Uric acid is a natural occurring compound in the blood which forms ions and salts called urates and acid urates.
These urates are passed through urine and for most people uric acid levels are kept in balance by the body naturally.
Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines. Purines are found in high concentrations in certain foods such as (but not limited to) organ meats, sardines, scallops, game meats, sugar and beer.
Uric Acid and Gout
High concentrations of uric acid is called Hyperuricemia and can lead to the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints.
Uric acid crystals are tiny needle-like objects which build up in the joints, most often the big toe but also in the knees and elbows.
These crystals cause immense amounts of pain even when the joint is not moving.
Over time, uric acid crystals can cause damage to the joint and bone which is why it is important to lower your uric acid levels soon rather than later.
Normal Uric Acid Levels
The reference range of uric acid levels is:
Men: 3.4-7.2mg per 100ml (200-420µmol/l)
Women: 2.4–6.1 mg per 100 ml (140–360 µmol/l)
High Uric Acid Levels
Gout can occur in uric acid levels as low as 6 mg per 100 ml (357 µmol/l) but some people can have serum values as high as 9.6 mg per 100 ml (565 µmol/l) and not experience any gout effects.
For this reason, uric acid levels are only one indicator of gout risk. Other factors such as age, weight, genetics, diet and lifestyle must also be entered into the equation when assessing the risk of experiencing gout.