By Phil Challis
What Is Uric Acid?
Providing that you are healthy your body naturally produces Uric acid. If you eat too many purine rich foods you can cause high Uric acid to build up in your blood. This condition is called hyperucicemia and requires treatment and it is easier to treat if it is diagnosed early, in fact if it is left untreated secondary illnesses can prevail which can be fatal. Hypericicemia occurs when certain medications or substances that are high in purines are broken down. Purine rich foods include Organs such as liver and kidneys, generally red meats including the dark meat of chicken and Turkey etc, certain fish such as mackerel, alcohol, and beverages such as coffee. If you are not healthy, especially if you have kidney problems, your kidneys may not be able to extract the Uric acid at the required rate consequently resulting in high Uric acid levels which is the root cause of Gout.
Doctors usually look to controlling gout through diet, however staying away from your favourite foods like a juicy steak, lamb, bacon, venison or liver and onions is obviously easier said than done. Unfortunately the answer does not rest with a fish diet because a high fish diet can also lead to high acid levels especially shellfish such as prawns, mussels and lobster. Equally becoming a vegetarian is not the answer as some vegetables are equally high in Purine such as asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, kidney beans, lentils and spinach. What is not always considered is that even if you eat nothing but high purine or high protein foods this only contributes 10% – 15% of the Uric Acid in your body. The bulk of your Uric acid is produced by your body itself and through two different sources: – DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and ATP (Adenosine-5′-Triphosphate) In the case of DNA out of the 4 bases: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T) found in DNA, 2 of them (Adenine & Guanine) are derivatives of purine. In the average human adult, between 50 and 70 Billion cells die Each Day due to the Apoptosis or Programmed Cell Death. The death cells release trillions of purine molecules into the bloodstream. Some will be re-used in the formation of new cells, while most of the DNA-generated purines are sent to the liver to be broken down into uric acid and extracted through the kidneys. That is why liver meat is the top on the list of high purine content food.
Relating to ATP we find that this is a multifunctional coenzyme used in the cells to carry chemical energy within cells for metabolism. The core structure of ATP consists of a purine base, which is Adenine. ATP stores the converted energy from glucose. And when energy is required by the cell, ATP will release the energy by instantly breaking one unit of Phosphate and become ADP.
In a healthy body the ADP will slowly restore the energy by bonding again with a unit of phosphate. But, when you are under emotional and physical stress, great amounts of ATP will be used up within a short period of time and there is not enough time for the ADP to be recharged into ATP. Consequently the excess ADP will be decomposed and a high amount of purine will be produced.
A healthy body will naturally contain a steady acid levels of between 3.0 and 7.0 mg/DL. If the acid level is 7.0 mg/Dl or more Uric Acid Treatment is required.
In an unhealthy body, where there is some prevailing problem, causing high Uric acid levels, such as diabetes, leukaemia or acidosis etc, It may not be possible to treat the underlying condition therefore the only remedy is to treat the high uric acid levels directly.
Prescribed medication includes those which prevent the body absorbing the acid or medication which prevents the body from producing uric acid.
Two of the most common medications include Allopurionol and febuxostat are medications that are used to lower or prevent the bodily production of uric acid. Probenecid slows the rate of absorption of acids and aids the body in disposing of excess uric acid salt. Sulfinpyrazone lowers the levels of acid found in the blood. These drugs treat only the high acid problem, not the underlying condition; so if a patient stops the use of the medications, the uric acid levels will rise again, resulting in high acid levels for as long as the underlying cause persists.