Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Understanding Purines for Gout

If you suffer from Gout, chances are you have done some research on it. If you have done any research, you have probably read about purines. There seems to be an unlimited supply of websites attempting to define what is safe to eat and what should be avoided.

Purines are found naturally in the cells of our body and in the food we eat. As much as 85-90% of the purines (Adenine and Guanine) in our body come naturally from our DNA. The remaining 10-15% of purines (Hypoxanthine and Xanthine) come from the food and beverages we consume. Either way, the purines make their way to the liver where it is metabolized in to Uric Acid. The uric acid then travels to the kidneys where most is removed from the body as waste in urine. Some of the uric acid is deposited in the bloodstream. When too much Uric Acid enters the kidney's more is deposited into the bloodstream. It is the excess uric acid in the bloodstream that crystallizes in joints to create what we all know as Gout.

Low Purine Diet Guide
Since up to 85% of the purines come from DNA, that means the remaining 15% can be controlled by what we eat. There seems to be unlimited supply of websites telling us what we should eat and what we should avoid. Generally, you want to maintain a low purine diet and limit consumption of high purine foods. I found this chart at Primary Care Specialists. This chart is a good guide on what to eat and what not to eat. High purines eats, red meats, seafood and alcoholic beverages among many other things. I have listed a few sites I like to reference when I need to find out about a particular food or food group.

Please share with me your favorite website for looking up the purines list.

Purines Food Lists

Information Sources

Monday, May 26, 2014

Uric Acid Meter Accuracy

Easy Touch GU Log
Easy Touch GU Log
I bought my Easy Touch GU, Uric Acid Meter several years ago. Although, I do not believe it is as accurate and reliable as a test performed at the doctor’s office, I still believe it is a reliable guide that helps in planning menus and activities. 

I purchased my meter from a vendor in Florida a few years ago before they were available on Amazon. Read my previous post on my Uric Acid Monitor. When it first arrived, I used it several times a day. I tested my blood when I woke up, before going to bed, before / after meals, before / after known trigger foods, and randomly during the day. I noticed that my uric acid levels varied through-out the day. It changed depending on, not just what I ate, but what I was doing such as relaxed vs doing sometime of strenuous activity. 

During gout attacks, I observed variances in my levels as well. Although, my levels were higher than normal, they still varied through-out the day. What I found most interesting was that as my gout attack wore on, my uric acid levels went back to the normal range, but I was still in pain. This helped me realize once the uric acid crystals developed in my toe, I had to maintain a low uric acid level for days sometimes weeks for the uric acid crystal to dissolve. If I ate any moderate / high purine foods, it didn't allow the crystals to dissolve as quickly.

I use my meter as a guide. If I think I might be at risk of having gout, I check my blood. If the meter reads that my uric acid is greater than 7mg, I avoid the steak and beer, and have chicken and water instead. If it is within range, particularly below 5mg, I might have a couple of shrimp or a steak but I do not over-indulge. Since Allopurinol does not work for me, I watch my diet and monitor my blood levels. You can read my post on my experience with Allopurinol at Is Allopurinol Good . 

Male : 3 ~ 7.2 mg/dL (179 ~ 428 umol/L)
Female : 2 ~ 6 mg/dL (119 ~ 357 umol/L)

I believe the uric acid meter is worth the investment. I learned a lot about how uric acid works in my blood. My doctor confirmed that uric acid levels can fluctuate. When I compared the results from the meter to the result from the lab, they were not exact but close enough. I purchase my refills through Amazon and find them a bit expensive so I do not test as much as I did in the beginning. There is a bit of a wait to receive the refills so I hopefully that will improve in the future. 

I would enjoy hearing experiences with your Uric Acid Meter.