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Weight loss and uric acid in Japan


Clinical bottom line

Weight loss in overweight Japanese men and women resulted in substantial reduction in uric acid.


S Yamashita et al. Studies on the impaired metabolism of uric acid in obese subjects: marked reduction of renal urate excretion and its improvement by a low-calorie diet. International Journal of Obesity 1986 10: 255-264.


This was a prospective study of calorie restriction in 11 overweight Japanese men and 16 overweight Japanese women. Men were initially 38% to 138% above ideal body weight with uric acid levels of 6.6 to 12.6 mg/100 mL. Women were initially 38% to 100% above ideal body weight with uric acid levels of 4.9 to 11 mg/100 mL. The mean age was 35 years (range 15 to 70 years)

All were treated in hospital to ensure adherence to the diet. An initial calorie intake of 1500 kcal/day was reduced over four weeks to 800 calories a day, with additional exercise when calorie restriction alone failed to reduce weight significantly on a week-on-week basis. Treatment was from four to 14 weeks (average 9 weeks).

There was also an age and sex matched control group with normal body weight (80-120% of ideal).


Serum uric acid levels were significantly elevated in overweight subjects compared with normal weight. The average was about 5 mg/100 mL (295 µmol/L) for normal weight men and women, compared with 545 µmol/L in overweight men and 400 µmol/L in overweight women.

At discharge, men had fallen from an average of 175% to 155% of ideal body weight, and women from 169% to 147% of ideal body weight, a weight loss of 12% of initial.

At discharge, uric acid levels had fallen to an average of 7.4 mg/100 mL (437 µmol/L) in men and 5.5 mg/100 mL (325 µmol/L) in women, an average reduction of about 20% of initial.


Another example, in another population, that both links excess weight to high levels of uric acid, and loss of weight to substantial reduction in uric acid levels.