Dr. Caroline Leaf – In this podcast (episode #381) and blog, I talk to best-selling author Dr. David Perlmutter about his new book Drop Acid: The Surprising New Science of Uric Acid-The Key to Losing Weight, Controlling Blood Sugar, and Achieving Extraordinary Health, strategies to control uric acid levels in your diet and improve your health, and so much more!
As Dr. David points out, uric acid, a byproduct of foods and drinks that are high in fructose or contain a lot of purines, is something we do not often think about when it comes to our health. Yet it actually plays an important role in our metabolism and overall mental and physical wellbeing.
Even though people have been researching uric acid for decades, it has not gotten the attention it deserved until recently. Many recent studies have shown how uric acid levels are an important signal for food scarcity. It is a primitive mechanism that lets our body know that it needs to make fat, raise blood pressure and blood sugar to prevent death. This was a powerful survival mechanism for much of our evolutionary history; however, in our world today, it can be dangerous.
For the first time in recent history, our life expectancy levels are declining (even pre-COVID). In part, this may be due to high uric acid levels and the effect they have on our metabolic health. When we disrupt our metabolism, we set the stage for acute and chronic health issues, insulin resistance, diabetes, depression, anxiety, coronary artery disease, stroke, cancer, dementias, and more, which are some of the leading causes of distress, disease and death in our world today.
Thankfully, controlling uric acid levels is a lot easier than controlling things like blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It is easy to check uric acid levels through a blood test online, and our bodies are incredibly responsive to the changes we make to reduce uric acid levels and reach optimal health, including:
- Changing our diet. Studies have shown how just changing the way we eat can improve our overall health and increase our lifespan, including reducing our uric acid levels. One great way to do this is to by reducing the fructose levels in our diet. This doesn’t mean avoiding all fruit or foods that contain fructose. It just means managing how much fruit you eat, and what kinds of fruit you eat. For example, it is much better to eat an apple with its fiber and other components than drinking lots of apple juice, which is very high in concentrated fructose and impacts our uric acid levels directly. It is also helpful to consume more foods and drinks that help reduce uric acid levels, such as coffee (even decaf!) and tart cherries. Supplements like quercetin can also help reduce uric acid levels.
- Improving your lifestyle, including getting better quality sleep and moving more.
- Identifying common pharmaceuticals that threaten to increase uric acid, and working with a medical professional to find alternatives if you are worried about your uric acid levels.
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