How Uric Acid Disrupts Your Metabolic Health

David Perlmutter, M.D.

Knowing, tracking and managing your uric acid levels can help you lower your blood sugar and even lose weight.


In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

… guest Dr. David Perlmutter explains how he’s an expert in dropping acid, but not in the way you might think. A regular contributor to groundbreaking science, he’s back on the show to talk about why you should be paying attention to your uric acid levels.

Dr. Perlmutter is a neurologist and five-time New York Times bestselling author. His books include “Brain Wash,” “Grain Brain” and  “Brain Maker.” He’s recognized internationally as a leader in the field of nutritional influences in neurological disorders. Now, he’s turning his attention to how uric acid threatens your metabolic health.

Uric acid is a waste product of metabolism, and its levels are a key health marker and indicator of chronic degenerative diseases. When uric acid levels rise, they tell your body to store fat, which messes with your metabolism and poses a danger to your health.

“Uric acid is toxic intracellularly to the mitochondria. Why? Because it wants to slow down the metabolism in the rest of the body to conserve energy."

David Perlmutter, M.D.

Dr. Perlmutter shares a startling research study: In 2009, researchers followed a group of 90,000 people for eight years. They measured participants’ uric acid at the beginning of the study and found with people who had a level of seven or greater, their risk of dying (from any illness) increased by 16 percent. The risk of death from cardiovascular issues increased by 39 percent and risk of death from stroke increased by 35 percent.

Alcohol, purines (breakdown product of DNA and RNA in foods) and fructose (the kind of sugar found in processed foods) are the three main sources of uric acid. Since the days of our primate ancestors, we’ve lost the ability to break down uricase, so what we choose to consume makes a big difference.

“If we can emulate those signals to our DNA and our physiology that have evolved to keep us healthy,” Dr. Perlmutter says, “we’re going a long way to offsetting these incredibly powerful metabolic disruptions that are paving the way for the biggest cause of disease on our planet.”

His newest book, “Drop Acid: The Surprising New Science of Uric Acid—The Key to Losing Weight, Controlling Blood Sugar, and Achieving Extraordinary Health,” includes ways to measure, control and track your uric acid levels and key strategies to manage them.

You’ll find out the top five foods that raise uric acid (hint: fructose earns the No. 1 spot). You’ll also find out the five important supplements to take to lower your uric acid levels back into a healthy range.

Enjoy the show!

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  • We’ve identified that there was a suite of genes in mutations that took place over more than a million years in an enzyme called uricase that breaks down as you would guess, uric acid. – 4:16
  • We’ve identified that there was a suite of genes in mutations that took place over more than a million years in an enzyme called uricase that breaks down as you would guess, uric acid. – 7:28
  • Now that we know that uric acid is signaling our bodies it’s sending an alarm signal to our entire body, saying, “Winter is coming.”  – 9:07
  • We want to be burning our body fat. We want to be keeping AMP kinase active, keeping our blood sugar lower.  11:08
  • Dr. Richard Johnson, University Of Colorado. He’s done the pioneering work and really began to raise the level of understanding of uric acid’s role.  – 13:02
  • There are only three things that make uric acid alcohol, purines that I mentioned earlier, and fructose.  – 17:26
  • When we don’t have enough water to drink, our sodium level goes up. And that turns on a pathway whereby our bodies make fructose. Then that fructose becomes uric acid. And what happens? Our blood pressure goes up.  – 20:46
  • The things that are going to raise you uric acid. Let me give the top five. Number one would be fructose, number two fructose, number three is fructose number, four purines, number five alcohol. – 25:01
  • Japan is ahead of us on this they recognize that purines make uric acid, which leads to high blood pressure, which leads high blood sugar and obesity. So now you find purine free beer.  – 26:18
  • Having an increased amount of inflammation can be lifesaving and would have been lifesaving for our ancestors in helping them deal with various types of infection.  – 31:24
  • Chinese researchers actually looked at 1,854 people and measured their uric acid when they presented to the hospital. And what they found was really quite interest that the risk of being one of three things going in the ICU, being put on a ventilator or death.  – 36:44
  • Giving quercetin 500 milligrams a day in a group of 22 young men with elevated uric acid lowered their uric acid by 8% in two weeks.  – 38:26
  • There are a group of people who have fructokinase inherited deficiency, and they develop a disease called fructosuria where their urine is full of fructose, because they can’t metabolize it. They can eat sugar all day long. They don’t gain weight, they don’t develop any metabolic issues.  – 42:02
  • Cherries are actually a great idea. The indication there is that it’s bringing down uric acid. And why? Because it works. It does lower uric acid specifically targets that enzyme xanthine oxidase that’s involved in the creation of uric acid. – 45:57
  • What do we know about uric acid and lining of the nerves? Myelination neurotransmitters, things like that.  – 48:54
  • Insulin in the brain is more than just a glucose story. More than a sugar story. Insulin is actually a trophic, nutritious chemical for brain cells.It’s the fertilizer. – 53:04
  • A couple of drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure, like the beta blockers and the water pills the diuretics are associated with, or are shown to raise uric acid levels.  – 58:22
  • Part of your book Drop Acid is something called the LUV L-U-V Lower Uric Values diet, which I wanted to run a through a couple things with you there. Mostly plant based foods, but you know that grass fed meat has all sorts of benefits.  – 1:02:44

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