High serum uric acid may prevent fractures

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Higher levels of serum uric acid (UA) may lower the risk for fracture, according to a study published in the journal Osteoporosis International.

Researchers conducted a systemic review and meta-analysis of 5 prospective (n=29,110) studies identified after a search on PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases.

A random-effect model of all 5 studies showed a pooled HR of 0.79 (95% CI, 0.69-0.89) for higher UA and fractures. Pooled analysis of 3 high-quality studies showed a similar result (HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.69-0.93). In a sub-group analysis by types of fracture, population settings, and treatment with osteoporosis medications, the results remained similar to those in the primary analysis.

Although hyperuricaemia is a known risk factor for various conditions including diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, emerging evidence suggests a contrasting role of UA in health. It is believed that UA being a strong endogenous antioxidant may prevent cellular oxidative damage.

"We do not suggest deliberately increasing serum UA levels for risk reduction; however, serum UA can be possibly considered as a marker in addition to other established biomarkers for evaluating a patient’s fracture risk," the authors said.

The authors call for further large, high-quality prospective studies or a meta-analysis of individual data to strengthen the association.