Allopurinol, which is used to lower uric acid levels to counteract gout, may also reduce BP that has been raised by a diet high in fructose, the only common sugar currently known to increase uric acid levels.

Richard Johnson, MD, head of the renal diseases and hypertension division at the University of Colorado Denver, says his pilot study offers “the first evidence of a role for fructose in raising BP and a role for lowering uric acid to protect against that BP increase in people.” Dr. Johnson presented his findings in September at the American Heart Association (AHA) 63rd High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Chicago.

The study evaluated 74 men (average age, 51 years) who consumed 200 g of fructose per day in addition to their regular diet. Most U.S. adults ingest only 50-70 g of fructose per day. Half the group also received allopurinol.

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According to an AHA statement, after only two weeks, the placebo group experienced significant average increases in BP of approximately 6 mm Hg systolic and 3 mm Hg diastolic. In contrast, the allopurinol group exhibited significantly lower uric acid levels and only a minimal increase in systolic BP (1 mm Hg). In most instances, BP returned to normal within two months after the men resumed their customary diets.