10 Ways To Control Uric Acid Levels

Uric acid is a chemical that is produced by the body when it breaks down organic compounds, known as purines, that come from certain types of… Elizabeth Lilian - April 12, 2017

Uric acid is a chemical that is produced by the body when it breaks down organic compounds, known as purines, that come from certain types of food and drink like mushroom, anchovies, organ meat, beer and wine. Once uric acid is made, it’s expelled from the body in different ways such as through the blood, kidneys and urine. However, if the body produces too much uric acid or isn’t able to get rid of it all, it builds up in the blood. This condition is known as hyperuricemia.

Uric acid in the body is eventually turned into urate crystals, which can collect around the soft tissue and joint areas, leading to pain, inflammation and conditions like gout, a type of arthritis that is mainly experienced in the feet and big toes. Some cancer treatments, and cancer itself, can also cause hyperuricemia. High levels of uric acid can indicate health problems like diabetes, hypoparathyroidism, kidney stones, kidney failure and bone marrow disorders.

If you think you may have hyperuricemia, it’s important to see your healthcare professional to confirm and devise a treatment plan. Hyperuricemia isn’t serious, however it can be a precursor to more serious diseases. Treatment of hyperuricemia aims to lower the levels of uric acid in the blood, by way of medication or lifestyle and diet changes.

Here are 10 natural ways to control uric acid levels.

1.      Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made from apple cider or fermented apples, and is commonly used in cooking, on salads, as a food preservative, hair and skin care, and as a household cleaner. Organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is frequently described as a health tonic, and is used to treat heartburn, encourage bowel regularity, clear up skin issues, aid in weight loss, reduce glucose levels, and can even be used on pets to promote a shiny coat and prevent fleas.

Apple cider vinegar contains small amounts of essential minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and more. It also contains large amounts of amino acids and antioxidants. Other beneficial ingredients are pectin, which can help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and malic acid, which can promote detoxification, metabolism and healthy digestion.

The main active ingredient is acetic acid, which alkalizes in the body once it’s ingested and helps balance the body’s pH levels. Acetic acid is believed to be the compound that makes apple cider vinegar effective in treating gout, as it breaks up the uric acid crystals that causes it. Drinking apple cider vinegar can help reduce inflammation and swelling in the joints, relieving symptoms of hyperuricemia and gout.

When choosing your apple cider vinegar, make sure you pick one that is unpasteurized, organic and raw. This is healthier than other kinds because all the beneficial enzymes and ‘mother’ (the cloudy sediment often seen at the bottom of the bottle) haven’t been cooked out. Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink two or three times a day. Always mix the apple cider vinegar with another liquid, as the acidity of it can affect the enamel on the teeth.

2.      Lemon Juice

Lemons are believed to have originated in Asia as a hybrid cross between citrus and lime fruit, and were introduced to Europe around the time of 1 A.D. Likely the most popular member of the citrus family, lemons were used throughout the Mediterranean as a symbol of warmth and sunlight, and considered a sacred fruit in many other countries. Lemons were famously used to treat scurvy among sailors, and modern medicine can now attribute that to the rich amounts of vitamin C they contain. They’re also a popular ingredient in many cuisines, and can be used for many different things, including household cleaning and skincare.

Lemons are a very versatile fruit: the entire fruit can be used for something. Lemon peel is often grated and used as flavoring in marinades, dressings and sauces, the flesh can be used as an ingredient in recipes, and the juice is often consumed as a health tonic. Even the leaves from a lemon tree can be brewed into tea or used in cooking. Lemons are commonly used for many medicinal purposes like headaches, gum disease, sore throat, nose bleeds, hiccups and constipation.

One medium lemon contains more than 60 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, as well as healthy amounts of citric acid, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, potassium and phosphorus. Lemon becomes alkalizing when it is ingested, which helps neutralize uric acid. Lemon juice also stimulates the liver, which can further reduce the levels of uric acid in the body.

To use lemon juice as a natural remedy for high uric acid levels, simply squeeze half a lemon and add the juice to warm water every morning and after meals. To further alkalize the body, mix half a tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of lemon juice and add it to a glass of water. Mix until it’s all dissolved, and make sure it’s not still fizzing or bubbling when you drink it. This concoction returns the body to perfectly balanced pH levels and kick-starts the detox process, reducing uric acid levels even more.

3.      Cherries

Cherries are small red stone fruits that belong to the Roseacae family, along with peaches, apricots and plums. There are different types of cherry, with the two most popular being the sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) and the sour cherry (Prunis cerasus L.). It’s thought that cherry trees originated in Asia and carried across to Europe by birds, but they’re now grown all over the world.

Cherries contain very little calories, and are full of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Cherries are one of the only natural sources of concentrated melatonin, and they’re loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, potassium, iron, zinc and copper. Cherries also contain polyphenolic flavonoid compounds called anthocyanin glycosides, which are believed to provide powerful antioxidative effects.

