Some people can lower their uric acid level through diet. However, even when it does lower the level, the effect is small. If you need to lower your uric acid level more than a small amount, a urate-lowering medication tends to be much more effective than diet alone. Medications that can effectively lower uric acid include allopurinol, febuxostat and probenecid.
Still, it may be possible to lower your uric acid at least a bit by limiting certain foods, such as:
- Organ meats (including liver, heart, kidney, sweetbreads)
- Certain fish and seafood (such as herring, mussels, sardines, anchovies, trout and scallops)
- Foods and drinks containing high fructose corn syrup (as in many carbonated beverages)
New cases of gout are less common among people who have a diet high in dairy products and more common among those who drink alcohol (especially beer). So, it's possible that increasing your intake of dairy products and limiting beer consumption may lower your uric acid.
Other ways you may be able to lower your uric acid include:
- Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Protecting your kidneys for example, people with hypertension and diabetes are at risk for kidney disease but tight blood sugar and blood pressure control can help to preserve kidney function
- Adjusting your medications (with your doctor's approval) -- Certain medicines, such as diuretics, tend to increase uric acid. There may be a different medication you can take that's just as effective but does not raise uric acid.
Who needs to lower their uric acid? While anyone with a history of gout or kidney stones might benefit from reducing their blood level of uric acid, it's most important for those who have:
- Gouty arthritis affecting multiple joints at a time
- Gouty arthritis attacks that are severe or difficult to control within a day or two of treatment
- Frequent attacks of gout (for example, three or more per year)
- Tophi (lumps of uric acid crystals in the joints or skin)
- A prior history of both gout and kidney stones
- Kidney stones made of uric acid (even if there is no history of gouty arthritis)
- Chemotherapy for cancer (such as leukemia) that may be associated with sudden increases in uric acid.
If you have one of these reasons to lower uric acid, it's reasonable to make adjustments to your diet, especially if you notice that certain foods cause trouble. For example, some people notice they develop gout attacks when they drink alcohol.
However, if you have recurrent gout or kidney stones caused by a high uric acid level, diet will rarely be sufficient. A urate-lowering medication is likely to be a better option than a strict diet. Talk to your doctor about all of your options to lower uric acid.