High Uric Acid: 5 Common Causes

March 23, 2018
Certain foods and habits can lead you to have high uric acid levels. Find out what might be causing this condition in the article below.

High uric acid in the blood is called hyperuricemia. In order to maintain normal levels, you need to reduce your intake of certain foods, foods rich in purines. Excess of this acid is removed through urine or passes through the intestines. Otherwise, it can build up in the joints and form crystals.

Normal levels of uric acid are: 2.4 to 6.0 mg/dL for women and between 3.4 and 7.0 mg/dL for men. High levels of uric acid can be bad for your health. It’s important to keep it at the right level or reduce it if it’s higher than it should be.

Causes of high uric acid

One-third of the uric acid body that exists in the human body comes from food and drink which is rich in purine. The other two-thirds are produced naturally by the body. Therefore, it’s important to know the causes of having too much of this acid.

1. Poor diet

red meat

Although it doesn’t tend to be the only cause, it’s a very important factor in controlling this illness. Eating foods that are rich in purine such as meat, offal, fish, sausages, or burgers produce higher levels of uric acid. Also, eating a lot of salt doesn’t help.

2. Refined sugar

Eating a lot of food which is rich in sugar, such as sweets, refined sugar, sweet pastries, sugary drinks, processed fruit juices or chocolates, can also cause this problem.

In addition, other foods that are very rich in sucrose and fructose can increase your uric acid levels. Therefore, the best thing is to avoid them. Try to stick to a diet based on fruit and vegetables.

3. Alcohol intake

cherry martinis

Drinking alcoholic drinks can cause problems with the hepatic metabolization of uric acid, causing the alcohol to build up in the body and increase uric acid levels. It can negatively impact the intestinal flora and reduce the amount of healthy bacteria present in your gut.

Also, you might like: 10 Immediate Effects of Alcohol on Your Health

4. Diuretic medication

These medications increase the production of urine to help control high blood pressure. However, with it, the kidneys eliminate more water, increasing the risk of high uric acid due to the inability of the kidneys to process it.

5. Obesity or being overweight

waist measurement

Weight influences the risk of developing gout, which is an illness which occurs when uric acid builds up and forms crystals in the joints. This is true because obesity, hypertension, and diabetes increase the production of uric acid in the body and make it more difficult to process and get rid of it.

Diet recommendations

If your levels of this acid are only slightly too high then you can easily treat it with changes in your diet. For instance, foods that contain a lot of fibre can reduce the uric acid levels in the blood and encourage your intestines to absorb it better.

Foods that contain a lot of fibre:

  • Oats
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Foods with a lot of anti-oxidants: berries, tomatoes, grapes, Swiss chard.
  • Whole grains. It’s recommended that you eat more whole grains and avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread or sweets since the two latter don’t have many nutrients to provide.

Read also: 5 Healthy Spinach Recipes to Enjoy Every Day

Avoid foods such as:

sugar cubes

  • Trans fats: Fats increase triglycerides, which are deposited in the arteries, and can cause a heart attack.
  • Sugar. With this in mind, pastry products also contain a high amount of saturated fats and are not good for your health.
  • Alcohol, since it affects the elimination of uric acid from the body. You should also reduce your consumption of meat, chicken, and fish since animal proteins increase the level of uric acid in the body.

Other advice

Keep yourself hydrated: It’s important to increase your liquid intake, above all, your water intake to encourage the elimination of uric acid through your urine. We recommend that you drink 2 to 3 litres of water per day. Also:

  • Avoid too much salt to avoid fluid retention.
  • Stick to a diet based on fruit and vegetables.
  • Reduce your consumption of red meat and sausages.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Exercise regularly for a range of health benefits and to avoid joint problems.
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Increase your vitamin C intake. The recommended amount is 500 mg to help reduce uric acid levels.
  • Finally, add tea or plant infusions such as horsetail or green nettle to your diet, which are recommended for improving kidney function.

 

  • Harris, M. D., Siegel, L. B., & Alloway, J. A. (1999). Gout and hyperuricemia. American Family Physician. http://doi.org/10.1177/089719009901200406
  • Villegas, R., Xiang, Y. B., Elasy, T., Xu, W. H., Cai, H., Cai, Q., … Shu, X. O. (2012). Purine-rich foods, protein intake, and the prevalence of hyperuricemia: The Shanghai Men’s Health Study. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2010.07.012
  • Bomback, A. S., Derebail, V. K., Shoham, D. A., Anderson, C. A., Steffen, L. M., Rosamond, W. D., & Kshirsagar, A. V. (2010). Sugar-sweetened soda consumption, hyperuricemia, and kidney disease. Kidney International. http://doi.org/10.1038/ki.2009.500