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Water intake affects uric acid excretion

I was interested to read Tina Hawkins’s article on the treatment and prevention of gout (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2014;293:182) and would like to add a point about water intake. If excess uric acid is excreted by the kidneys, then presumably an adequate water intake and hence urine production is helpful to this process (assuming adequate renal function). When the kidneys are routinely required to produce a low volume, concentrated urine, then total uric acid excretion is likely to be reduced. Lots of men and women fail to consume enough water (through food or directly) for perfectly understandable reasons. Salty food makes the problem worse.

Our physiological thirst mechanism is actually a blunt instrument for telling us our state of hydration. The trick is to ensure that one’s urine is a pale straw or wood colour (easier I know for men than women). If it is normally rather dark then your water intake is inadequate. A further benefit of applying this rule of thumb is a reduced chance of kidney stones.

Brian Curwain

Christchurch, Dorset

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066462

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