Gout is an intensely painful disorder caused by the buildup of uric acid. Although it affects both sexes, men are much more likely-by a factor of ten-to suffer from gout. The condition was once known as the "rich man's disease," and, in fact, it often strikes people who eat heavy, fatty foods and who overindulge in alcohol. Although this kind of diet was once solely the province of the wealthy, one no longer has to be rich to eat poorly. Today, the disease affects people across the entire spectrum of economic classes.
Uric acid is a metabolic by-product of protein breakdown. Purines raise uric acid levels in the body. Most purines are created by the body, but a few are taken in through food and drink. Since purines can't be absorbed, they are normally broken down by a digestive enzyme that allows them to be dissolved and passed out of the body in urine. If there is more uric acid than the enzymes can break down, the acid accumulates in the tissues and the bloodstream. Eventually, it crystallizes into needle-shaped deposits. These sharp crystals of uric acid poke their way into the tissue that surrounds a joint and ultimately penetrate the joint itself. The resulting pain is extreme and is usually followed by redness and swelling of the joint, which may be highly sensitive to the touch. The pain may go on for days or even weeks, and unless the cause of gout is addressed, the attack is likely to recur. A person with gout is also more likely to suffer from uric acid kidney stones. Gout most often occurs in the joint at the base of the big toe, but it may also appear in other locations like the ankle, the thumb, the wrist, the elbow, and even the earlobe.
Newer research is demonstrating that people with insulin resistance are more susceptible to gout. It is estimated that 76 percent of people with gout have insulin resistance. With this condition, the cells become resistant to the hormone insulin, and blood glucose levels remain high. This in turn leads to increased insulin levels and a resulting uric acid increase. If you follow a syndrome X-type diet (one rich in plant foods, moderate protein consumption-especially fish-and low in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates), uric acid decreases and the resultant gout flare-ups can be prevented. This, along with a calorie-restricted diet and exercise, should be the primary plan for people with gout.
Conventional medicines that lower the levels of uric acid are available, but you should consider them a last resort. For hundreds of years, the best way to treat gout has been with diet and detoxification therapies. Sometimes doctors automatically prescribe medication for gout because they don't believe their patients will commit to changing their diets. If your doctor suggests medication for you, explain to him or her that you're willing to try a new eating plan. You may find that you can forgo harsh medicines entirely.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to help Gout:
Prescription for Natural
Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription # 1 Celery seed extract: Take 450 mg two to three times daily to treat and prevent gout. Celery seed extract has anti-inflammatory effects and may reduce uric acid levels.
Super Prescription #2 Nettle root (Urtica dioica): Nettle root encourages the elimination of uric acid from the kidneys. Select a product made with the concentrated root extract, and take 250 mg three times a day.
Super Prescription #3 Omega 3 - LifeSource Products - See All of our Omega 3 – Fish Oil Products.Take a daily dosage of a fish oil product, 3 per day split throughout the day. Fish oil reduces inflammation in the joints.
Super Prescription #4 Chlorella - LifeSource ProductTake 500 mg four times daily. Chlorella is rich in chlorophyll and works to alkalinize the body.
Super Prescription #5 Bromelain - LifeSource ProductTake 500 mg two to three times daily between meals. Look for products standardized to 2,400 M.C.U. (milk-clotting units) per 1,000
Super Prescription #7 Folic Acid - LifeSource ProductsTake 10 to 40 mg daily, under the supervision of a doctor. High doses of folic acid may help reduce uric acid levels.
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- Sharp pain, usually in a single joint and most often in the big toe
- Inflamed, red joints that feel hot and are tender to the touch
- A diet high in saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol
- Insulin resistance
- Dehydration (in people susceptible to gout)
- Kidney disease
- Joint injury
- Pharmaceutical medications that increase uric acid (e.g., aspirin, diuretics, and high-dose niacin therapy)
- Lead toxicity
- High blood pressure
- Acidic system
For the first stages of an attack, see the detoxification suggestions further on.
After your pain has subsided, introduce whole grains, nuts, seeds, and soy products into your meals. These foods are high in fiber, which encourages the elimination of uric acid, and soy products are excellent vegetarian sources of protein. Continue to eat several helpings of raw fruits and vegetables daily.
Berries, especially cherries, strawberries, and blueberries, neutralize uric acid. Eat fresh berries as snacks or for dessert, and drink a glass of cherry juice every day.
Flaxseeds are a highly concentrated source of essential fatty acids, the "good" fats that reduce inflammation. Add flax seeds to juices, salads, or fruit plates, or use the oil as a salad dressing.
One of the most important foods you can eat to prevent gout is fish. Eat fish such as salmon, cod, halibut, and sardines, as they reduce inflammation.
Drink as much clean water as you can. One glass every two waking hours should be your minimum consumption.
Foods to Avoid
The traditional approach for treating gout has been to eliminate from your diet foods that are high in purines: red meat, meat broths and gravies, bouillon, sweetbreads, shellfish, anchovies, sardines, herring, mushrooms, asparagus, brewer's yeast, fish, poultry, eggs, dried beans, peas, lentils, cooked spinach, and rhubarb. However, this is not only not necessary but for people with insulin resistance (the majority of gout sufferers), this can make your gout problem worse. Instead, focus on eating the foods in the recommended food list.
Rich foods aggravate gout pain. Stay away from saturated, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats and oils, and do not eat products made with refined flour or sugar.
Alcohol increases uric acid levels. If you suffer from gout, you must not drink alcohol in any form.
During an acute episode of gout, you may not feel much like eating. This response is useful, as it helps your body focus on eliminating the uric acid and discourages you from eating foods that may make the condition worse. When the pain begins, start a three-day juice fast; drink large quantities of cherry juice and green drinks (wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, etc.) and include plenty of clean water and herbal teas. This fast will help speed the elimination of uric acid and reduce inflammation. Do not fast for more than three days, however, as prolonged periods without food can have a reverse effect and actually raise the levels of uric acid in your body.
After the fast, limit yourself to raw fruits and vegetables (along with juices, herbal teas, and water) for several days or until the pain subsides. These foods will encourage further elimination of uric acid and will re-alkalize your body's internal environment.
- Exercise will stimulate blood flow and decrease pain. Try a non-impact sport like swimming.
- Magnet therapy can be effective in alleviating pain of gout. Use as directed by a knowledgeable practitioner.
- People who are overweight are more vulnerable to gout than others are. If you need to lose weight, the dietary suggestions here can help.