Wearable sweat sensor detects gout-causing compounds

Date:November 25, 2019

Source: California Institute of Technology

Summary: Scientists have developed an easier way to mass-produce highly sensitive sweat sensors that can detect a variety of low-concentration compounds related to health conditions.

There are numerous things to dislike about going to the doctor: Paying a copay, sitting in the waiting room, out-of-date magazines, sick people coughing without covering their mouths. For many, though, the worst thing about a doctor’s visit is getting stuck with a needle. Blood tests are a tried-and-true way of evaluating what is going on with your body, but the discomfort is unavoidable. Or maybe not, say Caltech scientists.

Continue reading “Wearable sweat sensor detects gout-causing compounds”

Is Uric Acid Good or Bad?

Purines perform multiple important functions within our cells, including regulating energy metabolism and signaling the energy conversion from one to another.  Purines are essentially the building blocks for all living things as a necessity for the growth, proliferation and survival of all cells.  The two purine bases, adenine and guanine, create bonds that form the DNA ladder. Humans breakdown purines and convert them into uric acid.

Uric acid happens to be a potent DNA protector.  All other mammals possess an enzyme known as uricase.  Uricase converts uric acid into allantoin, which can easily travel through the bloodstream and readily eliminated through the urine.  Humans do not possess this enzyme, therefore, we cannot oxidize uric acid into the more soluble compound of allantoin.  Our liver and kidneys are left to do the all-important jobs of purine breakdown and uric acid disposal, conducted respectively.

Blood serum uric acid levels are determined by two components:

  • uric acid synthesis
  • uric acid excretion

Synthesis takes place in the liver as a result of the breakdown of purines.  Purine levels are mostly determined by what is naturally produced by the body, with approximately the other 30% absorbed from the food we eat.  The second component, uric acid excretion, is determined by the rate at which the kidneys are able dispose of the excess.  According to a study conducted by Hyon K. Choi in 2005, about 90% of hyperuricemia is attributed to impaired renal excretion.

As we mentioned above, uric acid is a potent antioxidant and DNA protector.  Could this be why only 10% of the uric acid that enters a normal human kidney is disposed of?  Would it be safe to assume the other 90% that is reclaimed and sent back into the bloodstream is done so for our bodies to utilize its powerful antioxidant and free radical neutralizing powers? 

According to science…..

Uric acid is responsible for the neutralization of over 50% of the free radicals in our bloodstream.  Considering humans and primates are unable to naturally produce Vitamin C, we may have inherited the ability to utilize uric acid.  Uric acid remains extremely controversial and difficult to manage.  On one hand, uric acid protects high-oxygen tissues (like the brain) from damage and has been shown to increase the risks of several neurological disorders in the presence of sub-par levels.  On the other hand, high-serum uric acid levels are inversely associated with the severity of several diseases, especially the state of cardiovascular diseases.

Is there a balance?

Yes, although the course(s) of action to achieve this balance may be equally as complex, as well as individually determined.  As a former Gout sufferer, I naturally ventured down the path of reducing my purine intake by focusing on my diet.  Once I understood a bit more about the roles of purines and uric acid I was able to conclude that this path was not going lead me to success. 

I asked myself the following questions:

  1. If only 30% of the purines in my body come directly from food, then will a low-purine diet do anything to help with the main 70% of my production?
  2. Do I have any control over the other 70% that occurs naturally in my body?
  3. Am I doing anything to directly contribute to higher purine production aside from the food I eat?
  4. If the food I eat is low-purine, but still unhealthy, does that have any impact on the amount my body is naturally producing?

The last question truly gave me pause.  If the natural purine production stems from normal DNA and RNA turnover, were there things I was doing to my body to cause my cells to die and turnover faster than usual? 

This brought me to another series of questions, ones I believe to be more relevant to my cause:

  1. Do my medications and over-the-counter drugs contributing to faster cell death?
  2. Was I hydrated enough?  Cellular dehydration is extremely common and definitely causes cellular turnover.
  3. Did my slightly overweight body and lack of exercise have anything to do with the health of my cells?
  4. Was my rather heavy alcohol consumption a bigger problem than just the purines alone?  Does it affect my cells, too? 
  5. Did my high stress life contribute to faster cellular death?
  6. Does my sweet tooth and sugar intake affect my cells and uric acid production?
  7. If my body can’t naturally produce certain vitamins and antioxidants, could I help my body by supplying enough in my diet and supplementation in hopes of my kidneys not reclaiming as much uric acid to help in their absence?

