2014 Volume 37 Issue 5 Pages 709-721
Purines are natural substances found in all of the body’s cells and in virtually all foods. In humans, purines are metabolized to uric acid, which serves as an antioxidant and helps to prevent damage caused by active oxygen species. A continuous supply of uric acid is important for protecting human blood vessels. However, frequent and high intake of purine-rich foods reportedly enhances serum uric acid levels, which results in gout and could be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and metabolic syndrome. In Japan, the daily intake of dietary purines is recommended to be less than 400 mg to prevent gout and hyperuricemia. We have established an HPLC method for purine analysis and determined purines in a total of 270 foodstuffs. A relatively small number of foods contained concentrated amounts of purines. For the most part, purine-rich foods are also energy-rich foods, and include animal meats, fish meats, organs such as the liver and fish milt, and yeast. When the ratio of the four purine bases (adenine, guanine, hypoxanthine, and xanthine) was compared, two groups of foods were identified: one that contained mainly adenine and guanine and one that contained mainly hypoxanthine. For patients with gout and hyperuricemia, the amount of total purines and the types of purines consumed, particularly hypoxanthine, are important considerations. In this context, the data from our analysis provide a purine content reference, and thereby clinicians and patients could utilize that reference in nutritional therapy for gout and hyperuricemia.