoid alcohol. Beer in particular is a trigger for gout.
- Foods that make up a low purine diet: Foods that make up a low purine diet include: essential fatty acids (like salmon), low fat dairy products, complex carbohydrates (like bread, cereal, pasta, and rice), and fruits such as cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes.
What Is Uric Acid?
Before you start taking actions to lower uric acid levels naturally, it's important to understand what uric acid is, where it comes from, why high levels can lead to gout, and why you need to reduce high uric acid levels in the blood.
So, first things first: What is uric acid?
- Uric acid is a by-product of the chemical breakdown of compounds called purines that exist in our bodies' cells and in our food. Purines are very important to us because they provide energy and protein, among other important components. During those processes, uric acid is produced in the bloodstream.
- Uric acid is good for us because it acts as an antioxidant and helps look after the internal linings of our blood vessels. It's our kidneys' job to process the uric acid produced and excrete waste out of our bodies through our urine, or also a little through our stools.
What Causes High Uric Acid in Blood?
While the kidneys usually maintain uric acid at healthy levels, there are times when they are unable to do this. In turn, what results is that excess uric acid is retained in, and circulates in, the blood.
Two of the main causes for high uric acid levels in blood are:
- The kidneys aren't working to their full potential. They are unable to process and expel sufficient uric acid quickly enough, or
- There is too much uric acid being produced by the metabolizing purines for healthy kidneys to process.
Whatever is the case, the result is high uric acid in the blood.
What Is the Result of High Uric Acid Levels in the Body?
- Hyperuricemia: High uric acid levels in the blood is a condition known as hyperuricemia. Over time, this can lead to the production of uric acid crystals. Technically speaking, these are crystals of monosodium urate, which can settle in the joints, tendons and surrounding tissue.
- The body reacts defensively. The crystals are needle-like in shape and are looked upon as foreign objects by the body's natural defenses. In turn, the body's natural inflammatory processes working against these crystals are what actually cause gout symptoms such as redness, swelling, heat, inflammation, stiffness, and very great pain.
These are the symptoms of a gout attack. In other words, high uric acid can lead to gout, which is why it's important to decrease uric acid levels in the body.
What Is Gout?
Gout is an extremely painful form of inflammatory arthritis caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. These uric acid crystals can deposit in other tissues throughout the body, such as the kidney, which can lead to kidney stones. Gout is more common in men over the age of 45, but it can occur in anyone. Factors ranging from a family history of gout, to having other health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease, can increase your risk of developing this problem.
Dangers of Recurring Gout
Many folks are unaware of the dangers of recurring gout. It can be very damaging if one chooses to not deal with their gout in a proper manner. Proper manner, in this case, refers to doing all that one can to prevent recurring gout as opposed to just treating present symptoms during an active attack.
Here are some of the major risks:
- It has been known for some time that frequently recurring gout can lead to permanent and serious joint damage and kidney problems, like painful kidney stones.
- But, recent studies have associated hyperuricemia (high uric acid) with heart disease and stroke. Some have even associated hyperuricemia with a higher risk of death!
If this is your first gout attack, know that you have a much higher chance of more attacks. In fact, it's almost certain, unless you take proper measures to prevent recurring gout. So, again: you need to not only eliminate gout symptoms during an attack, but prevent it from recurring time and time again.
What the Experts Say: Mayo Clinic's Dr. Matteson on High Uric Acid and Gout
The content of this Hub is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider, physician, and/or doctor before taking any medications, natural remedies, supplements, or before making any major changes to your diet.
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