Uric Acid

You’ve probably heard of gout. It’s caused by the buildup of uric acid, a by-product of the breakdown of purines (components in many foods we eat), Over time an elevated uric acid level leads to the formation of needle-like crystals in joints. These crystals trigger gout attacks. Researchers now suspect a high level of uric acid may also be a sign of heart disease. The key word is “may,” since two large studies yielded entirely different results,

In a 1999 study researchers evaluated data on 6,700 people and concluded that uric acid didn’t play a role in the development of CHD or  in death from CHD. 

Researchers suspect that a high level of uric acid, which causes gout, may also be a sign of heart diseases.

They suggested that any line noted in the past was probably due to the connection between high uric acid and other risk factors, namely, being overweight. But a year later a study of 6,000 people found just the opposite: Women with high levels of uric acid (more than 8.61 mg/dl) were three times more likely to die from heart disease than women with low levels (less than 6.15), and men with high levels (more than 10,75) were 1.7 times more 

 likely to die from heart disease than those with low levels (less than 8.30),

Researchers aren’t sure what the connection may be, but they do know that insulin resistance, another CHD risk factor, often results in high levels of uric acid. Both are connected with being overweight.

By the Numbers

Normal levels vary slightly based on the lab and method of measurement used, What follows are general guidelines.

Gender Normal uric acid level
Men Up to 7.0 mg/dl
Women Up to 6.0 mg/dl

How the Plan Can Help

Elevated levels of uric acid are linked to a high intake of meat, sugar, and starches, all of which are limited on the Live It Down Plan diet. Also, if you’re overweight, the Plan will help you make the kind of lifestyle changes necessary to reach a healthier weight for your body type. And studies find that. a daily low-dose aspirin (another  Plan component for most people at increased CHD risk) reduces the production of uric acid.

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