Uric Acid

Uric Acid is the end product of Protein synthesis in the body. Purines are present in all proteins in varying degrees. Uric acid is produced when there is a breakdown of “purine” containing proteins. The body also breaks down its own cells regularly (older cells are broken down, and newer ones are created all through life in a process we all know as “metabolism”). The breakdown of these cells also releases purines contained in them.

Every day this uric acid released in the blood is filtered and excreted by the kidneys, and a small amount by the intestines. This results in a controlled level of uric acid concentration in the blood which is ideally between 3.4-7.0 mg/ dL.

Sometimes though, this level may increase due to an increased intake of proteins/ excessive breakdown of the body’s own cells/ decreased intake of water and fluids/ dysfunction of kidneys/ excessive intake of alcohol/ hypothyroidism/ certain medicines like diuretics, blood thinners, low levels of aspirin, some vitamins, etc./ excessive and extreme exercise or starvation diets, and certain other diseases.

Excess Uric acid in blood may result in painful joints (gout, which occurs when there are crystal deposits in some joints), can lead to Kidney stones, and is even believed to be an indicator of certain diseases like hypertension, Cardio-vascular disease and some others.

Low levels of Uric acid may occur due to very low protein intake, large amounts of water retention, high doses of aspirin, and some other drugs.

Levels of Uric Acid in the blood tend to fluctuate through the day, and will change with foods eaten, fluids consumed, exercise, rest, etc. Generally they tend to be higher in the morning and lower in the evening. Since most blood tests are conducted in the morning, there is no need to panic with a slightly higher count and start with medication that you may not require.

A sensible approach is often better: try using the above information to alter the way you eat, drink, and exercise!

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  • Dr Harshada Rajadhyaksha

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