Dairy and Uric Acid For PD

Uric Acid: A Parkinson’s view on Dairy

Milk and Uric Acid

I love cheese. And ice cream? Adore it. But I’m limiting how much dairy I eat these days. And for my friends with Parkinson’s, I’m asking them to try to eliminate it entirely. The reason is Uric acid, and this article in intended to share with you why.

What, no dairy?

Blasphemy, you say! How could you possibly give up the creamy goodness of Greek yogurt? And how will you drink your coffee without cream? Or enjoy a pizza? If you’re not lactose intolerant, why on earth would you give up butter?

Reason #1: Chemicals!

There are two reasons to consider giving up dairy. The first has to do with the chemicals in dairy products. Most dairy products are loaded with pesticides and herbicides[1–8].

When cows eat grass or vegetation that have pesticides or herbicides on them, the chemicals go into their fat. Because dairy is how a mama cow feeds a baby cow, the mama is concentrating nutrients into the milk. Thus, the pesticides can go into milk in higher concentrations than other tissues. We’ve known that this is an issue since the 1960s, but there isn’t a good way to fix it [9].When cows eat grass or vegetation that have pesticides or herbicides on them, the chemicals go into their fat. Because dairy is how a mama cow feeds a baby cow, the mama is concentrating nutrients into the milk. Thus, the pesticides can go into milk in higher concentrations than other tissues. We’ve known that this is an issue since the 1960s, but there isn’t a good way to fix it [9].

Organic Dairy: doesn’t cover cow chow!

What about organic dairy? Yes, organic dairy is better. However, organic doesn’t mean that there are no pesticides in “cow-chow” – only that certain chemicals are not used. So by all means, if you’re going to eat dairy, go for organic. However, don’t believe that organic means 100% pure.What about organic dairy? Yes, organic dairy is better. However, organic doesn’t mean that there are no pesticides in “cow-chow” – only that certain chemicals are not used. So by all means, if you’re going to eat dairy, go for organic. However, don’t believe that organic means 100% pure.

Reason #2: Uric acid

The other reason for people with Parkinson’s eliminating dairy has to do with the impact of dairy on human physiology, and revolves around a compound called uric acid (sometimes called urate).

Your body makes uric acid when you eat particular foods, especially meats like anchovies, sardines, liver, kidneys, herring, mackerel, and scallops. Other foods that lead to the production of uric acid (but a little less) include beef, pork, poultry, fish, seafood, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, lentils, beans, oatmeal, and wheat bran.

Uric acid is one of those enzymes in the body that we don’t hear about very much, but it’s really important. Uric acid is one of the most potent antioxidants in the blood. When you eat protein, uric acid breaks it down to uric acid, and then secretes it into the urine. Uric acid – urine. Get it?

Keeping Uric Acid in balance

Ideally, your body wants to keep uric acid in balance – not too much, not too little. If you make too much uric acid, you can develop a painful form of arthritis called gout. Likewise, too much uric acid in the blood can result in kidney stones (although this isn’t the only way kidney stones form).

Uric acid is a hot topic in the Parkinson’s community. Many studies have shown that people with Parkinson’s have lower uric acid levels than other people[10–18]. Furthermore, some studies show that the lower the uric acid level, the more that Parkinson’s has progressed. This is a correlation, which means we don’t know if there’s a causal relationship. However, it has made many scientists sit up and take notice. Since uric acid is an antioxidant, and we know that oxidative stress is one of the mechanism’s that damages the brain, it makes sense that if someone has low uric acid, they would have more neuroinflammation.

What does this have to do with dairy?

There are a few foods that break down uric acid. As you’ve guessed by now, dairy is one of them. Dairy can break down uric acid. In fact, for people with gout (who have excess uric acid), dairy is recommended [19,20].

Dairy contains something called ‘orotic’ that helps the kidneys remove uric acid. And it happens fast! Within 3 hours of consuming of dairy, we see the decrease of uric acid.

Dairy isn’t the only thing that decreases uric acid. Cherries and pineapple can do it too [21,22] It’s just that most people eat much more dairy than they do cherries or pineapple.Cherries and Pineapples - decrease Uric acid

Too much, too little?

If uric acid is so protective for Parkinson’s, you’d think we’d develop a drug that contains it. And sure enough, there are already drugs that increase uric acid as a side-effect. New drugs are being developed specifically for people with Parkinson’s as well and are in clinical trials. Remember, too much uric acid is also not a good thing, so these drugs are tricky.

Use your diet!

In the meantime, you can increase your natural levels of uric acid with your diet. One study suggests that people on vegan diets have the highest level of uric acid in their blood[23]. If you don’t want to make such an extreme change to your diet, simply decrease (eliminate) dairy consumption. If you think you can’t go cold turkey, try limiting your dairy consumption to 4 oz a day or less.

