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High Uric Acid Levels in Blood: Causes and Remedies

author image Peter Branney
Peter Branney has more than nine years of experience as a scientific researcher. He has contributed to scientific journals such as the "American Journal of Human Genetics," "PLoS Genetics," "PLoS One" and "Biology of the Cell." Branney holds a Ph.D., as well as a Bachelor of Science in biotechnology.
High Uric Acid Levels in Blood: Causes and Remedies
A plate of cooked scallops sits on a white counter. Photo Credit: margouillatphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Uric acid is a chemical produced in the body during the final step of purine metabolism. Uric acid is toxic and it is normally extracted from the blood by the kidneys, which then deliver it for excretion in urine. If the body produces excessive amounts of uric acid or is unable to remove it, health complications can occur. A high concentration of uric acid in the blood is known as hyperuricemia, which can lead to kidney stones and gout.

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Several genetic mutations have been discovered in the genes encoding the proteins responsible for excreting uric acid through the kidneys. The majority of these mutations are present in genes of the solute carrier family, such as SLC2A9 and SLC17A1. These mutations are associated with a number of metabolic diseases, but patients will normally suffer similar consequences, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and gout.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Hyperuricemia is a common finding in patients with metabolic syndrome. Although the reasons for this link are unclear, a correlation between the two conditions has been known for some time. The global increase in metabolic syndrome, as well as associated heart disease and diabetes, has lead to an increase in the incidence of hyperuricemia.


Because uric acid is a product of purine metabolism, a purine-rich diet increases your risk of developing hyperuricemia. Purines are particularly abundant in meat and meat products, especially offal. Examples of purine-rich foods include sweetbreads, liver, beef kidneys, game meats, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and scallops. Consumption of excess amounts of alcohol and salt are also known to contribute to hyperuricemia.

Remedies for High Uric Acid

There are a variety of drugs that can be used to help hyperuricemia patients. People with gout are often given drugs to help with the pain, such as nonsteroidal anit-inflammtory drugs. Drugs that help to clear excess uric acid from the blood include xanthine oxidase inhibitors and uricosuric medications. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors block the production of uric acid through the inhibition of purine metabolism, whereas uricosuric drugs target the kidneys, increasing the excretion of uric acid from the blood.

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