Gout is a condition usually caused by having too much uric acid in the body and the deposition of monosodium urate crystals in tissues. Too much uric acid may not cause gout symptoms for years, but after a time it can cause painful joint inflammation and it is more common in men. The problem is often not with the amount of uric acid produced by the body, but the fact that the body cannot excrete it well.
Gout is more common in those who overeat. The risk is lower in those who are more physically active, maintain ideal body weight and consume diets enriched in fruits and vegetables and limited in meat and alcohol. Basically, gout is the result of either increased synthesis of uric acid; reduced ability to excrete uric acid; or both over production and under excretion.
The joints involved
The most common site of inflammation is the joint between the foot and the big toe. Later attacks often affect other joints of the foot and leg. Less often, the arms and hands are affected. Uric acid crystals are deposited in joints, tendons, kidneys, and other tissues, where they cause considerable inflammation and damage.
The reason that the joints of the extremities are more effected is probably because they are colder and uric acid crystals are more likely to deposit at lower temperatures. However, it has been shown that after a hot shower, turning the water to cold before coming out of the shower can help to reduce uric acid levels.
Although the kidneys usually maintain uric acid at healthy levels, there are times when they are unable to do this, with the result that excess uric acid is retained in, and circulates in, the blood.
Two of the main causes for high uric acid levels in blood are:
The kidneys are not working to their full potential so that they are unable to process and expel sufficient uric acid quickly enough
There is too much uric acid being produced by the metabolizing purines for healthy kidneys to process.
Whatever is the case, the result is high uric acid in the blood. Frequently recurring gout can lead to many health issues, such as permanent serious joint damage and kidney problems like painful kidney stones. It is almost certain that unless the diet is changed recurring gout will be the result.
Most people who have gout are middle aged men, but this joint inflammation can occur at any age. Only 5 to 10% of cases occur in women, most often after menopause. Men who lose 10 pounds or more in weight can reduce the risk.
Causes of gout
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
Obesity with excessive weight around the abdomen
Psoriasis which is a skin condition
NOTE: If hypothyroidism is the cause one should avoid the following foods: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cassava, cauliflower, flaxseeds, kale, kelp, lima beans, millet, mustard greens, peanuts, peaches, pine nuts, plums, prunes, soybeans, spinach, strawberries, sweet potato, Swedes and turnips.
Many processed products such as soy sauce, energy bars and chocolate contain soybean oil (soy lecithin) and should also be avoided.
What to avoid to recover from gout
A decrease in purines will lower uric acid levels and purines are formed more during digestion of the following:
List of all foods to avoid to recover from gout
The gout triggering effect of alcohol occurs within a short period of time, perhaps less than 24 hours. Beer is more likely to be associated with gout than spirits. Moderate wine consumption (2 glasses per day) does not appear to raise the risk. Of all the dietary factors listed above, shellfish and beer are the most likely to cause this condition.
A high fructose diet is also a factor in gout and intake of added sugars or sugar sweetened drinks leads to higher blood levels of uric acid. See the Dangers of Sugar page.
Drugs that can cause gout include
Cyclosporine (an immune suppressing drug)
Cytotoxic (chemotherapy drug)
Diuretics such as thiazides, β blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, and non-losartan angiotensin II receptor blockersused to treat high blood pressure and heart disease.
Ethambutol, an antitubercular drug
Fructose, glycerol, sorbitol and xylitol (glucose substitutes)
Leva Dopa used to treat Parkinson's disease
Niacin (vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid supplements often used to lower cholesterol levels.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Pyrazinamide (an anti-mycobacterial drug)
Salicylate containing drugs such as Aspirin.
Sodium lactate solution.
Testosterone replacement therapy.
Nature Cures remedies for gout
Alkalising foods: High acid levels in the blood, called acidosis, is associated with the body's uric acid level. A pH level less than 7 is considered to be acidic. To keep the body alkaline, add the following to the diet:
Check the pH of saliva with pHydrion paper. If the saliva pH is below 7.2 then there is a risk for developing gout and the following:
To instantly increase the oral pH, to a normal 7.2 or greater, consume a bicarbonate of soda solution which will also help dissolve uric acid crystals and increase uric acid solubility. Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to 227 ml (8 oz) of water. Mix thoroughly and drink a maximum of eight glasses daily. One before bedtime, one upon waking, and one every two to four hours between meals. Repeat until the symptoms have gone. Also clean the teeth with bicarbonate of soda instead of toothpaste containing fluoride. Coconut oil can be mixed with bicarbonate of soda to provide a paste which will remove the bacteria that cause plaque.
NOTE: Since bicarbonate of soda is high in sodium, change to a salt-free diet whilst taking this remedy. And, if suffering from high blood pressure, although it can be taken as long as the blood pressure is monitored closely, it may be best not to use this remedy at all.
