HealthDay News — Diet explains little of the variation in serum urate levels in the general population, while genetic factors make a greater contribution, according to a meta-analysis published online Oct. 10 in The BMJ.

Tanya J. Major, Ph.D., from the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of cross-sectional data to assess the relative contributions of diet pattern and inherited genetic variants to population variance in serum urate levels. Data were included from five cohort studies with 16,760 individuals of European ancestry.

The researchers found that in the male, female, or full cohorts, seven foods were associated with elevated serum urate levels (beer, liquor, wine, potato, poultry, soft drinks, and meat) and eight were associated with reduced serum urate levels (eggs, peanuts, cold cereal, skim milk, cheese, brown bread, margarine, and non-citrus fruits). There were inverse associations between three diet scores constructed based on healthy diet guidelines and serum urate levels. A fourth score, data-driven diet pattern, was positively associated with elevated serum urate levels; each accounted for ≤0.3 percent of the variance in serum urate. Common, genome-wide single nucleotide variation accounted for 23.9 percent of the variance in serum urate levels.

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“Our results challenge widely held community perceptions that hyperuricemia is primarily caused by diet, showing that genetic variants have a much greater contribution to hyperuricemia in the general population than dietary exposure,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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