Gout, Natural Treatments
Alcohol is known to have
diuretic effects which can contribute to dehydration and precipitate acute gout
Alcohol can also affect uric acid metabolism and cause hyperuricemia. It causes gout by impeding (slowing down)
the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys as well as by causing dehydration,
which precipitates the crystals in the joints.
Gout is one of the most
painful rheumatic diseases. It results from deposits of needle-like crystals of
uric acid in connective tissue, in the joint space between two bones, or in
These deposits lead to inflammatory arthritis, which causes swelling,
redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joints. The term arthritis refers to
more than 100 different rheumatic diseases that affect the joints, muscles, and
bones, as well as other tissues and structures. Gout accounts for approximately
5 percent of all cases of arthritis.
Signs and Symptoms of Gout
Hyperuricemia (high level of uric acid in the blood)
Presence of uric acid crystals in joint fluid
More than one attack of acute arthritis
Arthritis that develops in 1 day, producing a swollen, red, and warm joint
Attack of arthritis in only one joint, usually the toe, ankle, or knee
Pseudogout is sometimes confused with gout because it produces
similar symptoms of inflammation. However, in this condition, also called chondrocalcinosis, deposits are made up of calcium
phosphate crystals, not uric acid. Therefore, pseudogout
is treated somewhat differently and is not reviewed in this booklet.
Uric acid is a substance that
results from the breakdown of purines, which are part
of all human tissue and are found in many foods. Normally, uric acid is
dissolved in the blood and passed through the kidneys into the urine, where it
If the body increases its production of uric acid or if the
kidneys do not eliminate enough uric acid from the body, levels of it build up
in the blood (a condition called hyperuricemia). Hyperuricemia also may result when a person eats too many
high-purine foods, such as liver, dried beans and
peas, anchovies, and gravies.
Hyperuricemia is not a
disease, and by itself it is not dangerous. However, if excess uric acid crystals
form as a result of hyperuricemia, gout can develop.
The excess crystals build up in the joint spaces, causing inflammation.
Deposits of uric acid, called tophi (singular: tophus), can appear as lumps under the skin around the
joints and at the rim of the ear. In addition, uric acid crystals can collect
in the kidneys and cause kidney stones.
For many people, gout
initially affects the joints in the big toe. Sometime during the course of the
disease, gout will affect the big toe in about 75 percent of patients. It also
can affect the instep, ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows. The
disease can progress through four stages:
Asymptomatic (without symptoms)
hyperuricemia--In this stage, a person has elevated
levels of uric acid in the blood but no other symptoms. A person in this stage
does not usually require treatment.
Acute gout, or acute gouty
arthritis--In this stage, hyperuricemia has caused the
deposit of uric acid crystals in joint spaces. This leads to a sudden onset of
intense pain and swelling in the joints, which also may be warm and very
An acute attack commonly occurs at night and can be triggered by
stressful events, alcohol or drugs, or the presence of another illness. Early
attacks usually subside within 3 to 10 days, even without treatment, and the
next attack may not occur for months or even years. Over time, however, attacks
can last longer and occur more frequently.
Interval or intercritical gout--This is the period between acute
attacks. In this stage, a person does not have any symptoms and has normal
gout--This is the most disabling stage of gout and usually develops over a long
period, such as 10 years.
In this stage, the disease has caused permanent
damage to the affected joints and sometimes to the kidneys. With proper
treatment, most people with gout do not progress to this advanced stage.
What Causes Gout?
A number of risk factors are
related to the development of hyperuricemia and gout:
Gender and age are related to
the risk of developing gout; it is more common in men than in women and more
common in adults than in children.
Being overweight increases
the risk of developing hyperuricemia and gout because
there is more tissue available for turnover or breakdown, which leads to excess
uric acid production.
Drinking too much alcohol can
lead to hyperuricemia because it interferes with the
removal of uric acid from the body.
Eating too many foods rich in
purines can cause or aggravate gout in some people.
Exposure to lead in the
environment can cause gout.
Gout is a form of arthritis that develops when
there is a build up of uric acid in the blood. When the uric acid levels get
high enough, it collects in the joints. The joint that is usually first and
most severely affected is the big toe joint.
As this uric acid collects in the
toe joint, it forms crystals in the shape of a needle. These needle
like crystals cause a stabbing pain, sometimes excruciating pain, plus
swelling. The affected toe is like an inside out pin cushion. OUCH!!!
Gout is closely related to
the foods you eat. The natural approach to Gout would be to change your diet and
increase your fluid intake.
There are foods that cause an
increase in uric acid and they should be greatly curtailed from the diet. These
meats & gravies,
They should also try to avoid
rich cakes and pies.
Some studies have shown a
vitamin deficiency of vitamin B5, vitamin A, and vitamin E
contribute to the disease process of Gout.
Foods that can neutralize uric acid are celery and avocados, so these can be eaten freely.
It is necessary to increase water intake also as this will help flush the uric acid out.
Herbs that help to neutralize uric acid are alfalfa, burdock, hyssop and juniper. Alfalfa is the strongest
of these herbs and the first choice.
Article Source 4
Other Proposed Natural
Aspartic Acid, Bromelain, Celery Juice,
Cherry Juice, Devil's Claw, Fish Oil, Folate (folic acid),
Selenium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.
Gout is an inflammatory
condition that is caused by the deposit of uric acid crystals in joints (most
famously the big toe) as well as other tissues. Typically, attacks of fierce
pain, redness, swelling, and heat punctuate pain-free intervals.
Medical treatment consists of
anti-inflammatory drugs for acute attacks and of uric acid-lowering drugs for
Proposed Treatments for Gout
The following herbs and
supplements are widely recommended for gout, but they have not yet been
scientifically proven effective.
Folate has been recommended as a preventive treatment for
gout for at least 20 years. Some clinicians report that it can be highly
However, what little scientific evidence we have on the method is
contradictory.1,2,3 It has been suggested that a contaminant found in folate, pterin-6-aldehyde, may actually be responsible for
the positive effects observed by some clinicians.
For more information,
including dosage and safety issues, see the full folate
The herb devil's claw is
sometimes recommended as a pain-relieving treatment for gout based on evidence
for its effectiveness in various forms of arthritis.4
For more information,
including dosage and safety issues, see the full devil's claw article.
Celery juice is a folk remedy for gout that is said to be widely used in Australia.
On the basis of interesting
reasoning, but no concrete evidence of effectiveness, fish oil, vitamin E,
selenium, bromelain, vitamin A, and aspartic acid
have also been recommended for both prevention and treatment of gout.