Uric acid is a natural substance that forms in our bodies as a byproduct of the breakdown of certain compounds called purines. Purines are found in many foods we consume such as beer and meat, as well as in our own cells.
When purines are broken down, uric acid is produced and normally dissolves in the blood and gets filtered out by the kidneys, eventually leaving the body through urine. However, sometimes the body produces too much uric acid or the kidneys have difficulty removing it efficiently, leading to a buildup of uric acid in the blood. This condition is known as hyperuricemia.
High levels of uric acid in the blood can potentially lead to the formation of crystals in joints and tissues, causing a condition called gout. Gout is characterized by sudden and severe joint pain, redness, swelling, and inflammation. It most commonly affects the joints in the big toe, but it can also affect other joints like the ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows.
Low levels of uric acid are associated with Parkinson's and acute CNS viral infections.