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Nutritional Supplements That Cause an Increase in Uric Acid

author image Joe King, M.S.
Joe King began writing fitness and nutrition articles in 2001 for the "Journal of Hyperplasia Research" and Champion Nutrition. As a personal trainer, he has been helping clients reach their fitness goals for more than a decade. King holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from California State University, Hayward, and a Master of Science in exercise physiology from California State University, East Bay.
Nutritional Supplements That Cause an Increase in Uric Acid
Some nutritional supplements contain compounds that promote uric acid production. Photo Credit: Paul Katz/Photodisc/Getty Images

Uric acid is a compound produced by your body that contains carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen. It forms salts called urates. Uric acid is created when your body breaks down purine nucleotides, a crystallized substance that is considered a building block of DNA. High amounts of uric acid in your blood stream can lead to a type of arthritis called gout, and can cause kidney damage and kidney stones. Certain types of nutritional supplements may increase the production of uric acid in your body, including supplements with sugar, creatine and iron as well as supplements that promote weight loss.

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Sugar-Containing Supplements

High-sugar nutritional supplements, especially supplements that contain fructose, can cause an increase in uric acid levels. Supplement manufacturers include sugars in some of their products to stimulate energy production. Fructose in nutritional supplements increases blood levels of uric acid within minutes of ingestion by using the high energy phosphate, Adenosine-5'-triphosphate or ATP, in your liver for its own metabolism. This process converts ATP into adenosine monophosphate, or AMP, which is then converted into uric acid.

Creatine Supplements

Uric acid levels can be elevated due to a reduction in kidney function). Creatine supplementation may affect kidney function, particularly if you already suffer from an underlying kidney disorder. Creatine pulls water into your skeletal muscles, leaving less water available for other bodily processes. This increases the risk of becoming dehydrated, which places extra stress on your kidneys due to the increased filtration of contaminants. Uric acid is also a byproduct of creatine metabolism in your body, which directly increases uric acid levels in your bloodstream.

Iron Supplements

Iron supplements, or supplements that contain iron as a trace mineral, causes an increase in the production of uric acid. Iron activates a compound called xanthine oxidase, an enzyme produced in your liver that breaks down compounds into uric acid. Iron is essential for the health and maintenance of red blood cell formation in your bone marrow, and the presence of iron in your body is always associated with uric acid production. Excess iron can lead to several side effects, including an increased risk of kidney stones due to high levels of uric acid.

Weight Loss Supplements

Many weight loss supplements contain compounds that increase the production of uric acid in your body, including caffeine. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and can increase the risk of becoming dehydrated which increases uric acid levels and kidney stress. Losing weight rapidly may also increase the production of uric acid. The mobilization and breakdown of free fatty acids that are stored in your fat cells takes place primarily in your liver. The breakdown of fat by your liver produces several byproducts, including uric acid.

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  • "Human Anatomy and Physiology"; Elaine N. Marieb; 2004
  • "Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements"; Jose Antonio, Douglass Kalman, Jeffrey R. Stout, and Mike Greenwood; 2008
  • "Journal of Hyperplasia Research"; Creatine: A Meta-analysis; JD King; 2005
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