Purines and Gout and Our Joints

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Purines and GoutGout is a condition of the joints and nearby tissues. The iconic feature is extreme swelling with great pain. Until recently, gout was considered a wealthy man’s disease.

The development of gout is not bacterial or viral. Rather, it is a matter of body chemistry. Diet is the most controllable factor. Purines and gout were associated with consuming an abundance of rich food. That food included oysters, red meat, and strong brew.

Purines and Gout

Was an attack on diet a valid call? Somewhat. Gout pain and swelling arises from needle-like crystal deposits. Chemically, these crystals are the hydrated sodium salt of uric acid. Now red meat is rich in purines (we’re not changing the subject). Compare the ring structures of purine and of uric acid. Very similar, no? They are traditional focal points in understanding gouty arthritis.

It should come as no surprise that uric acid differs from purine in its oxygen content. Gasoline burns to yield its energy and oxygen-containing waste products. Coal does similarly. Food, though it contains nutrients primarily is fuel for the body. The air we breathe enables it to release its energy and metabolites (oxygen containing waste products).

Purines and Gout

Crystal Deposition

Gout or gouty arthritis results when needle-like crystals of the hydrated monosodium salt of uric acid deposit in joints and soft tissues. Is uric acid unique to gout sufferers? No, it is not. Uric acid is a metabolic waste product dissolved in the bloodstream of all persons.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) provides an abstract that succinctly outlines the chemistry of gout. The complete article is entitled, “The Crystallization of Monosodium Urate.” The authors are Martillo, Nazzal, and Crittenden.

Purines and Gout

Causative Factors

Diet is by no means the sole factor that distinguishes the gout sufferer from the non-sufferer. Gout results from a buildup of uric acid in the body. The production of excess uric acid may not be the cause of the problem. It appears a more serious factor is the inability to excrete uric acid to a normal, sufficient degree.

Other factors favoring gouty arthritis include genetics, joint trauma, overweight, and insulin resistance. Consuming alcohol, especially purine-rich beer, is an important contributor.

Purines and Gout

Note: You might also enjoy Why Do My Fingernails Split Down the Middle?


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