Natural Ways to Reduce Uric Acid in the Body
Uric acid is a waste product produced naturally from the digestion of foods that contains a substance called purines. Examples of food that has a high level of purine are sardines, beer, and dried beans. Your body then filters out the uric acid via your kidneys and into your urine.
However, if you are unable to remove uric acid efficiently or consume too much purine, uric acid can build up in your blood. In turn, this can lead to a condition called gout whereby it causes painful joints due to the accumulation of urate crystals. High levels of uric acid can also cause your blood and urine to be too acidic which will lead to a host of other conditions.
Why Does Uric Acid Accumulate In Our Bodies?
There are various causes of the accumulation of uric acid. Some of it can be attributed to the imbalance in diet or genetics. Stress and obesity can be the causative factors as well. Furthermore, there are numerous health disorders that can affect uric acid levels such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, psoriasis, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer or chemotherapy.
So, how can we lower uric acid levels naturally?
1. Limit source of uric acid in the diet
When talking about reducing uric acid, it is best to start with the origin. It is best to limit purine-rich food thereby decreasing the production of uric acid from its digestion.
Examples of food high in purine:
- organ meats, for example, liver and sweetbreads
- fish, shellfish, and scallops
- dried beans
- green peas
2. Increase consumption of low-purine foods
By replacing foods with a lower purine content, it may be able to steadily lower uric acid levels or at least avoid further increases. Examples of food with low-purine content are:
- low-fat and fat-free dairy products
- peanut butter and most nuts
- most fruits and vegetables
- whole-grain rice, bread, and potatoes
3. Avoid drinking alcohol
Alcohol can make you become dehydrated and cause your kidney to filter out waste products in the blood that occur due to alcohol. In turn, it is unable to properly clear out the uric acid thereby leading to high levels of it floating about in your body. Bear in mind as well that the alcoholic drinks themselves such as beer and liquor may even be a source of purines themselves which is a double no!
4. Reduce weight
Aside from your diet, some extra weight can increase uric levels. This is because our fat cells produce more uric acid than the muscle cells. Furthermore, being overweight does make it harder for your kidneys to remove the uric acid. However, take note that losing your weight too quickly may also mess about with your uric levels too. As such, if you are looking to lose weight, avoid any crash dieting. It is best to have a chat with a nutritionist about a weight loss plan to ensure that you lose weight healthily.
5. Avoid consuming sugarNow, uric acid is normally linked to protein-rich food. But studies have shown that sugar may also be another potential cause! In particular, food containing a type of sugar called fructose tends to be the culprit. Fructose is a sugar that is often present in processed and refined food so you may find it in food such as your table sugar and corn syrup. Always check your food label first to have an idea of how much you are consuming.
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Sugary drinks such as dosa and fresh fruit juices are also another common source of sugar. Try to replace these sugary drinks with filtered water and fiber-rich smoothies. By drinking more water, you will be helping your kidneys to flush out the uric acid. Endeavour to make a habit of drinking around 1.5-2 L per day by keeping a loveable water bottle at your side and setting alarms to remind you to drink.
6. Balancing insulin levels
Individuals with type 2 diabetes may have too much insulin within their blood which can lead to excess uric acid and weight gain. However, even if you don’t have diabetes mellitus, it is still important to check your blood sugar levels when you do visit your doctor. In the case that you have high levels of insulin, your doctor can help you manage it from there earlier on.
7. Manage your stress
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In our hectic lives, at times, stress may seem like a constant companion that you just have to live with.
Unfortunately, stress, along with poor sleeping habits and lack of exercise, can cause inflammation that may lead to high uric levels. To help you beat that stress, try to practice some mindfulness techniques such as breathing exercises and yoga. There are a colorful array of applications available for you to try at home or classes that you can enroll in. It would also be good to practice sleep hygiene such as avoid drinking caffeine after lunchtime, sleeping and waking at the same time each day and avoid looking at digital screens a few hours before bedtime.
8. Increase fiber intake
Fiber can aid in balancing your blood sugar and insulin levels as well as clearing out uric acid. Try to add around 5-10 grams of soluble fiber daily with whole foods such as:
- fresh, frozen, or dried fruit
- fresh or frozen vegetables
9. Check your medications and supplements
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Certain supplements and medications can cause uric acid to build up whether as a side effect or simply due to how it works. Examples of such substances are:
- vitamin B-3 (niacin)
- immune-suppressing drugs
- chemotherapy drugs
If you have high levels of uric acid and do require these drugs or are already taking them, have a discussion with your doctor to find another suitable alternative or a plan to help reduce the effects of the substance.
10. Go For Vitamin C Supplements
Studies have shown that consuming vitamin C can lower uric levels. If you would like to have a go at taking vitamin C supplements, here at GEM Pharmacy, we have a fantastic array of vitamin C supplements which you can see here.
Practicing the discussion habits and changes can help to reduce the risk of gout and prevent flares up for those who do have gout. Nonetheless, for some people, diet and lifestyle changes may not be adequate to completely lower down the uric levels to treat gout and may require other medications. Regardless, always have a chat with your doctor about what you are comfortable with and your concerns to work together to make the best health plan for you.
References:Laura Goldman. (2021). 6 ways to lower uric acid levels naturally. Retrieved from https://www.insider.com/how-to-lower-uric-acid
Stacy Sampson. (2019). How to lower uric acid levels naturally. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325317
Stacy Sampson. (2019). Natural Ways to Reduce Uric Acid in the Body. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-reduce-uric-acid