Uric acid level too high? How can you reduce it in a safe way?
Uric acid is a toxic acid waste that is formed during purine metabolism. Purines are substances that are released during the breakdown of cells in the body. Purines are also released during digestion of purine-containing foods.
Increased uric acid production is determined by heredity; there is nothing you can do about it. If, in addition to the increased hereditary uric acid production, there are activities that result in even more uric acid production, it could trigger the body to develop certain related disorders.
Uric acid over-production also occurs in certain diseases with rapid tissue breakdown, such as blood cancer and severe anaemia and also after rapid tissue breakdown, for example during radiation treatment of malignant disorders. Increased concentrations of uric acid are also found in people whose kidneys are not working properly and people with certain inherited metabolic disorders (Lesch-Nyhan syndrome).
Generally, women have slightly lower uric acid levels than men. This is because women remove much acidic waste, including uric acid, during their monthly menstruation. It changes after the menopause when generally the uric acid level is the same as that of men.
In measuring uric acid in the blood the upper limit for men is set at 7mg per 100 mland for women at 6mg per 100ml.
How is uric acid removed from the body?
Uric acid produced after breakdown in the blood must be removed from the blood by the body because otherwise the blood pH will become too high (blood pH must always be kept at a constant level). Uric acid is neutralized in the blood and removed from the body in the following ways:
- Neutralization by sodium bicarbonate : sodium bicarbonate is the substance in the blood which regulates the acid-base balance of the blood. Sodium bicarbonate reacts with uric acid and converts it into non-toxic decomposition products.
- Renal excretion of urine: the kidneys filter uric acid out of the blood and excrete it via urine
- Excretion via faeces: a small part of uric acids leaves the body via faeces.
What happens when uric acids accumulate?
If too much uric acid is produced in the blood, or if uric acid cannot be sufficiently removed from the blood, it can accumulate in the body. Seeing that the blood must get rid of uric acid because the acid-base balance must be maintained, the body converts the excess uric acid into solid form (uric acid crystals) and dumps this in the body. When the uric acid crystals end up in the joints, they can get inflamed; this is called gout. People with this inherited defect suffer from painful joints, usually in the big toe, but also in other parts of the body. Excess uric acid, by binding with calcium or magnesium in the kidneys, can also lead to the formation ofkidney stones.
image: long pointed uric acid crystals which can be deposited in the joints. This causes gout.
What can you do about increased uric acid production?
If your uric acid levels are too high, there are 3 ways to inhibit or lower its production:
- Taking medication: your doctor may prescribe Allopurinol. This is a medicine that should counter the production of uric acid by inhibiting the "xanthineoxidase” enzyme. The problem with this medicine is that it cannot be taken by people with liver insufficiency. It is also now known that Allopurinol is bad for the kidneys. That is why doctors no longer prescribe it for people with a decreased kidney function. Other side-effects of Allopurinol are:
- Acute gout attacks, especially if started off with too high a dose or too early (< 6 weeks) after the acute crisis.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Skin rash.
- Cholestatic hepatitis.
- Disorders of red blood cell production.
- Adjusting your diet: avoid or limit purine-rich food, because during the digestion of purine, uric acid is formed:
- food with very high levels of purine include: goose, game, sardines, herring, anchovy, trout, salmon, cod, shellfish (mussels, lobster, oysters) offal, legumes and spinach.
- food with moderate levels of purine: beef, veal, rabbit, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck, pigeon, crustaceans, asparagus, cauliflower and mushrooms.
- Food with low levels or no purine: green vegetables, fruit, milk, cheese, eggs, rice and other cereals, pasta, potatoes, bread and jam.
Alcohol reduces of uric acid via the kidneys. Therefore, a moderate intake of alcohol is recommended.
- Increasing the sodium bicarbonate level in the blood: as has been mentioned before, blood pH must be kept at a constant level. Sodium bicarbonate is the alkaline buffer in the blood that neutralizes uric acid and in doing so maintains a constant blood pH. One will not suffer from the accumulation of uric acid if there is sufficient bicarbonate present in the blood. However, it is a fact that, in time, blood bicarbonate levels decrease. Stimulation of bicarbonate production in the body enables the body to neutralize excess uric acid adequately. With sufficient bicarbonate levels, uric acid crystals in the joints will also be gradually dissolved as a result of which the risk of inflammation disappears.
What is recommended?
For some time, many people have been trying to maintain uric acid at an acceptable level by taking Allopurinol and/or by adjusting their diet but frequently both methods are not adequate to prevent gout attacks and kidney stones. And if it does work then one has to be prepared to put up with the inevitable side-effects of Allopurinol, as well as going without many of the foods that are often classified as "pleasurable" in life (meat, fish, wine).
Decreasing the uric acid level by increasing the sodium bicarbonate level in the blood is a relatively new method. Doctors know that by increasing sodium bicarbonate levels, uric acid is broken down but they still have insufficient knowledge with regard to the fact that by drinking alkaline water, the body produces sodium bicarbonate. This method has been found very effective and is safe because there is no need to use toxic substances in order to transform normal water into alkaline water.
If people, by drinking alkaline water every day, have restored their sodium bicarbonate levels, excess uric acids can be neutralized continuously. In time, it will be possible again to gradually follow a varied purine-containing diet because the sodium bicarbonate in the blood will enable an effective uric acid breakdown.
To tackle the problem of increased uric acid levels, it is preferable to drink alkaline water every day because it is effective and safe but you can also enjoy a varied diet. Alkaline water can de made with AlkaLife PH drops
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