I know it won’t be easy. Like I said, I’m doing this too, and I simply love sour cream on my tacos. But when I weigh the risks and benefits, the dairy has to go. Believe it or not, there are dairy-free sour creams out there – some made of cashews. I’m willing to experiment. Are you?

References

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  2. Sifuentes Dos Santos J, Schwanz TG, Coelho AN, et al. Estimated daily intake of organochlorine pesticides from dairy products in Brazil. Food Control. 2015;53:23-28. doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2014.12.014.
  3. Salem NM, Ahmad R, Estaitieh H. Organochlorine pesticide residues in dairy products in Jordan. Chemosphere. 2009;77(5):673-678. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.07.045.
  4. Darko G, Acquaah SO. Levels of organochlorine pesticides residues in dairy products in Kumasi, Ghana. Chemosphere. 2008;71(2):294-298. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.09.005.
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  6. Li CF, Bradley RL. J, Schultz LH. Fate of organochlorine pesticides during processing of milk into dairy products. J Assoc Off Anal Chem. 1970;53(1):127-139. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19700402605. Accessed March 24, 2017.
  7. Fontcuberta M, Arqués JF, Villalbí JR, et al. Chlorinated organic pesticides in marketed food: Barcelona, 2001-06. Sci Total Environ. 2008;389(1):52-57. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.08.043.
  8. Boada LD, Sangil M, Álvarez-León EE, et al. Consumption of foods of animal origin as determinant of contamination by organochlorine pesticides and polychlorobiphenyls: Results from a population-based study in Spain. Chemosphere. 2014;114:121-128. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.03.126.
  9. Heineman HEO, Jaynes HO, Heflin JL. Pesticides—A Dairy Industry Problem. J Dairy Sci. 1966;49(5):509-516. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(66)87906-7.
  10. Sakuta H, Suzuki K, Miyamoto T, et al. Serum uric acid levels in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. Brain Behav. 2017;7(1):e00598. doi:10.1002/brb3.598.
  11. Lolekha P, Wongwan P, Kulkantrakorn K. Association between serum uric acid and motor subtypes of Parkinson’s disease. J Clin Neurosci. 2015;22(8):1264-1267. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2015.02.015.
  12. Huertas I, Jesús S, Lojo JA, et al. Lower levels of uric acid and striatal dopamine in non-tremor dominant Parkinson’s disease subtype. PLoS One. 2017;12(3):e0174644. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0174644.
  13. Sakuta H, Suzuki K, Miyamoto T, et al. Serum uric acid levels in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. Brain Behav. 2017;7(1):e00598. doi:10.1002/brb3.598.
  14. Hu W-D, Chen J, Mao C-J, et al. Elevated Cystatin C Levels Are Associated with Cognitive Impairment and Progression of Parkinson Disease. Cogn Behav Neurol. 2016;29(3):144-149. doi:10.1097/WNN.0000000000000100.
  15. Delgado-Alvarado M, Gago B, Navalpotro-Gomez I, Jiménez-Urbieta H, Rodriguez-Oroz MC. Biomarkers for dementia and mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2016;31(6):861-881. doi:10.1002/mds.26662.
  16. Gao X, Chen H, Choi HK, Curhan G, Schwarzschild MA, Ascherio A. Diet, urate, and Parkinson’s disease risk in men. Am J Epidemiol. 2008;167(7):831-838. doi:10.1093/aje/kwm385.
  17. Schwarzschild MA, Marek K, Eberly S, et al. Serum urate and probability of dopaminergic deficit in early "Parkinson’s disease". Mov Disord. 2011;26(10):1864-1868. doi:10.1002/mds.23741.
  18. McFarland NR, Burdett T, Desjardins CA, Frosch MP, Schwarzschild MA. Postmortem brain levels of urate and precursors in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. Neurodegener Dis. 2013;12(4):189-198. doi:10.1159/000346370.
  19. Garrel DR, Verdy M, PetitClerc C, Martin C, Brulé D, Hamet P. Milk- and soy-protein ingestion: acute effect on serum uric acid concentration. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;53(3):665-669. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2000819. Accessed May 7, 2017.
  20. Choi HK, Atkinson K, Karlson EW, Willett W, Curhan G. Purine-Rich Foods, Dairy and Protein Intake, and the Risk of Gout in Men. N Engl J Med. 2004;350(11):1093-1103. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa035700.
  21. Jacob RA, Spinozzi GM, Simon VA, et al. Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women. J Nutr. 2003;133(6):1826-1829. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12771324. Accessed May 6, 2017.
  22. Zhang Y, Neogi T, Chen C, Chaisson C, Hunter DJ, Choi HK. Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. Arthritis Rheum. 2012;64(12):4004-4011. doi:10.1002/art.34677.
  23. Schmidt JA, Crowe FL, Appleby PN, Key TJ, Travis RC. Serum Uric Acid Concentrations in Meat Eaters, Fish Eaters, Vegetarians and Vegans: A Cross-Sectional Analysis in the EPIC-Oxford Cohort. Gorlova OY, ed. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56339. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056339.

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