Looking ahead….

These are some really important questions that opened my eyes to a whole new approach and a whole new outlook on the importance of taking better care of myself.  These questions initially targeted my efforts to gauge my cellular health (or lack thereof), but also really put my kidney and liver health into question. Many of us unknowingly damage the health of our cells, furthering excess uric acid production. In doing so, we are also placing unnecessary strain on the very organs we need to help us rid of the excess uric acid.  What a conundrum!

These epiphanies led me to better health, elimination of my medications (blood pressure, cholesterol, and Gout), correction of my glucose levels, secured my beliefs in the right all natural remedies, led to my blog, and changed my life! It doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture and you will find there is a lot of common sense in play here, and even more common sense solutions.  Take it slow, one adjustment at a time for attainable goals.  This site offers a series of articles to highlight a bit more on the specifics regarding stress, hydration, diet, and much more

Here’s to your Gout and Inflammation free 2020 and beyond!

Gout and Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) limits the amount of waste filtration your body is capable of processing. Uric acid is not seen as a foreign matter to the body, therefore is usually last to be dealt with from a toxin filtering standpoint. This can allow for uric acid build-up, and, in turn, the increased likelihood of developing Gout. The medications used to treat kidney disease have also been associated with drug-induced cases of Gout. Diuretics and beta blockers are typically used for kidney disease induced high blood pressure and are well known to contribute to Gout development.

There is enough scientific research to confirm that kidney disease can cause Gout. How about the opposite? Can Gout lead to kidney disease? The chicken or the egg? Uric acid is filtered through the kidneys, an undeniable relation to both diseases. While this connection may be less established, the evidence is certainly present. Each condition is well-equipped to feed the other.

Continue reading “Gout and Kidney Disease”

INFLAMMATION: WHEN A GOOD THING GOES BAD

Inflammation is a natural, thriving mechanism of the immune system. Acute inflammatory response is a way to fire at and ward off disease and infection, as well as to fuel cellular regeneration. We all require a healthy measure of inflammation in order to survive. What happens when the body feels as though it is constantly under an attack of some sort? What if the inflammatory response persists and you are plagued with an incessant slow burning fire inside of you? This is precisely when a good thing, goes bad.

The body is amazingly resilient, but relies solely upon communication between the major systems within the body (the endocrine, digestive, respiratory/cardiovascular, and the central nervous system) in order to function and heal properly. When chronic inflammation is present, these systems can no longer communicate, and disease is

Continue reading “INFLAMMATION: WHEN A GOOD THING GOES BAD”

Gout and Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones (renal calculi) are formed as a result of a buildup of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys. Once they make their way into the urinary tract severe pain in the groin, stomach, or flank area can ensue. A decrease in urination coupled with a large amount of stone-forming substances can cause these types of stones to appear. These stones can be formed by the mixture of calcium with oxalate or phosphate; and/or the combination of uric acid and amino acid cysteine.

Much like Gout, Kidney stones are being diagnosed more and more in recent years. The same type of stones can develop in the bladder as well, but are much more uncommon and have remained relatively low and unchanged by comparison. Over the span of almost 30 years, the Mayo Clinic observed a significant rise in the incidences of kidney stones; particularly in adult women. With more accurate CT scans our ability to monitor and diagnose stones are partly behind a good portion of this rise in cases, but also goes hand in hand with the rise in Obesity and Diabetes Type 2. Diets high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt have been to blame for stones and this type of diet certainly fits the profile for all of these conditions.

Continue reading “Gout and Kidney Stones”

The Gallbladder: Facts and Myths

What is a Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomies are one of the most over performed surgeries in the United States, and far too often, completely uncalled-for. Even in the presence of gallstones, one should always consider alternatives before rushing under the knife. The gallbladder is an essential organ responsible for collecting and storing bile in order to process and digest fats. To say that it can just be removed without consequence, is rather reckless. Aside from a number of potential dangers and complications stemming from its removal, weight problems and diabetes type two risks rise significantly.