It’s these polyphenolic compounds that are thought to be effective in reducing the levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. Tart cherries have a much higher level of anthocyanins than sweet cherries, and while they might not be as nice to eat, they are more beneficial in the long run. Cherries are also rich in other flavonoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenoids, which can protect the body against harmful free radicals.

Cherries are delicious, and provide many health benefits. Eat half a cup of tart cherries each day for about four weeks to help reduce uric acid levels. You can also make cherry juice by placing them in a blender and processing them until the flesh of the cherries are juiced, then straining the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the pits and skins. To make it a bit sweeter, add a teaspoon of honey.

4.      Baking Soda

Baking soda is a chemical compound that also goes by the names sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate, and it’s commonly used in baking, cooking, cleaning and even personal hygiene products. Baking soda consists of one ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. This is a naturally occurring compound that exists in living things, and it can be used to heal a number of conditions.

Baking soda helps regulate pH levels, and when it comes into contact with something that is acidic or alkaline, it naturally neutralizes that substance. Baking soda can be used to treat bad breath, clean appliances, exfoliate the face and body, treat insect bites, soothe sore feet, freshen sponges, clean the microwave, polish silverware and much, much more.

Baking soda is effective in reducing levels of uric acid due to its ability to balance pH levels in the body. The scale of pH levels ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 thought of as ‘neutral’, and when our bodies grow to be too acidic, it can begin to cause negative effects like weakness, illness, heartburn, chest pains and inflammation. Baking soda can help counteract this acidity, flushing the uric acid out and returning the body back to an ideal state.

Simply mix half a teaspoon of baking soda in with a glass of water and drink it all in one go. Drink up to four glasses each day, for no longer than two weeks. It’s important to note that baking soda can raise the blood pressure, so don’t use this remedy if you suffer from high blood pressure.

5.      Olive Oil

Olive oil is a type of fat that is derived from the fruit of the olive tree, botanically known as Olea europaea, a tree native to the Mediterranean. The oil is extracted by pressing whole olives, and is commonly used in many different things like medicines, cooking, soap, cosmetics, and in the past it was even used as fuel for fire lanterns.

Olive oil provides a wide range of health benefits like reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, promotes healthy digestion, improves memory, supports healthy liver function and even protects the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. Olive oil is made up of many beneficial fatty acids like omega-3, omega-6 and oleic acid, an omega-9 fat. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Olive oil contains over 20 different healthy phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties, like flavones, anthocyanidins, flavonols and secoiridoids, which can help fight inflammation and clear up damage-causing free radicals that collect in the body. It also contains oleocanthal, another polyphenol with antioxidant properties and pain-relieving tendencies. This makes olive oil even more powerful in treating uric acid build-up, as the anti-inflammatory and antioxidants work to remove the uric acid crystals while providing relief from swelling and pain.

To receive these benefits from olive oil, begin using it as a substitute for things like butter and other fats in cooking. You can also simply eat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil each day to reduce uric acid and prevent further build up.

6.      Water

Water is often one of the most over-looked remedies. A person can live for a month without food and only a week without water, yet it’s something a lot of us don’t get enough of. The human body consists of around 60 percent water. Water is used in every cell, organ and function of the body, and without it, we begin to grow dehydrated, which can cause headache, fatigue and grumpiness. If dehydration is not remedied quickly, it can cause fainting, exhaustion, and even death.

The body loses water as it goes through everyday motions like breathing, sweating and digestion, and it’s imperative that we rehydrate these lost fluids through our food and drink intake. Water regulates body temperature, protects the spinal cord, aids digestion, enables us to perform at our physical peak, improves mood, memory, cognitive function and much more.

Water is an effective treatment for high uric acid levels because when the body is well-hydrated, uric acid crystals don’t form as easily. Water also helps flush out the uric acid that has collected in the body, diluting it to make it easier for the kidneys to filter it through and excrete it. Increasing your intake of water can also lead to a reduction in uric acid-related conditions, such as gout. Participants in a survey for the Boston University School of Medicine found that when they drank more than eight glasses of water a day, the occurrence of gout attacks reduced by almost 50 percent.

Make sure you drink eight or more glasses of water each day. Swap out soda drinks and juice for water instead, and carry a water bottle with you at all times. Water is also found in fresh fruits and vegetables, so including more of these in your diet will further increase fluid intake, reducing uric acid build-up and providing a huge range of health benefits.

7.      A Low-Purine Diet

Purines are nitrogen-containing chemical compounds that are naturally created in the body and found in some foods, that break down into uric acid once ingested. Purines aren’t deadly, but a diet high in purines can raise the risk of uric acid build-up. Food and beverages that are very high in purines include liver, kidneys, brains, bacon, beef, lamb, pork, anchovies, sardines, scallops, gravy and beer. These should be avoided as often as possible, in favour of low-purine foods.

