Uric acid is a compound that consists of the elements carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen. The composition is such that six carbon atoms combine with four hydrogen atoms, four nitrogen atom, and three oxygen atoms to form a molecule of uric acid. It is a component found normally in urine. It is created when the body breaks down compounds called purines. A higher level of uric acid in one’s urine is suggestive of the fact that there is a kidney disease. Uric acid levels in the urine increase if the patient is subjected to treatment that results in weight loss, such as chemotherapy.
Some of the primary foods that contain a high level of purines are mackerel, dried beans, dried peas, liver, anchovies, beer, etc.
A high level of uric acid concentration in the blood of the human body is termed as hyperuricemia. This is also a concerning cause of kidney stone and it can lead to gout (a form of inflammatory arthritis).
Symptoms of higher/lower uric acid levels
There are various symptoms that are easily attributable to higher uric acid levels. However, in the case of lower uric acid levels, there are not many directly identifiable symptoms. Also, due to the occurrence of lower uric acid levels in the world population being only about 0.5%, the symptoms are barely recognized and so, solid medical experience is required to distinguish and pinpoint the deficiency. Lower uric acid levels might be due to the existence of Wilson’s disease (abnormal accumulation of copper in vital organs), Fanconi syndrome (reabsorption of waste products by the bloodstream, allowed by the kidney). Low consumption of food that lacks in purine also results in the lower uric acid levels. This is called hypouricemia.
The symptoms for hypouricemia are bone pain or feeling weak (due to Fanconi syndrome), dehydration due to the excessive passing of urine from the body. Due to Wilson’s disease, various symptoms such as body aches, depression, fatigue, lower appetite, tendency to be shaky (shakiness), swelling of the limbs, alongside difficulty with walking, talking and swallowing manifest. Slightly lower uric acid levels are of not much concern and can be treated with simple prescriptions.
How to lower uric acid levels?
Higher levels of uric acid in the human body can be detrimental to the body and its functioning. Gout and kidney stones are the major outcomes of hyperuricemia. The recommended, or what is known as the normal level of uric acid concentration in the blood, is to be between 3.5 milligrams and 7.2 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL).
The onset of hyperuricemia results in various symptoms as detailed previously.
If you want to avoid suffering from such conditions, here’s how to remove uric acid that is in excess in the body:
- Increasing water intake: One of the highly regarded, yet highly neglected, essential component of the human body is water. Increasing your water intake can help in washing out a majority of diseases and also in maintaining the temperature of the body. Consumption of water also ensures that there is no formation of uric acid crystals. Along with an increased water intake, one can also consume coconut water, buttermilk, lemon water, green tea etc., in order to increase the fluid content of the body.
- Food habits: Cut down on the intake of purine-rich food items. Purine is the compound that is readily converted by the body into uric acid. Some of the food items, as mentioned above, have higher levels of purine. In addition to that, these food items carry high purine content. They are red meat, baked products (consisting of yeast), fermented products, mushrooms, milk, lentils, egg white, etc.
Consumption of food rich in vitamin C is quite important in the excretion of uric acid. Food such as citrus fruits, gooseberry, bell peppers, cabbage, guava etc., are rich sources of vitamin C.
Intake of caffeine and alcohol needs to be completely avoided because this binds the uric acid and thus excretion of it is lower from the body.
Consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc., adds fiber which absorbs the uric acid and ensures its excretion from the body.
- Sugar intake and apple cider vinegar: Sugar intake needs to be reduced as the sugar content in the blood typically results in the non-excretion of uric acid from the body. There are various research surveys that confirm the fact that the daily consumption of sweetened drinks leads to increased cases of gout.
Apple cider vinegar consists of acetic acid which is later turned alkaline by the body. This alkaline substance restricts the formation of uric acid crystals in the body. Apple cider vinegar can also aid in the circulation of blood and purification. This also reduces the inflammation and swelling of joints.