Gallbladder attacks are often a sign of much larger problems, problems that do not simply disappear only once a small piece of that puzzle is removed. Our typical desire for instant gratification, coupled with the misconstrued notion that the gall bladder is an unnecessary organ, has led to an alarming number of these senseless surgeries.

Continue reading “The Gallbladder: Facts and Myths”

Understanding Uric Acid

Uric Acid

Purines perform multiple important functions within our cells, including regulating energy metabolism and signaling the energy conversion from one to another.  Purines are essentially the building blocks for all living things as a necessity for the growth, proliferation and survival of all cells.  The two purine bases, adenine and guanine, create bonds that form the DNA ladder. Humans breakdown purines and convert them into uric acid.

Uric acid happens to be a potent DNA protector.  All other mammals possess an enzyme known as uricase.  Uricase converts uric acid into allantoin, which can easily travel through the bloodstream and readily eliminated through the urine.  Humans do not possess this enzyme, therefore, we cannot oxidize uric acid into the more soluble compound of allantoin.  Our liver and kidneys are left to do the all-important jobs of purine breakdown and uric acid disposal, conducted respectively.

Continue reading “Understanding Uric Acid”

What is CRP and what does it have to do with your health?

What is CRP?

CRP stands for C-reactive protein.  This protein is produced by the liver in response to elements released from certain white blood cells known as macrophages; as well as elements released from fat cells (adipocytes.)  CRP levels rise in the presence of inflammation and take on a role to bind with chemical compounds that are released on the surface of a dying or dead cell.  This process is part of an immune system response to enhance the ability of antibodies and bacteria/pathogen eating cells (phagocytic cells) to eliminate damaged cells from the body.  Certain chronic inflammatory conditions cause the release of IL-6 (interleukin-6) that trigger the release of CRP.  IL-6 is a type of immune protein in the family of cytokines that can act as both an anti-inflammatory and a pro-inflammatory. As discussed in previous blog posts, inflammation is a normal body process necessary for our body’s response to fight infection and injury.  It is a natural part of our immune system’s ability to send white blood cells and other chemical compounds to a trouble area of the body in an effort to help it heal.  However, in the presence of chronic conditions such as Arthritis, Colitis, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Gout, Heart Disease, Asthma, Diabetes, and more – the constant “fire” of inflammation can be disastrous, even deadly. Continue reading “What is CRP and what does it have to do with your health?”

Fructose and Uric Acid Metabolism

Sugar intake has risen dramatically over the last century which seems to correlate closely with the rise in obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.  Simple sugars include both glucose and fructose.  While glucose is generally utilized by the body for energy production, fructose is known to produce high amounts of harmful substances.  Added sugars to our food sources mostly stem from fructose, and fructose metabolism can cause some pretty significant damage.  Fructose can actually deplete our energy sources, cause death to our cells, stimulate fat making enzymes, and produce excess uric acid.

Studies on rats have shown fructose intake to instigate all markers of metabolic syndrome – increased waistline, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, lipid abnormalities, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.    These studies have also shown high fructose intake to stimulate free radicals, weaken the arteries, create a fatty liver, and cause kidney damage.  Continue reading “Fructose and Uric Acid Metabolism”

Electrolyte imbalances, Inflammation, and Disease

As we know, inflammation is the major underlying factor behind chronic, degenerative diseases.  The body’s cells work very hard to maintain pH balance in the body.  Our typical American diet and lifestyle is largely acidic and makes this process extremely difficult. 

When overly acidic imbalances are present in the body, the cellular health is compromised.  Decreased cellular oxygen levels and metabolic declines cause cells to ‘die off’ at a rapid rate.  As acidic residues increase, the body attempts to buffer these acids with alkaline minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) in order to excrete them from the body.  In the presence of such acidic diets and lifestyles, this buffering system can easily reach maximum capability, quickly leading to acidic waste storage in the tissues.

Cells require very specific ion balance.  Electrolytes must be maintained within specific limits to balance the pH of the body’s environment.  Even the slightest acid increases can quickly lead to inflammation of the organs and tissues. Continue reading “Electrolyte imbalances, Inflammation, and Disease”