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12 Top Ways To Fight Gout & Ease The Pain


If you have gout, listen up!

According to the research, there’s no mistaking it: your dietary choices hugely affect how you feel.

What is Gout?

Gout is a painful arthritic condition that causes soreness, pain, and redness in joints. The pain can be sudden and severe. Sometimes, sufferers wake up in the middle of the night with sensations like their joints are on fire.

This discomfort is caused by the buildup of uric acid in joints. Uric acid is normally in your urine and is a normal metabolic byproduct of purine - a component of in a variety of foods but mainly animal products. This acid crystallizes in joints if too much of it is built up, resulting in inflammation-caused pain.

You should see a doctor if you are experience sudden intense pain in your joints because gout can lead to even worse pain and damage to joints.

Some symptoms of gout are:

How to Fight Uric Acid Buildup

Many pharmaceutical medications can be used to treat gout - NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, other anti-inflammatory drugs, and drugs that block uric acid production in the body. However, these medications come a list of nasty possible side effects like nausea, mood disturbances, vomiting, reduced liver function, etc.

Luckily the foods you eat have a huge impact on whether you develop gout and how bad the symptoms are. By following some dietary tips and staying away from the wrong foods, you can lower your uric acid levels and minimize gout symptoms.

Foods to Fight Gout

1. Legumes

Many animal products are very high in purines, which convert to uric acid, exacerbating gout attacks [1]. Legumes are a good, healthy plant source of protein that can help replace protein that would have come from animal products.

Beans are legumes - pretty much any type of bean you can think of - navy beans, black beans, pinto beans (you get the point). Peanuts are also legumes.

Legumes are very healthy and easy on the wallet. They give you plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber that feeds your good bacteria, and, very importantly, lots of antioxidants. Many people could benefit from eating a little less meat and more beans but people suffering from gout could benefit a lot from utilizing them.

Even plant foods that have moderate purine content, like soy, do not appear to increase risk for gout. In women who consumed soy, their uric acid levels did not increase [2].

2. Nuts

These are another good source of protein that doesn’t come purine-rich animal products.

Why is it so important to limit meat? Of course, meat typically has much higher purine content than plant foods but research shows that meat may even further contributes to gout by decreasing the excretion of uric acid [3], so it appears that meat worsens gout in at least two different ways.

    3. Raw Fruits and Raw or Steamed Vegetables

    Fresh plant foods contain vitamin C, which is associated with reduced gout risk [4]. Supplementation with vitamin C has been shown to significantly reduce blood uric acid levels [5]. So it appears that it is indeed vitamin C that is responsible for anti-gout effects and not some other component of vitamin C-rich foods.

    Studies found that over a period of 20 years, men with higher intakes of vitamin C were less likely to develop gout [6].

    4. Eat Cherries

    Cherries are full of anthocyanin antioxidants and are a nice tasty and healthy treat.

    These fruits have been shown to reduce the chance of having gout attacks [7]. It was also importantly noted that cherries had their beneficial effects regardless of lifestyle or dietary factors in the participants’ lives. Smoking, purine intake, and alcohol didn’t stop the cherries from working their magic and reducing gout attacks [8].

    Cherries are evidenced to lower uric acid levels [9]. Cherries also have anti-inflammatory effects [9]. Gout attacks are largely a result of inflammation that occurs because of uric acid buildup in joints. If inflammation can be reduced, pain can be reduced.

    Way back in 1950, researchers knew that cherries could play a role in gout relief [10].

    5. Drink Coffee

    In men, long-term coffee consumption is associated with lower gout risk [11]. The same is true in women [13]. Coffee consumption is also associated with lower uric acid levels. Researchers held that components other than caffeine were responsible for these beneficial effects [12].

    A note about coffee: Some coffee manufacturers believe that coffee is healthiest when roasted at the right temperature - if it’s roasted too much, mutagenic compounds are formed and antioxidant content is reduced.

    6. Eat Fiber-Filled Foods

    Fiber is considered a factor for “protection” against gout [14]. Supplemental fiber has shown a mild uric acid-lowering effect [15]. In rats, fiber reduces uric acid as well [16].

    Dietary fiber was “significantly” associated with lower uric acid levels in humans [17]. It is thought that fiber interrupts the absorption of purines from the intestines [16].