Other foods that can reduce uric acid levels
Barley grass powder can help to relieve gout. Take one tablespoon per day
Celery is a natural diuretic, helps alkalis the blood and decrease inflammation. Try a thimble full of celery seeds each day.
Cherries: Consuming two servings (280g) of sour Morello cherries after an overnight fast can help reduce gout symptoms.
Dairy products such as cheese, milk and yoghurt have been found to help lower uric acid levels in some people with gout.
Green tea is very beneficial to the system and can reduce uric levels in the blood.
Mineral water: Drink six glasses of bottled mineral water everyday. Drink small amounts regularly throughout the day. Water helps the kidneys to process and flush uric acid out of the body. Water dilutes uric acid levels in the blood and stimulates the kidneys to pass on waste products to the bladder.
Raw juice therapy can successfully treat gout. The best organic natural foods to juice are:
Nutrients that can reduce uric acid levels
Anserine: Oily fish, especially fresh tuna, contain anserine that has been reported to lower the uric acid level, remove active oxygen and lower blood pressure. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and can be of help to people who suffer from gout. See Oily fish.
Apigenin is a flavonoid found in high amounts in parsley, thyme and peppermint. The enzyme xanthine oxidase catalyses the oxidation of hypoxanthine to xanthine and then to uric acid, which plays a crucial role in gout. Apigenin is a potent inhibitor of xanthine oxidase. Other rich sources of apigenin appropriate for gout sufferers in alphabetical order are:
Boron is a mineral known to help treat gout. Natural foods rich in boron and appropriate for gout sufferers are:
Bromelain, found in pineapple, is a digestive enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties that inhibits the proteins responsible for inflammation.
Luteolin is an anthocyanin known to help treat gout and is found in the dark coloured skins of foods. Those appropriate for gout sufferers are:
Broccoli (purple tops)
Potatoes (in the red skinned variety, consume the skins)
Sweet potatoes (red skinned variety)
Malic acid: Malic acid is an acid found naturally in foods, especially unripe fruits. It was first isolated from fruit juice and one of the best sources of this naturally-occurring acid is apples. It is malic acid that gives green apples their tart taste. Malic acid is also found in a number of other fruits and vegetables and wine. As fruits ripen, the malic acid they contain is converted to lactic acid which makes the fruit less tart. Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid that helps break down and eliminate uric acid. It also helps restore the alkaline acid balance in the body and provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Add one teaspoon of raw, organic, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink this solution two or three times a day. Gradually increase the amount of apple cider vinegar up to two tablespoons per glass of water and continue this remedy until uric acid levels come down.
Other sources of malic acid are:
NOTE: Do not take apple cider vinegar in excess for more than two weeks as it may decrease potassium levels in the body. Also, it may interfere with diuretic drugs. To ensure levels of potassium are kept up consume potassium rich foods at the same time as foods high in malic acid.
Highest sources of potassium in milligrams per 100 grams appropriate for gout sufferers
Highest sources of potassium in milligrams per 100 grams
Flavonoids: Cumin and turmeric contain the flavonoids chrysin, isorhamnetin, kaempferol, luteolin, myricetin and quercetin that inhibit xanthine oxidase activity so therefore these spices can be of great benefit. Take a teaspoon of either per day added to foods such as eggs, rice, vegetables and soups. Other natural sources of these flavonoids appropriate for gout sufferers are:
Buckwheat (not related to wheat, member of the rhubarb family)
Olive oil and olives (in brine)
Onions (especially red)
Natural foods that can prevent and alleviate symptoms of gout
The best way to consume the necessary nutrients from herbs is to make teas by steeping leaves in hot water for 15 minutes then straining. Roots need to be chopped and simmered for 15 minutes and seeds should be soaked overnight then drunk in the morning or ground and added to meals and teas. Add lemon juice and ground peppercorns for even more benefits .
An oil infused with any or more than one of the following can be externally applied with great benefit to rheumatic and arthritic aches and pains as well as to swellings and pain of gout.
Camphor oil is a detoxifier and a stimulant for circulatory system. It excites blood circulation and gives relief to rheumatic conditions, arthritis, and gout. The cooling and penetrating effects of camphor oil make it an anti-inflammatory and sedative agent. It is very helpful in curing nearly all types of inflammation, both internal and external.
Epsom salts or a pine needle tea poured into a bath may also relieve pain.
NOTE: Avoid peppermint oil and rosemary if pregnant, have high blood pressure or are suffering from gastric reflux or active stomach ulcers. Avoid turmeric and cumin if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) aspirin or ibuprofen or have problems with blood clotting, have heart problems and during the first trimester of pregnancy. Grapefruit can interact with some medications.
For associated disorders and additional pain relieving remedies see also:
"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC
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