role of uric acid in heart disease

Uric acid is a molecule in the blood that is historically associated with a very old-fashioned disease: gout. Yet in recent years, uric acid has gained a great deal of interest as a deciding factor in many of the metabolic health concerns that plague us and has also been identified as a determinant of cardiovascular (CV) risk.

Could uric acid be one of the greatest threats to our health and wellbeing? It’s estimated that one in three adults in the UK suffer from metabolic syndrome, the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, which puts you at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.

Initially, uric acid was seen as ‘innocent’ bystander, as such, with elevated levels being associated with poor diet. Yet, it now seems that uric acid is the central player, causing these problems by elevating our blood pressure, leading to glucogenesis or the production of blood sugar. This makes us insulin resistant and increases our production of body fat.

A simple change

One change we could make is to limit the amount of fructose we consume. Fructose was traditionally only a minor component in our diet, mostly derived from eating fruit and vegetables, but today we consume huge amounts from the refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup that is present in soft drinks, cereals, pastries, and other processed foods.

Over the last couple of decades, a link has been established between the increased amount of fructose we consume and our levels of uric acid, and correspondingly elevated hypertension or high blood pressure.

The good news is that you do not to limit your fruit intake if you’re trying to minimise fructose from other sources. Although fruit may be called ‘nature’s fast food’, it’s difficult to get excessive amounts of fructose from fruit as it also contains fibre and water and the physical act of eating and digesting a piece of fruit means any fructose hits the liver slowly.

And there are certain foods that can actively bring down your uric acid levels, such as foods that are rich in certain bioflavonoids. In a recent UK study into a very powerful bioflavonoid called quercetin, it was found that 500 milligrams of quercetin a day for just two weeks was associated with an 8% lowering of uric acid.

Quercetin is a pigment that adds colour to fruits and vegetables and is present in many foods. Rich sources of quercetin include onions, kale, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and blueberries. It also appears in black and green tea.

Your uric acid levels can be checked with a simple blood test. For more advice on the management and prevention of cardiovascular disease, call and book a consultation with Dr Konrad Grosser on 01622 538 103 or via today.