Purines and Gout

Updated on June 13, 2017
Spiro Koulouris profile image

The author has suffered from gout since the age of 26. He enjoys educating others about how to manage this condition on his blog GoutandYou.

Purines and Gout – Everything You Need to Know

Understanding the connection between purines and gout is vital for anyone who suffers from gout—and anyone who doesn’t want to develop this condition. What makes this important is the fact that purines are found in many foods and drinks that compose a normal diet. Higher levels of purines in the diet can result in higher levels of uric acid in the body, which may lead to painful bouts of gout.

Purines are natural substances that are found in the body's cells, as well as in many normal foods and drinks. Most of the time, foods that are high in purines also happen to be high-protein foods, such as organ meats, sea foods like mackerel, sardines, and mussels—as well as alcoholic beverages, especially beer.

How purines relate to uric acid metabolism and consequently gout

Uric acid is the final product after the complete breakdown of purines. The production of uric acid as a byproduct of the breakdown of purines is a normal process, and the uric acid also has some very important uses in the body. However, when there is excess breakdown of the purines, what follows in is excess levels of uric acid in the body and when the uric acid accumulates, they can get crystalized and become deposited in the joints, kidney, tendons and other organs leading to a myriad of problems, including aggravating gout condition.



Why gout sufferers should consider low purine diet

What causes gout is the deposition of crystalized uric acid in the joints and so it implies that if the excess deposition can be stopped, then the condition can be alleviated or prevented. It is approximated that the daily intake of purines by adults in the United States is anywhere between 600-1000 milligrams of purine. Even though this is considered as an approximation, the figures could be higher or lower, but the important thing for every gout sufferer is to watch what they take and be sure that they do not contain high levels of purines.

But as you concentrate on the diet, it is worth pointing out that there is a difference between how plant and animal purines impact the production of uric acid and their consequences in the body as far gout is concerned. This is according to a study conducted on these two types of purines. During the study, it was discovered that purines from animal food family such as those from fish and meat increased the risks of one getting gout whereas those from vegetables and plants had no impact. The same study, also revealed that dairy foods, normally known to be low in purines, came with a lower risks of gout.

The point worth taking home from all these is that there are different types of purines and they are not all the same. Again, plant purines are considered safer than fish and meat purines as far as gout risk is concerned.

High purine foods to stay away from to reduce the risk of gout

Now that you understand the relationship between purines and gout and also that not all purines are the same, you should also know the specifics diets you ought to avoid if you don’t want to suffer the devastating consequences of high purines. Below is a short recommendation as far high purine diets are concerned-:

Be careful with certain vegetables

The purines found in vegetables is basically low and won’t be harmful, but there are certain veggies that have high purine content and which should be avoided for safety. Some of the vegetables with high concentration of purines include asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms and legumes. If you have to take these vegetables, be sure to not take more than two servings per week.

Go slow on the proteins

Consumption of animal based proteins should also be considered if you want to stay safe from high levels of purines in the body. Proteins with high purine content such as poultry, seafood and meat should be avoided at all costs. Instead, you may consider eating skinless turkey or chicken, lean cut beef or pork, and fish like salmon, but in moderation.

Other foods to watch out for

The other foods to watch out for include meat extracts which are known to have very high purine content. These include meat based soups or stews which have broth or bouillon stock made from concentrated meat extracts. It is also worth watching out for alcoholic beverages, especially beer and other drinks made with high fructose corn syrup like sodas. These will stimulate the production of purines which may in turn increase the uric acid levels, leading to the excess acids crystalizing on joints to increase the risks of gout or trigger attacks.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

What food high in purines do you avoid? Let me know below.

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    • profile image


      17 months ago

      meat and fish, alcohol


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