Decreasing the risk of uric acid stones

Uric acid stones are associated with a high purine intake and acidic urine. When there is too much uric acid in the urine, stones can form.

1 Decrease purine intake
Purines are found in high concentrations in anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, scallops, gravy, meat, and meat products. Organ meats such as liver, brain, sweetbread, and kidney have particularly high levels. Studies have found that a high intake of purines can increase the amount of uric acid in the urine, leading to the formation of uric acid stones. Protein substitutes for these high purine foods are:

  • 1. Dairy products
  • 2. Legumes
  • 3. Soy products
  • 4. Tofu
  • 5. Lentils
  • 6. Whole grains
  • 7. Vegetables

2. Decrease alcohol intake
The studies linking alcohol to uric acid levels have focused on gout. Gout results from an accumulation of too much uric acid that can lead to deposits of hard lumps of uric acid in and around the joints and cause inflammation. Chronic or untreated gout can lead to kidney stones. Research has found that drinking beer showed the strongest risk of developing gout. While other spirits (for example, brandy, whiskey, vodka, etc.) have also been shown to increase the risk of developing gout, wine was not found to do so. There are some red wines and stouts that contain purines or oxypurines, which can lead to increased purine load, so you will need to be cautious with red wine as well. Even without gout, if you have a history of uric acid stones, it would be beneficial to limit your consumption of alcohol.

3. Moderate dairy intake
Research has shown that milk and yogurt consumption can lower serum uric acid levels. In one study, those who consumed milk one or more times per day had a lower serum uric acid level than did those who did not drink milk. Similarly, those who consumed yogurt at least once every other day had a lower serum uric acid level than did those who did not consume yogurt.

4. Fluid intake
Drinking enough fluid will reduce the concentration of stone-forming minerals in the urine by diluting it. The goal is to drink at least 10 full glasses of fluid each day (at least half should be water).
Some ways to reach your fluid goals are:

  • 1. Have one cup before and after each meal
  • 2. Drink with your meals
  • 3. Drink with your snacks
  • 4. Drink during activities: computer, television watching, and commuting
  • 5. Eat a lot of water-rich foods (for example, soup, fruit, vegetables)
  • 6. Drink as little caffeine and alcohol as possible

If you have any health conditions, speak with your GP before making any drastic changes in your diet. Also keep in mind that you could have stones that appear after you make your changes in your diet. This does not mean that the diet did not work; it means that the stones were there before, so you would need to give your diet more time to see if it works.

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