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Purines

Purines are amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. The two purines important in proteins in the body are guanine and adenine.

Some foods contain high amounts of purines, including:

  • Organ meats, such as liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, and brains.
  • Meats, including bacon, beef, pork, and lamb, and game meats such as deer or elk.
  • Anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, and scallops.
  • Gravy.
  • Legumes, such as dried beans and dried peas.
  • Beer.

Purines in food are broken down into uric acid. High levels of uric acid in the blood sometimes cause the deposit of uric acid crystals in a joint, such as a toe joint, or the ankle or knee. This condition is called gout and results in episodes of sharp pain in the affected joint.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerNancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Last RevisedJune 12, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.