Avoiding Uric Acid Production
The painful condition known as gout is caused by the build-up of uric acid in the body. It makes sense then, that someone with gout would want to avoid this build-up. Drinking lots of water can help since this increases urination, and uric acid is excreted through this process.
But knowing that uric acid is the waste product of foods containing a substance called purine is also basic to our understanding of the physical and chemical composition of uric acid. By avoiding the consumption of these purines, we can reduce our levels of uric acid and thus keep attacks of gout to a minimum. If we add to the equation the fact that uric acid levels are affected by temperature and by the acidity of our body fluids we may also be able to come up with some home remedies for avoiding and treating gout.
Purine is the official chemical name of a ring of 6 atoms joined to a ring of 5 atoms. Any compound that consists of this 6-atom ring joined to a 5-atom ring is called a purine. We find purines in uric acid and in caffeine, as well as in DNA and RNA. In terms of our diet, we take in purines through the DNA and RNA contained in the cells of animal and vegetable food sources.
Nucleic acids like DNA and RNA are termed as such because they are found within a cell's nucleus. The function of these acids is to take genetic information and encode it into long chains known as adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. Uric acid is produced upon the oxidation of adenine and guanine in the nucleic acids.
While adenine and guanine are created from nucleic acids, they are not components of the amino acids which form proteins. Proteins contain nitrogen and this is excreted as urea, which is produced in the liver by way of carrier molecules and enzymes which serve to combine two molecules of ammonia with one molecule of carbon dioxide. The combination of ammonia and carbon dioxide produces urea and water. This is known as the Urea Cycle.
Foods that do not contain cell nuclei can be considered to be purine-free. Some foods in this category are:
*Non-fermented milk products such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, and whey protein
*Strained fruit juices
These foods are considered purine-free because they do not contain cell nuclei. It is the yolk of the egg and not the white which contains nucleic acids. The egg white is a pure protein and doesn't contain purines. Milk consists of whey proteins, casein, and fats, but has no cell nuclei, and therefore doesn't contain purines. Yogurt and aged cheeses contain purines as a result of undergoing the fermentation process. Nucleic acids are formed in the bacterial cells that are produced during fermentation.
The New England Journal of Medicine carried a study that suggests that increasing the amount of dairy products in your diet is associated with a lesser risk for gout. The study further intimates that eating moderate amounts of purine-rich proteins and vegetables doesn't increase your risk for the condition. If you want to try reducing the amount of purines in your diet, use egg whites and non-fermented milk products as the basis of your diet, but avoid or limit meats and seafood.