Gout and Uric Acid - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Gout and Uric Acid

Gout is a painful condition that can attack anytime, anywhere. Most people think it’s just some pain that guys experience in their foot once in a while. But it’s actually a metabolic disorder wherein the body is unable to process uric acid properly.

Either the body produces too much of it or the kidneys don’t work so well in excreting it. As a result, too much uric acid accumulates in the body, builds up a deposit of sharp needle-like crystals in the joints causing immense pain to the gout patient. It becomes so bad that moving, touching, or walking the affected joint is impossible.

If you’ve had gout for quite a while now, you are well aware just how important it is that you manage your uric acid levels. Experiencing a gout flare once is often enough to push you towards a healthier lifestyle.

The uric acid we’re talking about refers to the purines found in the food that we eat. Some foods are very high in purines while others have low purine content. Gout sufferers are recommended to follow a low-purine diet. High purine foods are avoided as much as possible because they contribute to the increase of uric acid in the blood. This includes foods like:

  • Organ meats
  • Red meat
  • Most shellfish like lobster and shrimp
  • Certain fish like trout, tuna, mackerel, haddock, anchovies, and sardines
  • Sweet beverages
  • Processed foods

When eaten, these foods turn into uric acid and accumulate in the body. It’s recommended to minimize or avoid these items completely. Some of it is so bad, like sweet drinks, that it immediately raises your uric acid in just a few minutes, and possibly cause a gout attack later on.

Certain plant-based foods like spinach, asparagus, and cauliflower also have high purines but they should not be avoided completely since their nutrients often outweigh their effects. In fact, studies have shown that plants gout sufferers are told to avoid, actually have a protective effect against gout. This is because most plant-based foods possess a rich combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals which fight against gout symptoms. For example, fiber not only makes you feel full, but it also binds uric acid in the gut which makes it easy for the body to excrete.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, you should also be consuming whole grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, lean meats, coffee, and dairy. These are helpful in reducing uric acid and they are good for your overall health.

Diet obviously plays a very big factor to the concentration of uric acid levels in your blood. After all, we eat food three times a day. We often take it for granted and don’t realize just how poorly we’re been feeding our body.

If you’re just starting your gout journey and you want to lower uric acid levels, the diet tips we mentioned above is a good place to start. There are also other steps you can take, besides diet, to help lower your uric acid levels even more. Try to incorporate as many of these things into your routine:

Exercise

Physical activity is just as important as diet. People with gout are more likely to be overweight or obese. And being in this weight spectrum means your body produces more uric acid than your kidneys can handle.

If you’re on the heavier side, now’s the time to get your body moving. It’ll keep your blood flow going and help you shed those extra pounds.

Being at a healthy weight will result in your body working more efficiently and it’s also good for strengthening your joints which are often the most affected when you have gout.

Drink water regularly

Hydrating yourself regularly is a general rule for good health. But it’s especially important if you have gout because it helps dilute the uric acid. You urinate more often which means you are also getting rid of the excess uric acid that could be building up in your body.

Learn your background

Some people are predisposed to gout. That means that no matter how healthy you think you are, if it’s in your genes, you may likely develop gout later on.

If your family has a history of gout, learn more about it. Ask relatives who’s had it before you. It’s terrible to have to inherit this disease but hearing the stories of others and how they dealt with their condition might give you some helpful insight in how you can deal with yours.

Take a targeted approach to medicine

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for gout, including medication. It’s amazing that we have a selection of drugs that help with gout but they don’t always work for everyone. For example, gout patients with kidney problems can only take febuxostat because allopurinol’s side effects might only worsen their symptoms.

It’s important to work with your doctor closely so they can prescribe you with the right combination of medicines that work best with your other conditions.

Take supplements

These are some of the top gout supplements that you can take. Gout and You is a very well known brand that many gout patients trust. These are designed to control uric acid levels, fight inflammation, and strengthen the immune system. Consider adding the following supplements to your regimen as well:

Cherry extract –  It’s very high in vitamin C and anti-inflammatories which fight inflammation and heart disease.

Vitamin C – It’s a supplement known to lower uric acid levels

Omega 3 – This helps to regulate inflammation and lower cholesterol

Primrose – This supplement helps decrease inflammation

Folic acid – This is for breaking down homocysteine which is an amino acid whose high levels are indicative of gout

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) – It helps in forming connective tissue and decreasing inflammation.

Just like gout medication, supplements work differently for each person. Make sure to speak with your doctor because they too can recommend supplements that are better suited for you.

We hope this gave you a deeper understanding of uric acid and how it affects gout. What are your thoughts on our existing uric-acid lowering treatments? Did we miss anything? Share them in the comments below!





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