Dr. Weil – “What are the causes of gout?”
Gout has a strong genetic component. The hallmark of gout is elevated blood levels of uric acid, a breakdown product of protein metabolism (a distinction should be made by a physician between true gout and pseudogout, a similarly painful, arthritic condition that occurs when calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate crystals are deposited in a joint). Uric acid comes from the metabolism of purines, a subclass of proteins that are abundant in human tissues and such foods as organ meats, sardines, anchovies, mushrooms, asparagus and lentils. Also, a number of drugs and supplements can increase uric acid levels in the blood and its tendency to form irritating crystals in joints. These include salicylates (the active component of aspirin), vitamin B3 (niacin), excess vitamin C and diuretics that may be prescribed for high blood pressure, edema or, cardiovascular disease. Others are Cyclosporine (used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs) and Levodopa for Parkinson’s disease. Excess alcohol consumption, being overweight, and exposure to lead in the environment also increase the risk of gout in genetically susceptible individuals. Other risk factors include dehydration and acid conditions of the blood that can result from serious infections, surgery or ketogenic weight loss diets (such as the Atkins diet). The genetic component should not be underestimated, however. It is possible to have high levels of uric acid and never develop gout.
D- the accumulation of crystals makes me think massage would be wonderful, then, huge amounts of water to wash them out
-since its an inflammed condition, in Chinese health its a warmth, so to cool it with, again, lots of water,
-alkaline foods, particularly anti-inflammatories
perhaps the product, “Zhen Gu Shei” to rub on – a cooling mixture of EXCELLENT healing herbs, woody tree barks, that works from the bone marrow out – so many stories associated with healing from this product!
Dr. Weil recommends: (I love him!)
Like so many diseases, gout is likely an artifact of inflammation and habits of lifestyle, which means following an anti-inflammatory dietand making changes in lifestyle should be the first line of defense. The following should be emphasized:
- Avoid meats that are particularly rich sources of uric acid such as organ meats, sardines and anchovies. Physicians used to advise cutting back on purine-rich plant foods such as lentils, peas, beans, mushrooms, cauliflower and spinach; however, recent research has shown no correlation between eating such foods and incidence of gout attacks.
- Eliminate coffee and all other caffeine sources from the diet.
- Minimize alcohol consumption. Alcohol promotes dehydration and irritates the urinary tract.
- Drink the full complement of eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily to flush uric acid from the system and prevent urate crystal deposition.
- If you are overweight, lose the excess pounds.
- Eat tart cherries in all forms – fresh, or as cherry juice, or in the form of tart cherry extract. Laboratory findings at Michigan State University suggest that ingesting the equivalent of 20 tart cherries inhibits enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 and -2, which are the targets of anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Take bromelain, a compound of digestive enzymes and other compounds extracted from pineapple stems.
Dr. Mercola says:http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/19/five-steps-to-overcoming-gout-naturally.aspx
Good Video here
Avoid Drug Solutions for Gout Unless Absolutely Necessary
Over the years, medical science has used a number of pharmaceuticals in an attempt to treat gout. That list includes, among others, NSAIDs, Colchicine, corticosteroids, Corticotropin (adrenocorticotropic hormone),35 Febuxostat, Aloprim, and Zyloprim.36 But even if drugs like these could cure gout, and there is little, if any, evidence they can, you still would have to deal with some very nasty side effects.37
NSAIDS alone, for example, are known to have the following side effects38:
- Gastrointestinal upsets including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite
- Rash, dizziness, headaches, drowsiness
- Fluid retention
- Shortness of breath
- Kidney failure, liver failure, ulcers, prolonged bleeding after an injury.
Additionally, NSAIDs may increase your risk of potentially fatal stomach and intestinal adverse reactions (for example, bleeding, ulcers, and perforation of the stomach or intestines). These events can occur at any time during treatment and without warning symptoms.
NSAIDs (except low-dose aspirin) may also increase your risk of potentially fatal heart attacks, stroke, and related conditions.
Drugs such as Allopurinol and Colchicine, which work by either lowering your uric acid levels and decreasing crystal formation, or by simply blocking your body’s natural inflammatory response, are also very commonly prescribed for gout.
But these drugs also have very dangerous, long-term side effects, and gout is frequently regarded as a lifelong condition, so you may end up staying on these drugs for very long periods of time, which can wreak havoc with your health.
On the other hand, natural remedies will end up helping not only the problem they were meant for, but also other body issues as well, because they work holistically within your entire system.
