There are a number of things you can do to naturally reduce your uric acid levels, most of which have to do with the foods that you eat — and the ones you avoid.
Uric acid is a naturally occurring waste product resulting from the breakdown of purines — substances made by your body and found in most foods. Uric acid usually dissolves in the blood, passes through the kidneys and is eliminated in the urine.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
But uric acid may accumulate if your body makes too much purines, if your diet contains a lot of purine-rich food or if your kidneys are unable to properly excrete uric acid. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to naturally reduce your uric acid levels.
Limit Certain Seafoods and Meats
To lower your uric acid level, limit your consumption of foods high in purines. Several types of seafood, for example, contain large amounts of purines. These include mussels, scallops, shrimp, lobster, herring, anchovies, trout and mackerel.
Large amounts of purines are also found in many red meats, such as beef, lamb, pork, duck, goose and partridge. Organ meats, like liver or brain, are especially high in purines.
Read more: 13 Types of Fish to Avoid Eating
Avoid High-Fructose Foods and Drinks
Fructose increases uric acid levels by stimulating your body to produce more purines. Fructose is used as a sweetener in many juices, non-diet sodas, candies and baked goods.
If you want to lower uric acid levels, choose diet soda instead of regular soda and carefully check food labels to avoid other fructose-containing foods and drinks.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol increases purine production by your body and reduces uric acid elimination by your kidneys. Some forms of alcohol, such as beer, also contain large amounts of purines.
Because of this, beer is especially likely to increase uric acid levels, according to a December 2004 study in Arthritis Care and Research. Hard liquor is less likely to increase uric acid, while wine is least likely to raise uric acid levels. To reduce your uric acid level, limit or avoid beer and choose wine instead.
Eat Plenty of Fruits
Fruits are a very good food if you have high uric acid, as they are low in purines. Many fruits also have high amounts of polyphenols — substances that reduce the breakdown of purines to uric acid and increase uric acid removal through the urine, according to a December 2017 review article in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2.
The exact effects of most fruits on uric acid levels are not proven, as the majority of research comes from lab or animal studies. But there's some human research for cherries and blueberries.
A study of 10 healthy women published in The Journal of Nutrition in June 2003 reported that eating one cup of cherries significantly decreased uric acid levels when measured five hours later 4. Uric acid elimination by the kidneys also increased. For blueberries, a study of 133 adults published in the August 2016 issue of Antioxidants found that consuming powdered blueberries daily for three months reduced uric acid levels.
Fruits high in vitamin C — such as citrus fruits, strawberries and tomatoes — may be particularly beneficial. Although the effects of vitamin C–containing fruits have not been properly researched in humans, several studies have examined the effects of vitamin C supplements.
A study published in the September 2012 issue of Arthritis Care and Research combined the results of these previous studies and concluded that vitamin C supplements significantly lower uric acid levels.
Read more: 10 Surprising Health Hacks
Indulge in Most Vegetables
Most vegetables have no effect on uric acid levels. Some vegetables that are rich in polyphenols — such as onions, sweet purple potatoes and bottle gourds — may even lower uric acid levels. These possible benefits, however, have not been properly studied in humans.
But some vegetables have moderate amounts of purines and may increase uric acid levels. These include asparagus, spinach, peas, beans, lentils, mushrooms and cauliflower. These vegetables will probably not raise your uric acid as much as purine-rich seafood and meats, but you should avoid excess amounts of these vegetables if you want to lower your uric acid level.
Drinking coffee can lower uric acid levels by increasing uric acid elimination through the urine. Coffee also contains polyphenols, so it may lower uric acid production as well. However, it appears that caffeine isn't the reason for these beneficial effects, since both regular and decaffeinated coffee can lower uric acid levels.
Choose Non-Fat Dairy Products
Dairy products contain low amounts of purines and increase uric acid removal through the kidneys. Reduced uric acid levels may occur with both full-fat and non-fat dairy products. A study of 16 volunteers published in the September 2010 issue of Clinical and Epidemiological Research found that consuming three cups of skim milk significantly lowered uric acid levels when measured three hours later 5.
No human studies have directly compared full-fat and non-fat dairy products to determine which is more effective, but experts generally recommend non-fat dairy products for lowering uric acid levels, perhaps because of their overall greater health benefits.
Read more: List of Healthy Dairy Products
Stay Hydrated and Watch Your Weight
Keep hydrated if you want to lower your uric acid levels. Drinking plenty of water will dilute the uric acid in your blood and help your kidneys eliminate uric acid.
For people who are overweight, losing weight will often lower uric acid levels, according to an article published in Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease in November 2012. But avoid crash dieting because suddenly reducing your caloric intake can cause your body cells to break down, releasing purines and temporarily increasing your uric acid level.
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin C -- Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: Management of Hyperuricemia Through Dietary Polyphenols as a Natural Medicament -- A Comprehensive Review
- Antioxidants: Blueberry Consumption Affects Serum Uric Acid Concentrations in Older Adults in a Sex-Specific Manner
- The Journal of Nutrition: Consumption of Cherries Lowers Plasma Urate in Healthy Women
- Clinical and Epidemiological Research: Acute Effect of Milk on Serum Urate Concentrations -- A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial
- Frontiers in Medicine: Physiology of Hyperuricemia and Urate-Lowering Treatments
- Arthritis Care and Research: Beer, Liquor, and Wine Consumption and Serum Uric Acid Level -- The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
- Arthritis Care and Research: Effect of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Serum Uric Acid -- A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.
- American Journal of Medicine: Update on the Importance of Diet in Gout
- Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease: Latest Evidence on Gout Management -- What the Clinician Needs to Know
- Myrtue Medical Center: Low Purine Diet -- Gout Diet Treatment
- Journal of Advanced Research: Uric Acid in Plants and Microorganisms: Biological Applications and Genetics -- A Review