Sources of Nucleic Acids

Vegetables.
Bundles of spinach on a wooden table. (Image: gitusik/iStock/Getty Images)

The nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, are required for the storage and expression of genetic information. Nucleic acids are made up of purines and pyrimidines, which are carbon- and nitrogen-containing molecules derived from carbon dioxide and amino acids like glutamine. Because they are formed in the body, nucleic acids are not essential nutrients. Dietary sources are plant and animal foods like meat, certain vegetables and alcohol.

Vegetables

Beans, peas, lentils, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower and mushrooms are all vegetable sources of nucleic acids, specifically purines. Rapidly growing foods like asparagus have the highest amount of nucleic acids of the vegetables. Lettuce, tomatoes and other green vegetables are not significant sources of nucleic acids.

Meats

All meats, including organ meats, and seafood contain high levels of nucleic acids. Meat extracts and gravies are also notably high. Of these foods, organ meats such as liver have the most nuclei, and are therefore highest in nucleic acids. Conversely, dairy products and nuts are considered low-nucleic acid foods.

Other Foods

Yeast and yeast extracts, beer and other alcoholic beverages are additional sources of nucleic acids in the diet. On the other hand, grains such as bread and cereals, as well as fruits and fruit juices, are not high in nucleic acids.

Nucleic Acids and Health

Dietary nucleic acids are generally converted into uric acid and enter the blood and urine, where they can form crystals, a condition known as gout. Higher levels of meat and seafood consumption are associated with an increased risk of gout, whereas moderate intake of vegetables high in nucleic acids, such as asparagus, does not have this effect. Of the alcohols, beer consumption confers a higher risk of gout than does whiskey or wine.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.