How Is Uric Acid Formed?

Uric Acid Formation

Uric acid is the byproduct of protein digestion, and in healthy individuals, it is removed from the blood stream and excreted by the kidneys. Excess uric acid is deposited in the joints in crystal form and creates a painful arthritic condition known as gout. The production of uric acid can be controlled by the amount of protein metabolized by the body. The body's alkalinity and urine pH is a component in the quantity of uric acid produced.

Patient's elbows with gout. (Image: joloei/iStock/Getty Images)

Protein Metabolism

Purines are building blocks for RNA and DNA and are found in various quantities in all proteins. An overproduction of uric acid occurs when proteins are broken down into their byproducts, purines being one, and an excess breakdown of the cells containing purines occurs.

Kidney Function

Uric acid, created from purine metabolism, dissolves in the blood and is excreted by the kidneys. In the case of patients with gout, uric acid is not fully cleared from urine due to the kidneys' inability to do so. The kidneys' inability to remove the excess uric acid can be the result of various conditions contributing to renal dysfunction. High levels of uric acid in the body is called hyperuricemia and blood tests can be administered to test for the amount present.


When the body is in an alkaline state, uric acid is more easily broken down with production lowered thus rendering it more easily excreted by the kidneys. According to A. Halabe and O. Sperling of the Department of Metabolism, Beilinson Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel, "uric acid is more soluble in a more alkaline pH. Incidence of uric acid kidney stones and crystals found in urine are much higher in urine with a lower, more acidic pH."

Achieving an alkaline state can be done by eating certain foods known to create this condition in the body. In his book "Alkalinize or Die," Dr. Theodore A. Baroody, discusses which foods and food additives are able to help the body create an alkaline urine. Some of these are apples, apple cider vinegar, tart cherry juice, baking soda, lemons and cream of tartar.

Lifestyle and Body Condition

The amount of uric acid found in the blood depends on a variety of factors. Body mass, weight, amount of exercise and diet are all contributing aspects. Age and gender can also be determining factors as well as hormonal activity.


Gout is a condition that develops when uric acid is not properly excreted from the blood through the urine. Excess uric acid builds up in the body, and when not removed by the kidneys, it deposits in the form of crystals in the joints, primarily those of the hands and feet, and especially in the joint of the big toe. Gout, a very painful form of arthritis, was traditionally a disease of the wealthy and ruling classes seen mostly in men over the age of 50. Today it is seen in a wider range of the population, as well as in women and children and is thought to be the result of eating habits where people consume excess animal protein and fats which contribute heavily to the formation of purine breakdown and uric acid.

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