Suffering From Joint Pain and Don't Know Why? Could Be Uric Acid Buildup

Suffering From Joint Pain and Don't Know Why? Could Be Uric Acid Buildup
Julie Doherty Naturopathic Physician Hackham, SA

An Accredited Member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, Julie Graduated with distinctions from S.A. College of Botanic Medicine and Natural Therapies Pty Ltd. Professional Qualifications include: Naturopathic Doctor, Herbal & Homoeopathic Practitioner: Diet and Nutritional Medicine: Remedial & Therapeutic... more

Joint pain, swelling, restricted mobility and movement: This is commonly referred to as arthritis or gout.

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in your joints.

In these conditions, due to a deposition of uric acid in and around the joints, severe painfulness, swelling, and restricted mobility of the affected joint all occur.

A buildup of uric acid is extremely toxic for your body and affects your muscles and joints, the buildup and depositing of uric acid being the major cause of pain and inflammation.

What is uric acid?

Uric acid naturally occurs as a waste product in your body. The cause of uric acid is the breakdown of a chemical known as purine.

This is always present in the body. It is also found in a variety of foods as well.

Uric acid would normally be carried by the blood and filtered by the kidneys, then is exited as a waste product that you know as urine.

The problem, however, is uric acid levels will rise if the kidneys are unable to get rid of it naturally or if the body is producing or has too much of it. This is a condition known as hyperuricemia.

This excess uric acid that may be occurring in your body will cause you to experience some uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms.

The causes of this uric acid build up can be many, however there are many ways to treat the problem and prevent it from reoccurring.

Some causes of excess uric acid:

  • Purines - These are natural substances found in all the body's cells and also in many foods. The main foods that cause the problem when eaten in large quantities as these are high-purine foods. They are also high-protein foods. These include organ meats like kidney, fish like mackerel, herring, sardines and mussels, and also yeast. Also, a diet that is high in animal protein with minimal vegetable content.
  • Kidney problems - Kidney failure and some cancers that affect the blood may also have a detrimental affect on the kidneys.
  • Some medications, as these can be high in purines. They may also have a detrimental effect on your kidneys.
  • Excessive intake of alcohol, soft drinks, and/or sports drinks.

Excess uric acid symptoms

If you are suffering from uric acid symptoms, the discomfort can be quite significant.

Here is a list of the most common symptoms:

1. Gout

This is caused by uric acid accumulation in the blood, which can lead to the formation of small sharp crystals. These crystals can lead to pain in joints and surrounding tissues, including the feet, ankles, knees and hands. The pain can be sharp and intense.

There are many remedies for gout, and most of them are easy to incorporate into your daily life:

  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake. Foods that are low in purines can help flush out the uric acid. Eat plenty of fruits such as berries, mangoes, apples, pears, kiwi fruit and vegetables especially your dark green vegetables. It is advisable to either avoid or minimize your consumption of mushrooms, asparagus, and cauliflower, as they have high levels of purine.
  • Eat cherries (yum). Cherries have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being an antioxidant. A cup at each meal has been shown to reduce gout.
  • Eat alfalfa. Alfalfa can be taken as a supplement, however it is easy to include with your meals to help reduce the pain of gout.
  • Water is the big one. The more water your drink, the more uric acid is diluted, and also, the water has a beneficial effect on your kidneys. 

2. Kidney stones

High levels of uric acid can lead to small stone-like deposits in the kidneys. These are then passed down to the bladder, where they cause intense pain that comes and goes. This pain is not relieved until the kidney stones pass through the urethra. Ooh! Painful. Especially for you fellows; not good!

The best remedies for kidney stones are preventative. These can include:

  • Once again I cannot emphasize enough the importance of drinking water, water, and, guess what, more water. During the day, when you are drinking enough water, your urine will run clear.
  • Eat foods low in salt and animal proteins. The best advice I can give you here is to avoid all processed meats, tinned or packaged meals, and your mainstream biscuits and cakes. Keep bread to a minimum.
  • Avoid calcium supplements. These will make kidney stones worse as well as your susceptibility to them. Great calcium sources are almonds, yogurt, and green vegetables. So that your calcium is absorbed correctly and not stored in your body, you must include foods that are high in vitamin C. These are citrus fruits, berries, and kiwi fruit. Vegetables high in vitamin C are kale, spinach, broccoli, and capsicum. Each morning, if you have a lemon squeezed in warm water, this is beneficial for decreasing uric acid buildup by alkalizing your body.

3. Kidney failure

Kidney failure is just what it sounds like: The kidneys no longer function as well when it comes time to eliminate wastes. The result can be several painful and annoying symptoms, including uric acid buildup in the blood.

Remedies for kidney failure focus greatly on what you choose to eat. Avoid foods with salt and high levels of protein, as these both make your kidneys work harder. You should also avoid foods that have high levels of potassium, such as bananas or potatoes. Instead, choose low-potassium foods. These include berries, squash, corn, rice, poultry, fish, sweet potato, pumpkin, and non-dairy substitutes.

What uric acid crystals do and what you can do

Excess uric acid symptoms can be found throughout the body. This is dependent on where the uric acid crystals have lodged. However, most often, this has occurred in the joints and especially the feet. This can then lead to localized pain. You will find pain medication to be of no help. In fact, it may well add to the problem. To help with the reduction of pain, take daily baths with a cup of Epsom salts and soak in the bath for 20 minutes. The Epsom salts will support the body's detoxification. This in turn will then help with the pain. Initially, you may well have to do this twice a day.

So, to summarize what you can do and, really, this is the best help you can get because it is the only way that you will actually get on top of the problem, avoid foods high in purines such as red and organ meat like liver or kidneys, alcoholic beverages, especially beer, soft drinks, commercial fruit juices, processed meals, sauces, and gravies. Keep to a minimum foods such as mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, and legumes.

When to seek professional health care support

High levels of uric acid can be the cause or create long term health problems so it is vitally important for our health that we keep up a diet with reduction in foods and drinks that have high levels of purines as mentioned.

Visit a doctor:

  • If you are dealing with localized pain that is red and inflamed, especially if it is in a toe or finger, which might be a sign of uric acid buildup
  • If you experience bleeding that doesn't stop after a few minutes
  • If you experience rapid heartbeat or new rashes on the skin, especially in conjunction with starting new medications
  • If you are feeling chest pain or chest discomfort, as well as shortness of breath

Further support for you: Steps for improving your diet 

Empowering You to Optimal Health: Julie Doherty N.D