    7. Eat Leafy Greens

      Leafy greens like lettuces, kale, chard, and others are great sources of folate. This B-vitamin plays a role in uric acid metabolism and appears within lower levels. In hypertensive humans, folate lowers blood uric acid levels [18]. Folate even interferes with the damaging effects that uric acid crystals have on nerves [19].

      When folate is combined with a drug, the blood uric acid levels lowered more dramatically than with the drug alone [26].

      8. Minimize Purine Rich Foods

        Animal products that are very high in purine exacerbates gout, so it is best to stay away from them. Never eat livers, which are extremely high in purines and try to minimize seafood and other meats.

        Specific Ingredients and Herbs that Fights Gout

        Along with dietary changes, making use of especially therapeutic natural ingredients will also help get of uric acid. Some of these ingredients are:

        9. Black Cherry

          In humans, cherry consumption was associated with a 35% lower risk of gout attacks [20]. The anthocyanin antioxidants, which are anti inflammatory, are thought to be responsible for this effect. Black cherries are very rich in anthocyanins.

          Convincingly, animal and human studies have shown that cherry lowers blood levels of uric acid [20]. That is high quality evidence for sure!

          10. Yarrow

            This herb has long been used as an anti-inflammatory and liver-protective medicine [21]. Medical literature also confirms its traditional usage in treating gout [21]. Since inflammation of the joints is responsible for much of the discomfort associated with gout, yarrow probably helps to minimize this inflammation.

            In numerous traditional medicine systems, including Persian and Chinese medicine, yarrow has been used for treatment of pain [27]. And at least some modern research has validated the traditional use of yarrow, for instance it’s anti-inflammatory properties  [28].

            11. Devil’s Claw

              Many people with high uric acid levels have found help in devil’s claw and this is probably partially to do with its anti-inflammatory effect observed in humans. In one study, treatment with this herb reduced major inflammatory enzymes - COX-1 and COX-2 by between 29.5 and 32.7% [22].

              Devil’s claw has also been evidenced to lessen the need for pain-relieving medications [25]. In rats, this herb’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects are confirmed [26].

              12. White Willow Bark

                This is a confirmed anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving herb [23]. It has been used to lower joint pain, like that seen in gout, and it does this by lowering inflammatory signallers like tumor necrosis factor-α and nuclear factor-kappa B [23]. The phytochemical antioxidants in white willow are thought to be responsible for the plant’s anti-inflammatory effects [23].

                Importantly, any potential side effects of white willow are “minimal” when compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin [23]. White willow is effective and you’ll probably feel better from taking it than you will with aspirin.

                One review of studies on white willow confirmed the herb’s efficacy in lessening pain [24].

                Footnotes:

