High levels of uric acid in the blood, also called hyperuricemia, can result from either increased production of uric acid in the body or decreased excretion of it through the kidneys.
It can further lead to problems like gouty arthritis (uric acid crystals deposit in joints, typically in the big toe), kidney stones and renal failure. Recent studies have also associated high blood uric acid levels with hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Normal uric acid levels are:
- Men: 3.4–7.0mg/dL
- Women: 2.4–6.0 mg/dL
The values may vary at different labs.
Factors that can contribute to a high uric acid level include a diet high in purines (purines are broken down into uric acid), excess alcohol consumption, renal insufficiency, obesity, underactive thyroid, genetics, endocrine or metabolic conditions like diabetes or acidosis, and certain other diseases.
Certain cancers, chemotherapy agents and other medications, such as diuretics, may also contribute to it. Exercising, fasting and crash dieting may elevate uric acid levels temporarily.
There are some tips and natural remedies that can help reduce and control uric acid levels. In addition, proper diagnosis and treatment by a healthcare professional is a must.
Here are the top 10 ways to control uric acid levels.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Being a natural cleanser and detoxifier, apple cider vinegar can help remove wastes like uric acid from the body. It contains malic acid that helps break down and eliminate uric acid. Apple cider vinegar also helps restore the alkaline acid balance in the body and provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
- Add one teaspoon of raw, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
- Drink this solution two or three times a day.
You can gradually increase the amount of apple cider vinegar up to two tablespoons per glass of water and continue this remedy until your uric acid levels come down.
Note: Do not take apple cider vinegar in excess as it may decrease potassium levels in the body. Also, it may interfere with diuretic drugs.
2. Lemon Juice
Though it may seem that lemon juice will make the body more acidic, in actuality, it produces an alkaline effect and helps neutralize uric acid. Plus, its vitamin C content also helps lower uric acid levels.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a glass of warm water. Drink it in the morning on an empty stomach. Continue for at least a few weeks.
- You can also take vitamin C supplements. For proper dosage and suitability, consult your doctor.
Cherries and dark berries contain chemicals that help reduce uric acid levels. Plus, purple and blue-colored berries contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that help lower uric acid and reduce inflammation and stiffness.
- Eat one-half cup of cherries daily for a few weeks. You can also drink one or two cups of tart cherry juice for about four weeks.
- Also, add blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, and other vitamin C and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda, also called bicarbonate of soda, is highly beneficial for lowering uric acid levels and reducing gout pain. It helps maintain the natural alkaline balance in the body and makes the uric acid more soluble and easier to flush out of the kidneys.
- Mix one-half teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water.
- Drink up to four glasses of this daily for two weeks. You can drink it every two to four hours.
Note: Do not take this remedy on a regular basis. Also, do not follow this remedy if you suffer from high blood pressure. People age 60 or older should not drink more than three glasses of this baking soda solution daily.
5. Olive Oil
Most vegetable oils turn into rancid fats when heated or processed. The rancid fats destroy the vital vitamin E in the body, which is essential for controlling uric acid levels.
Opt for cold-pressed olive oil rather than using vegetable oil, butter or shortening in your cooking and baking. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats that remain stable when heated. Plus, it is high in vitamin E and antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory benefits.
Drinking plenty of water helps optimize uric acid filtering. It helps dilute the uric acid and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate excess amounts from the body through urine.
Plus, drinking adequate water regularly can reduce the risk of recurrent gout attacks. In an internet-based study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, researchers found that participants who drank five to eight glasses of water in the 24-hour period prior to a possible gout attack had a 40 percent decreased risk of an attack compared with those who drank only one glass of water or less.
- Drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water throughout the day.
- Also, include more fluids and fresh, water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet.
7. A Low-Purine Diet
Purines are nitrogen-containing compounds that break down into uric acid, thus increasing levels in the body. They are mostly found in animal proteins.
Steer clear of animal proteins like meats, organ meats, fish and poultry. Legumes, yeast, mushrooms, asparagus and beans are also high in purine. Beer, too, is rich in purine.
8. High-Fiber Foods and Starchy Carbohydrates
Foods high in dietary fiber help lower uric acid levels by absorbing it and then eliminating it from the body. You can also eat foods with starchy carbohydrates as they contain only small amounts of purine.
Whole grains, apples, pears, oranges and strawberries are some examples of high-fiber foods that you can incorporate in your diet. Starchy carbohydrates are foods like rice, whole grain pasta, tapioca (also called sabudana), quinoa, potato, oats and bananas.You can also drink green papaya tea to prevent the buildup of uric acid and treat uric acid and gout related problems. The papain in green papaya helps the body maintain an alkaline state and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
9. Dairy Products
Low-fat milk and dairy products have been associated with lower plasma urate concentrations and reduced risk of gout. Skim milk, for example, contains orotic acid that decreases the re-absorption of uric acid and promotes its removal through the kidneys.
- Drink one to five cups of skim milk daily.
- You can also include low-fat yogurt and other dairy products in your diet.
Tofu, too, can help alter plasma protein concentration and increase uric acid clearance. Soy milk, however, has been found to increase uric acid.
10. Wheatgrass Juice
Wheatgrass helps restore alkalinity in the blood. Plus, it is rich in vitamin C, chlorophyll and phytochemicals that promote detoxification. It is also a good source of protein and amino acids as an alternative to eating animal protein.
Simply drink one ounce (two tablespoons) of wheatgrass juice mixed with a squeeze of lemon juice daily until your uric acid level comes down.
- Limit your alcohol intake as it interferes with the elimination of uric acid.
- Avoid high-fructose corn syrup or glucose-fructose syrup as they tend to increase uric acid levels.
- Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight. It is believed that fatty tissue tends to increase uric acid production.
- Eat a balanced diet that is high in complex carbohydrates and low in protein. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread, cakes and candies.
- Cut back on foods high in fat as it lowers the body’s ability to eliminate uric acid.