Where Does Uric Acid Come From?

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Consumption

In order to produce uric acid in the body, a person must first consume foods and drinks containing purines. In fact, the estimated human diet has 600 to 1,000 milligrams of purines, according to the George Mateljan Foundation.

While nearly all plants and animals genes contain a small amount of purines, some foods are higher in protein than others. These foods also are typically high in protein as well, and include organ meats, such as kidneys; fish including mackerel, herring, anchovies, sardines and mussels; dried beans; and peas. Drinks such as beer and wine also are high in purines.

Breakdown

Each day, cells in the body die and are recycled into new material. When cells die, the purines are released and broken down. One of the remaining parts is uric acid. This uric acid is present in the blood, and has a number of antioxidant properties, such as preventing damage to the linings of the blood vessels.

When present in normal amounts, uric acid dissolves in the blood and then travels to the kidneys, where it is released with the urine. However, sometimes uric acid builds up to cause harmful effects.

Uric Acid Levels

If a person has damaged kidneys or consumes foods so high in purines that the body cannot process them enough as uric acid, the acid builds up as crystals known as monosodium urate crystals. These crystals can attach themselves to various areas in the body, such as the tendons, joints, kidneys, or other parts of the body. The excessive build up of uric acid can contribute to conditions such as kidney failure, kidney stones, bone marrow disorders and gout.

Additionally, a high level of uric acid in the blood or urine can be a precursor to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or kidney disease. Conversely, low levels of uric acids can indicate liver or metabolic conditions, as well as kidney disease.

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