                    1. Purine-rich foods intake and recurrent gout attacks. Yuqing Zhang, Clara Chen, Hyon Choi, Christine Chaisson, David Hunter, Jingbo Niu, and Tuhina Neogi. Ann Rheum Dis. 2012 Sep; 71(9): 1448–1453
                    2. Can soy intake affect serum uric acid level? Pooled analysis from two 6-month randomized controlled trials among Chinese postmenopausal women with prediabetes or prehypertension. Liu ZM, Ho CS, Chen YM, Woo J. Eur J Nutr. 2015 Feb;54(1):51-58.
                    3. The effect of a vegetarian and different omnivorous diets on urinary risk factors for uric acid stone formation. Siener R, Hesse A. Eur J Nutr. 2003 Dec;42(6):332-337.
                    4. Vitamin C Intake and the Risk of Gout in Men – A Prospective Study. Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH, Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, and Gary Curhan, MD, ScD. Arch Intern Med. Author manuscript;Arch Intern Med. 2009 Mar 9; 169(5): 502–507.
                    5. Effect of oral vitamin C supplementation on serum uric acid: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.Juraschek SP, Miller ER 3rd, Gelber AC. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 Sep;63(9):1295-306
                    6. Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. Zhang Y, Neogi T, Chen C, Chaisson C, Hunter DJ, Choi HK. Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Dec;64(12):4004-4011.
                    7. Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women.
                    8. Cherry diet control for gout and arthritis. Blau Lw. Tex Rep Biol Med. 1950;8(3):309-311.
                    9. Coffee consumption and risk of incident gout in men: a prospective study. Choi HK, Willett W, Curhan G. Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Jun;56(6):2049-2055.
                    10. Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and serum uric acid level: the third national health and nutrition examination survey. Choi Hk, Curhan G. Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Jun 15;57(5):816-821.
                    11. Coffee consumption and risk of incident gout in women: the Nurses’ Health Study. Hyon K. Choi and Gary Curhan. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct; 92(4): 922–927.
                    12. A case-control study of the association of diet and obesity with gout in Taiwan. Lyu LC1, Hsu CY, Yeh CY, Lee MS, Huang SH, Chen CL. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Oct;78(4):690-701.
                    13. Supplementation of the diet with the functional fiber PolyGlycoplex® is well tolerated by healthy subjects in a clinical trial. Ioana G Carabin, Michael R Lyon, Simon Wood, Xavier Pelletier, Yves Donazzolo, and George A Burdock. Nutr J. 2009; 8: 9.
                    14. Dietary fiber suppresses elevations of uric acid and allantoin in serum and urine induced by dietary RNA and increases its excretion to feces in rats. Koguchi T, Nakajima H, Wada M, Yamamoto Y, Innami S, Maekawa A, Tadokor T. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2002 Jun;48(3):184-193.
                    15. Sun SZ, Flickinger BD, Williamson-Hughes PS, Empie MW. Lack of association between dietary fructose and hyperuricemia risk in adults. NutrMetab. 2010;7(1):16.
                    16. Folic acid therapy reduces serum uric acid in hypertensive patients: a substudy of the China Stroke Primary Prevention Trial (CSPPT). Qin X, Li Y, He M, Tang G, Yin D, Liang M, Wang B, Nie J, Huo Y, Xu X, Hou FF. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Apr;105(4):882-889.
                    17. Folic acid reverses uric acid crystal-induced surface OAT1 internalization by inhibiting RhoA activity in uric acid nephropathy. Xinlin Wu, Jianxiang Liu, Jianquing Zhang, Heng Liu, Miansheng Yan, Birong Liang, Hongbo Xie, Shijun Zhang, Baoguo Sun, and Houming Zhou. Mol Med Rep. 2016 Mar; 13(3): 2385–2392.
                    18. Effects of combined enalapril and folic acid therapy on the serum uric acid levels in hypertensive patients: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-controlled clinical trial. Li H1, Qin X, Xie D, Tang G, Zhang Y, Li J, Hou F, Wang X, Huo Y, Xu X. Intern Med. 2015;54(1):17-24.
                    19. Zhang, Y., Neogi, T., Chen, C., Chaisson, C., Hunter, D., & Choi, H. K. (n.d.). Cherry consumption and the risk of recurrent gout attacks. , 64(12), . Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3510330/
                    20. Akram, M. (2013). Minireview on Achillea millefolium Linn. The Journal of membrane biology., 246(9), 661–663.
                    21. Anauate, M., Torres, L., & Mello, de (2010). Effect of isolated fractions of Harpagophytum procumbens D.C. (devil’s claw) on COX-1, COX-2 activity and nitric oxide production on whole-blood assay. Phytotherapy research : PTR., 24(9), 1365–9. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20812280
                    22.  Shara, M., & Stohs, S. (2015). Efficacy and safety of white willow bark (Salix alba) extracts. Phytotherapy research : PTR., 29(8), 1112–1116.
                    23. A systematic review on the effectiveness of willow bark for musculoskeletal pain. Vlachojannis JE, Cameron M, Chrubasik S. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):897-900.
                    24. Efficacy and tolerance of Harpagophytum procumbens versus diacerhein in treatment of osteoarthritis. Chantre P1, Cappelaere A, Leblan D, Guedon D, Vandermander J, Fournie B. Phytomedicine. 2000 Jun;7(3):177-183.
                    25. Evaluation of acute and chronic treatments with Harpagophytum procumbens on Freund's adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats. Andersen ML1, Santos EH, Seabra Mde L, da Silva AA, Tufik S. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Apr;91(2-3):325-330.
                    26. A review on phytochemistry and medicinal properties of the genus Achillea. S. Saeidnia, AR. Gohari,N. Mokhber-Dezfuli, and F. Kiuchi. Daru. 2011; 19(3): 173–186.
                    27. Achillea millefolium L. s.l. revisited: recent findings confirm the traditional use. Benedek B, Kopp B.Wien Med Wochenschr. 2007;157(13-14):312-4.