Uric acid is a chemical compound that is produced when the body breaks down an organic compound called purine; purines are created through the breakdown of cells in the body and they can also be gotten through the foods we eat.
Purines contribute to the building block of DNA and RNA in the body; the breakdown of this compound produces uric acid which has no use in the body, it dissolves in the blood and it is usually eliminated from the body through the kidneys.
In some cases, the body can produce too much uric acid or the kidneys are unable to eliminate all of this; this in turn leads to accumulation of uric acid in the blood (also known as hyperuricemia), this can lead to severe joint pain, kidney stones and a medical condition known as Gout.
As the uric acid becomes more in the blood above that which the body can handle; it accumulates and stays around the joints, it is deposited as needle like crystals in the joints and soft tissues.
This causes stiffness, pain, swelling, inflammation and heat in the joints; in most cases, if this is not arrested immediately, it can lead to gout which is characterized by extremely painful joint/joints.
High levels of uric acid in the blood can be a sign that something is wrong in the body; it is used to indicate a variety of conditions like diabetes, gout, cancer and chemotherapy, leukemia and other bone marrow disorder, high purine diet, hypothyroidism, kidney disorders, kidney failure, kidney stones, multiple myeloma (Cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow) and metastasized cancer.
Causes of hyperuricemia
Kidney problems: Kidney diseases can make the kidney unable to carry its function properly which includes the elimination of uric acid from the body.
High intake of purine rich foods: Foods and beverages high in purines are liver, mackerel, dried beans, beer, wine, gravies, anchovies, scallops, asparagus, mackerel and mushrooms.
Increased cell death: Increased rate of cell death due to cancer and cancer treatment like chemotherapy can lead to accumulation of uric acid in the body.
Heavy drinking: Excessive consumption of alcohol can affect the kidneys and impair the function of the kidneys.
Dehydration: Dehydration makes it difficult for the kidneys to carry out it functions; the kidneys can only function optimally in the presence of plenty water.
Other causes of hyperuricemia are obesity, taking diuretics, genetics, hypothyroidism, immune suppressing drugs, psoriasis, and intake of Fructose-sweetened beverages.
Health complications caused by hyperuricemia
If hyperuricemia is not handled immediately and left to progress, it can lead to a variety of medical problems like:
Severe joint pain: This condition can cause severe joint pain in the affected individual; sometimes movement and normal activities are affected.
Kidney stones: Uric acids can form crystals and accumulate in the kidneys, leading to kidney stones.
Gout: This is a form of arthritis that causes pain, inflammation and swelling in the joints, especially in the feet and big toes; symptoms includes intense joint pain that lasts for more than 24 hours, redness, swelling and tenderness of the joints and sometimes the joint pain can last a few days to weeks and months and can spread to other joints over time.
Natural remedies for hyperuricemia
Exercise: This helps in correcting obesity which can cause hyperuricemia, regular exercise helps one lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and it controls the buildup of uric acid.
Diet: Avoid high purine diet, low carbohydrate diets and ketones; they increase the amount of uric acid in the in the blood during the period of weight loss. Eat foods high in fiber and starchy carbohydrates; they absorb uric acid and then eliminate it from the body thus reducing the levels of uric acids in the body.
Green papaya tea prevents the buildup of uric acid; it treats hyperuricemia and gout related problems, it has papain that maintains an alkaline state which prevents inflammation.
Avoid medications if you can: Some medications like niacin, diuretics and antidepressants are known to boost the levels of uric acid in the body.
Apple cider vinegar: This common kitchen ingredient is a natural cleanser and detoxifier; it removes waste products like uric acid from the body because it contains malic acid which breaks down and eliminates uric acid from the body. It also helps in restoring the acid-alkaline balance in the body and it provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Add a teaspoon of raw, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink this solution three times daily; you can gradually increase the amount of apple cider vinegar to two tablespoons per glass of water, continue taking this solution until the level of your uric acid comes down.
Wheatgrass juice: This herb helps in maintaining the alkaline state of the body; it is also rich in vitamin C, chlorophyll and phytochemicals which aids detoxification, put two tablespoons of wheatgrass juice in a glass of lemon water and take it daily until the level of uric acid in your body comes down.
Baking soda: This common kitchen ingredient can effectively lower the levels of uric acids and reduce the pain associated with gout; it maintains the alkaline state of the body and makes uric acid more soluble and easier to flush out of the kidney.
Add 1 ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water; drink up to four glasses of this daily for two weeks, you can take it every two to four hours. Those with hypertension should avoid this remedy; people older than 60 years of age should not take more than 3 glasses a day and for healthy people this remedy shouldn’t be taken on a regular basis.
Celery seeds: These seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and it is also a powerful diuretic which cleanse the system of excess liquids by stimulating the kidneys to flush out uric acid. It also lowers inflammation and alkalizes the body; take half teaspoon of dried celery seeds once a day with plenty of water.
Lemon juice: Lemon juice or lemon water can reduce the levels of uric acid in the body; it produces an alkaline effect that helps in neutralizing uric acids, it is also rich in nutrients and vitamin C that also has the ability to lower the levels of uric acid.
Squeeze one lemon and add the juice to a glass of warm water; drink it in the morning on an empty stomach; continue till you see results.
Onion tea: This detox drink helps in controlling hyperuricemia; it is rich in antioxidant and natural acids that cleanses the blood and decompose uric acids in the kidneys. Chop half onion and boil it in 2 cups of water; leave it to cool, then you strain it and add honey for taste. Drink two cups of this tea daily for two weeks; one cup in the morning and the other cup in the afternoon.
Olive oil: This oil as anti-inflammatory benefits that ease this condition; it is also rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. Add it to meals, smoothies and yogurt and you can also massage the affected body part with the oil.
Horsetail: This is a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory plant that can aid in eliminating uric acid through the urine because; it is rich in antioxidant that can prevent kidney stones and oxidation by free radicals.
Add 1 tablespoon of horsetail in a cup of boiled water; leave it to steep for ten minutes and then strain it, drink this on an empty stomach in the morning and repeat 2 or 3 times a day. Do it continuously for two weeks.
Cherries: Cherries and dark berries contains chemicals that can reduce the levels of uric acids; purple and blue coloured berries contain Anthocyanins which are flavonoids that helps lowers the levels of uric acids and reduce the stiffness and inflammation of joints at the same time.
Eat a cup of cherries every day and you can also drink one or two cups of tart cherry juice for about four weeks. You should also add lots of berries, ball peppers, tomatoes and green vegetables to your diet.
Nettle tea: Nettle leaves have cleansing properties; it cleanses the blood and lowers the levels of uric acids. They are rich in active compounds that promote kidney function; they cleanse the urinary tract and prevent obstruction.
Add nettle leaves to a cup of boiled water, cover it and let it steep for 10 minutes. Drink this infusion thrice daily for 10 days.
Water: Remember how earlier we saw that dehydration can cause hyperuricemia; taking in lots of water will help the kidneys to filter and eliminate uric acids from the body through the urine.
Regular intake of water also reduces the risk of recurrent gout attacks; drink at least 10 glasses of water every day, you should also include fresh fruits and vegetables, herbal teas, homemade fruit juices, and smoothies in your diet daily.