Certain health conditions, as well as diet and genetics, can cause high levels of uric acid. Dietary changes, such as avoiding alcohol and limiting certain foods and beverages, may help lower levels.
Uric acid is a natural waste product from the digestion of foods that contain purines. Purines are found in high levels in some foods such as:
- red meat
- organ meats
Purines are also formed and broken down in your body.
Normally, your body filters out uric acid through your kidneys and in urine. If you consume too much purine in your diet, or if your body can’t get rid of this by-product fast enough, uric acid can build up in your blood.
A normal uric acid level is under
Uric acid can collect in your body for many reasons. Some of these are:
- obesity or being overweight
Certain health disorders can also lead to high uric acid levels:
Read on to learn how you can lower uric acid levels in your body naturally.
You can limit the source of uric acid in your diet. Purine-rich foods include some types of meat, seafood, and vegetables. All of these foods give off uric acid when they’re digested.
Avoid or reduce your intake of foods such as:
- red meat
- organ meats
Results from a
While high levels of uric acid are commonly linked to a protein-rich diet, sugar intake may also play a role.
Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruit and honey. As your body breaks down fructose, it releases purines and increases uric acid levels.
Other types of sugars added to food include table sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup, among others.
Take steps to lower the amount of sugar you consume with these steps:
- Eat more whole foods.
- Limit processed, packaged foods.
- Check food labels for added sugars.
- Quench sugar cravings with fresh fruit.
The fructose in beverages is absorbed quicker than sugars in whole foods because beverages don’t contain fiber, protein, or other nutrients.
Replace sugary drinks with:
- sparkling water
- unsweetened herbal, black, or green tea
- coffee (without added sugar)
Drinking plenty of fluids helps your kidneys flush out uric acid faster. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Set an alarm every hour to remind you to take a few sips.
Drinking alcohol can make you more dehydrated.
Certain types of alcohol, such as beer, contain a higher purine content than others. However, even alcoholic beverages that are lower in purines can increase purine production in the body.
Alcohol increases the metabolism of nucleotides, another source of purines that can be turned into uric acid.
Alcohol also affects the rate at which uric acid is secreted, which can lead to increased levels in the blood.
- It competes with the enzyme that breaks down purines in the body, which lowers the rate of uric acid production.
- It increases the rate at which your body excretes uric acid.
Obesity may contribute to elevated uric acid levels. Carrying around extra pounds can increase uric acid production and decrease the excretion of uric acid through the urine.
If you’re overweight, it’s best to avoid fad diets and crash dieting. Talk to a nutritionist about a healthy diet and weight loss plan that you can follow. Your doctor can recommend a healthy weight goal for your body type.
Have your blood sugar level checked when you visit your doctor. This is important even if you don’t have diabetes mellitus.
Your doctor may want to check your serum insulin level in addition to your blood glucose level if insulin resistance is suspected.
Eating more fiber can help reduce uric acid levels. Fiber can also help balance your blood sugar and insulin levels. It also tends to increase satiety, helping to lower the risk of overeating.
Most adults should aim to get
- brown rice
Slowly increase your fiber intake to avoid digestive discomfort.
Talk to your doctor about whether or not increasing your vitamin C intake may be beneficial. The daily recommended intake of vitamin C is between
You can get more vitamin C through your diet, by eating more fruits and vegetables, such as
- red and green peppers
Over-the-counter vitamin C supplements are also available.
Cherries contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory compound which gives them their red color. They’re also a good source of fiber and vitamin C.
Consider snacking on a handful of cherries or sipping on some unsweetened tart cherry juice.
Some medications and supplements can cause uric acid to build up in the blood. These include:
- vitamin B-3 (niacin)
- immune-suppressing drugs like cyclosporine and tacrolimus
- pyrazinamide, a drug that treats tuberculosis
- levodopa, a drug that treats Parkinson’s disease
- beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and other blood pressure medications
If you need to take any of these medications and you have hyperuricemia, work with your doctor to figure out a good alternative.
Diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle changes can help improve gout and other illnesses caused by high uric acid levels. However, they can’t always replace necessary medical treatment.
Take all prescribed medications as directed by your doctor. The right combination of diet, exercise, and medications can help lower high uric acid levels and keep symptoms at bay.
It may seem as if there are a lot of foods you need to avoid to help lower uric acid levels. The best way to limit these foods is by making a weekly meal plan. Talk to your nutritionist for help in making the best diet plan for you.
Keep a list of foods on your shopping list that you should eat, rather than what you can’t eat. Stick to the list as you grocery shop. You can also join an online support group for people with uric acid-related illnesses for more ideas on how to prepare the best meals for you.