Lowering Uric Acid Levels

Q Can potassium bicarbonate reduce uric acid levels in blood?

ERIK, Pine Island, MN

A Excessive uric acid serum levels can lead to a type of arthritis known as gout. Other morbidities for which a continuous high level is a risk factor include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and uric stone formation. While dietary measures can help control high levels of uric acid, potassium bicarbonate or potassium citrate may also be helpful due to their alkalization properties.

Regarding uric acid stones, their formation is thought to be dependent on three factors: 1) acid urine pH, 2) low urine volume, and 3) hyperuricosuria (excessive amounts of uric acid in the urine). Of these, the most important factor for stone formation and growth is acidic urine.

In a recent study, the use of potassium citrate/potassium bicarbonate was found effective to dissolve existing uric acid stones.1 After 6 weeks, 3 of 8 subjects had their stones completely dissolved. In the other 5 subjects, partial dissolution was observed, and in 2 of them complete dissolution was achieved after prolongation of the treatment for 4 and 6 months, respectively. The amount of potassium bicarbonate was 2 g and the amount of potassium citrate was 4 g. The combined amount (6 g) was divided in half and given twice daily. Potassium bicarbonate would probably do as well by itself.

  1. Trinchieri A, Esposito N, Castelnuovo C. Dissolution of radiolucent renal stones by oral alkalinization with potassium citrate/potassium bicarbonate. Arch Ital Urol Androl 2009 Sep;81(3):188-91.

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