Uric acid is a metabolic waste produced inside our body from the breakdown of purine molecules and it is excreted normally in the urine. If production of uric acid exceeds the rate of excretion, it gets deposited inside the body as crystals. These uric acid crystals pass through the urine which is a warning sign of health disorders.
Causes of Uric Acid Crystals in Urine
Uric acid is the final oxidation product of purines, a natural substance found in food. Food items like meat, dried beans, anchovies, sea fish, oatmeal, etc. are purine rich and over-consumption of purine rich foods increases uric acid levels in the body.
According to American Medical Association, uric acid level should range between 3.6 mg/dL and 8.3 mg/dL. Urine tests are done to check uric acid levels in the body. If it reaches above the specified limit, the condition is known as hyperuricemia. Small crystals pass through urine and the severity of symptoms vary with increase in uric acid content of urine.
Most common disorders associated with high levels of uric acid are gout, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, uric acid stone, urolithiasis, and metabolic syndrome.
Uric acid stones pass through urine when the kidney is unable to metabolize uric acid at the desired rate. In this case acidic urine passes through the body and crystals are discharged along with it. The crystals are deposits of calcium oxalate and are commonly known as 'seed crystals'.
Uric acid crystalluria is caused when these oxalate crystals do not get diluted at the acidic pH of the urine. Calcium stones pass out from the body during this condition. Uric acid stones are mostly found in cases of glycogenosis, gout, neoplasms, and myeloproliferative syndromes.
Uric acid crystals should not be confused with cystine or calcium phosphate crystals. To detect the underlying cause and nature of crystals, a uric acid test is done. Medicines are prescribed if the range diagnosed is higher than the normal level. Drugs containing allupurionol and febuxostat are usually prescribed to lower uric acid in the body. Probenecid decreases the rate of absorption of uric acid and aids in elimination of excess uric acid from the body. Sulfinpyrazone also lowers uric acid level.
Diet to Control Uric Acid
When detected at an early stage, a change in diet prevents further rise of uric acid inside the body. We have provided you a list of food items that are safe and harmful.
- Minimize the protein content in your food. Red meat, poultry, dairy products and fish should be avoided.
- Say a big no to bread, alcohol, and other food products containing yeast.
- Reduce intake of broccoli, spinach, beans and mushrooms. Carrots, onions, and cauliflower are purine rich and should be avoided.
- You can mix a little baking soda in water and drink it. This helps to dissolve uric acid crystals present inside your body.
- Cherry juice is extremely beneficial for people with high uric acid.
- Eat foods rich in fiber. For e.g. prunes, avocados, corn, bananas, and cabbage.
- Drink lime juice and incorporate citrus fruits in your diet.
- Drink plenty of water and fruit juices to dilute uric acid crystals in your body.
In case you experience unusual pain in your joints or any other part of your body, get the uric acid test done immediately. Do not neglect the symptoms and try to get proper treatment at the earliest.