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Uric acid linked to type 2 diabetes mellitus

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By David Liu, PHD

Friday Nov 23, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Uric acid is known to be associated with gout. A new study in Journal of Nutrition has confirmed an early finding that suggests that having a high serum level of uric acid may increase risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.  

I. Sluijs of University Medical Center Utrecht in Utrecht, The Netherlands and colleagues found the association between serum uric acid and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus after conducting a case-control study based on data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands study.

The study involved 2318 subcohort members and 845 incidence diabetes mellitus cases who were followed on average for 10 years.  For the study, dietary information was surveyed through a validated food frequency questionnaire and blood samples were drawn at baseline for the measurement of uric acid.

In the subcohort, the mean plasma level of uric acid was 231 ± 54.6 μmol/L. After adjustment for established diabetes risk factors such as age, those in the highest quartile of uric acid were more than 4 times as likely as those in the lowest quartile to develop type 2 diabetes mellitus.

After further adjustment for adiposity, the increase in the diabetes mellitus risk was down to 86 percent higher in those who were in the highest quartile of uric acid, compared  to those in the lowest quartile.

After additional adjustment for hypertension or high blood pressure, and biochemical markers, such as triglycerides, those in the highest quartile of uric acid were still at 43 percent increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, compared with those in the lowest quartile.

The researchers concluded "this study supports that high uric acid concentrations are associated with increased diabetes risk, although a large part of the association can be explained by the degree of adiposity."

High intake of fructose is one of the reasons people have high serum levels of uric acid.

Dr. Manal Abdelmalek from Duke University Medical Center and colleagues published a study in the September issue of Hepatology saying that obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who consume higher amounts of fructose can impair liver “energy balance because intake of fructose can deplete ATP.

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