Uric Acid Levels
Testing for high levels of uric acid typically requires a blood test, or a sample from the affected joint if gout is suspected. For a blood test, a vein is chosen either from the inside of an elbow or backside of the hand. Fasting for four hours, and potentially stopping medication (as they can interfere with results) may be needed. Talking with your healthy care provider before having an test is required to know the process.
Normal uric acid levels are between 3.5 and 7.0 mg/dL for men, and 2.4-6.9 mg/dL for women, depending on body type and similar factors. These levels fluctuate throughout the day, and are typically higher in the morning and lower at the end of the day.
Even if a blood test shows normal ranges, uric acid crystals can form in joints and cause pain and inflammation, thus leading to gout attacks.
There are three major considerations for preventing and maintaining a healthy body that properly manages levels.
Circulation is critical for proper blood function and to prevent uric acid crystals from forming. A 1997 study published in Heart demonstrated that heightened uric acid levels were present in patients with chronic heart failure who had poor blood flow in the lower limbs. Since obesity and diabetes increase risk for gout, and both conditions are also at risk for poor circulation, maintaining healthy blood flow is important. Even for those without gout, tingling fingers and toes, along with cramps and varicose veins are indicative of poor circulation. Regular stretching helps circulation, along with certain vitamins and herbs, including:
- Butcher's Broom
- Cayenne Pepper
- Vitamin B-12
- Vitamin C (but avoid straight ascorbic acid, as this can contribute to higher uric acid levels)
To help the kidneys function properly and remove necessary amounts of acid, avoid over-consuming meat, shellfish, meat substances (such as liver), alcohol, caffeine, and niacin (vitamin B3). While maintaining a healthy urine flow is important, do not use diuretics if they are not needed.
Certain herbs such as dandelion, butcher's broom, and cilantro can assist the kidneys and urinary tract in filtering waste.
Consume plenty of fiber to help remove waste in the body. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and moderate amounts of grains are rich fiber sources.
To prevent crystals from causing pain, healthy inflammatory response is required. Adequate exercise, stress reduction, and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as ginger, turmeric, and dark, leafy greens can help. B vitamins help break down proteins and promote a healthy nervous system to manage stress responses.
If you'd like a simple, fast, and free evaluation of gout for your personal symptoms, take our free online quiz.