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Weight loss and uric acid


Clinical bottom line

Loss of weight in overweight subjects with and without gout resulted in a fall in serum uric acid.


A Nicholls & JT Scott. Effect of weight-loss on plasma and urinary levels of uric acid. Lancet 1972 2: 1223-1224.


This study was a prospective observational study of the effect of weight loss on fifteen overweight subjects, six of whom also had gout. Their mean age was 51 years (21 to 75 years), and they were initially between 16% and 70% above their ideal body weight.

The diet was a low purine (less than 200 mg purines per day) alcohol free diet for one week, followed by a low carbohydrate diet. After adequate weight loss had been achieved, the low purine diet was reinstated for one week. Before and after blood and urine samples were taken in the last three days of the low purine diets.


Weight loss averaged 8 kg (4 to 22 kg). Plasma uric acid fell in 12/15 subjects, from a mean of 7 mg/100 mL (415 µmol/L) to 6.2 mg/100 mL (367 µmol/L). There was a significant correlation between loss of weight and reduced uric acid, with higher weight reduction resulting in lower uric acid.


Not a randomised trial, but showing that the epidemiological relationship between higher uric acid levels with higher weight can be translated into lower uric acid levels if excess weight is lost, at least in the majority.