One third of the uric acid created in the body is made by the breakdown of purines from food. For those with a high level of uric acid, or frequent attacks of gout, a low-purine diet might be an effective remedy.

Foods that are low in purine include green vegetables, eggs, nuts, tomatoes, fruit, coffee, skim milk and other low-fat dairy products and lean meats like chicken and fish. Avoid excessive alcohol, as this increases purine production and leads to high uric acid levels, and limit foods that are high in fat. This includes salad dressings, gravy, ice cream and fried foods.

However, a low-purine diet doesn’t have to sound miserable. The Mediterranean diet is one naturally low in purines, focusing instead on heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oils, herbs, spices, fish, poultry and red wine. Limit sugary sweets like biscuits, cakes, fruit juice, cereal bars and some condiments like jam and mayonnaise, and ensure you drink a lot of water.

8.      High-Fiber Foods and Starchy Carbohydrates

Dietary fiber (also called roughage) are the nutrients that aren’t absorbed into the intestines, instead retaining water and traveling along the digestive tract, eventually becoming excrement. Fiber is a form of carbohydrate, and can be separated into two different types: soluble, meaning it can be dissolved in water and undergoes changes when it moves through the digestive tract, and insoluble fiber, which means it does not dissolve in water, and doesn’t change form as it moves through our system.

Soluble fiber slows down the speed in which the stomach empties itself, and the rate of sugar absorption in the body, by binding to fatty acids. Soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol, regulate sugar intake, and improve the immune and digestive systems. Insoluble fiber helps move bulk through the digestive tract and controls pH levels in the intestines. Insoluble fiber can prevent constipation and promote regularity. Fiber can absorb uric acid and easily eliminate it through waste products.

Starchy carbohydrates act as the main source of energy in a healthy diet. They’re broken down into glucose which provides fuel for the body, and are also a good source of vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, folate and B-complex vitamins. Starchy carbohydrates include bread, potatoes, rice, quinoa, couscous and pasta, and are low in purines which makes them a great addition to a diet that aims to lower uric acid levels.

Ensure you’re getting enough dietary fiber and starchy carbohydrates every day by including them in every meal. Breakfast cereals that include wheat or oats, salad sandwiches on wholemeal bread, fresh vegetables, beans, legumes and fruit are just some of the foods that will provide healthy amounts of fiber and carbohydrates.

9.      Dairy Products

Dairy products are foods and beverages that contain milk from animals like cattle, goats, sheep and camels. Products like milk, cheese, yogurt and butter all contain dairy, and are consumed all over the world. Including dairy products in your daily diet can provide a wide array of health benefits like improved bone and dental health, reduced risk of osteoporosis, regulation of cholesterol levels and a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular issues and diabetes.

Dairy products contain important nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus and potassium. Consuming at least three servings of dairy per day can benefit your health greatly, as well as reduce uric acid levels. Dairy, specifically low-fat or skim varieties, can help increase the excretion of uric acid from the body, thanks to a substance called orotic acid, which decreases the re-absorption of uric acid and promotes its removal through the kidneys.

Dairy products are also low in purine, making them an effective remedy for high levels of uric acid. It’s also thought that dairy products can protect against unhealthy increases in uric acid levels due to the presence of casein and lactalbumin, which are proteins found in milk.

It’s generally recommended to eat three servings of dairy products per day. Too much dairy can negatively affect those with a lactose intolerance, which occurs when the body cannot properly digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and other dairy products.

10. Wheatgrass Juice

Wheatgrass juice, also affectionately called ‘liquid sunshine’, is often thought of as nature’s best health tonic. While it may not look the most appetizing, it contains an extraordinary amount of vitamins and minerals. Wheatgrass juice is made from the grass of the wheat plant triticum aestivum, also referred to as common or bread wheat. It’s native to the Mediterranean area and southwest Asia, though you can grow your own at home.

Wheatgrass juice is made of almost 70 percent chlorophyll, the green pigment that gives wheatgrass juice its deep color, which provides a wide array of health benefits like hormonal regulation, prevention of anemia and digestive health support. Chlorophyll can also help with wound healing and detoxification of the body. Wheatgrass contains the entire range of B-complex vitamins, as well as vitamins A, E, C and K, and every mineral known to modern medicine.

Wheatgrass is a natural energy and immune booster, and is often used in weight loss, for hair health, to cleanse the liver, relieve depression, lower cholesterol, and even relieve dental problems like gum disease and toothache. Wheatgrass juice can restore the alkalinity in the blood, which makes it highly effective at removing uric acid build up by cleaning out the tissues and blood. It’s also got anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which further relieves hyperuricemia.

Wheatgrass juice should be consumed on an empty stomach, or enjoyed alongside fresh fruits and vegetables. Because wheatgrass juice acts as such a powerful detoxifier, it can sometimes bring on symptoms of the detoxification process like headaches, nausea, dizziness and diarrhea.