That said, because of the intense pain of a gout attack, you may still need some type of pain medication initially, typically an anti-inflammatory, until you can get the symptoms under control.39
If you’re looking for immediate relief in a natural form, try cayenne cream. Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting your body”s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
Exercise Can Dramatically Help
While exercise is not recommended while your joints are in pain or when it might cause further injury, once your gout is under control, exercise is needed as a necessary adjunct to a healthier lifestyle.
Exercise will even help prevent further attacks by increasing circulation and normalizing your uric acids levels, which it does primarily by normalizing your insulin levels.40
Anexercise routine has other advantages as well. Studies have shown that it works as an effective antidepressant,41strengthens your immune system so it can fight off diseases like cancer,42 and it can even improve insulin resistance and reverse pre-diabetic conditions.43
Fight Inflammation with Cherries and Strawberries
Tart cherries contain two powerful compounds, anthocyanins and bioflavonoids. Both of these compounds slow down the enzymes Cyclo-oxyygenase-1 and -2, which helps to relieve and prevent arthritis and gout in your body.44
Cherries, along with strawberries and other berries, are also a rich source of antioxidants. This means they help prevent or repair damage done to your body’s cells by free radicals. The antioxidants replace the free radicals in your body before they can cause any damage.
Dr. Wei, a nationally known, board-certified rheumatologist, recalled this story about the powerful effect of cherries on gout:
“Dr. Ludwig W. Blau, relating how eating a bowl of cherries one day led to complete relief from pain, sparked off the interest in cherries in the treatment of gout. Dr. Blau”s gout had been so severe that he had been confined to a wheelchair. One day, quite by accident, he polished off a large bowl of cherries, and the following day the pain in his foot was gone.
“(Dr. Blau) continued eating a minimum of six cherries every day, and he was free from pain and able to get out of his wheelchair. Dr. Blau”s research led to many other people suffering from gout who reported being helped by cherries.”
Dr. Wei said that good results have also been reported with strawberries, which may be due to the fact that this food helps your body eliminate uric acid.45
There are a number of ways you can enjoy your berries while they go to work benefiting your gout. If fresh cherries are out of season, or if you just want more variety, try concentrated cherry juice.46
Cherry juice concentrate can contain about 55 to 60 tart cherries in every ounce. That’s a single recommended serving, so in other words, you’d have to eat 55 to 60 cherries to get the same health benefit (and I don’t recommend eating 55 to 60 cherries, as that is too much sugar … But with a concentrate, you can get the health benefit of the cherries without all the sugar).
While it may not be as easy to find organic, un-pasteurized tart cherry or strawberry juice, you can find it if you search on the Web, and local health food stores should be able to order it for you also. Just make sure any juice you buy is, ideally, organic, un-pasteurized, and has no added HFCS or other sugars.
Another option is to purchase frozen or canned tart cherries or strawberries. Organic is best, but if you can’t locate any, you can use regular varieties in a pinch. Normally it’s best to avoid non-organic canned or frozen goods, since they often have residual pesticides and additives, along with HFCS and other sweeteners and preservatives.
A Recap: The Top Steps to Prevent and Treat Gout
If left untreated gout can become increasingly painful and lead to joint damage. So if you experience sudden, intense pain in your joints, especially your big toe, it’s important to seek help.
Here is a recap of the essential steps to addressing gout:
- Find out your nutritional type. This will tell you what foods your body needs to thrive, including whether you should be eating more fats and protein, or less.
- Avoid drinking soda, fruit juice and other sweet beverages. Instead, drink plenty of pure water, as the fluids will help to remove uric acid from your body. Cutting back on all forms of sugar and grain in your diet is also important.
- Limit the alcohol you drink (or eliminate it altogether). Alcohol may raise the levels of uric acid in your blood.
- Exercise. Being overweight increases your risk of gout, and regular exercise will help you to maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall health.
- Try tart cherries or concentrated tart cherry juice. Tart cherries contain two powerful compounds, anthocyanins and bioflavonoids. Both of these compounds slow down the enzymes Cyclo-oxyygenase-1 and -2, which helps to relieve and prevent arthritis and gout in your body.
Interestingly, we have had many readers state that alfalfa tablets have provided a fair measure of relief and improvement from gout as well. I have no experience with this but it would certainly seem another avenue to explore since it is a natural product with virtually no downside or side effects. Nutmeg has also shown promise for relieving gout symptoms, so if you enjoy this spice feel free to add it liberally to your diet.