How to Stop the Pain and Break the Cycle of Gout

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Gout is the formal name for when uric acid crystalizes in your joints. Needless to say, when this happens, it hurts.

Gout is actually more common that you may think — according to the National Arthritis Data Workgroup an estimated 3 million people suffer from gout in the US.1 This makes it the most common form of arthritis in men.

Gout causes acute attacks of inflamed, painful joints that usually subside gradually, but it can also progress to a chronic condition if it’s not treated. Although it typically affects a joint in the big toe, it can actually occur in any small joint. When this happens, it hurts and makes the joint appear red and warm to the touch.

Though most gout attacks subside within 5 to 10 days with a complete resolution of symptoms, the next attack is often right around the corner. For this reason, taking steps to prevent it from coming back is definitely in your best interest.

Primary versus Secondary Gout

Primary gout is an intrinsic problem characterized by either an over-production of uric acid, an impaired excretion of uric acid, or both. However, the exact mechanism in most cases isn’t clearly understood. However, some doctors think that uric acid excretion signals an underdiagnosed genetic problem.2

In secondary gout, the cause is usually associated with medications or disease. If you’re taking any one of the following medications, you might consider routine uric acid testing:

  • Diuretics (for high blood pressure & fluid retention)
  • Aspirin & Other NSAIDS (for inflammation & pain)
  • Niacin (for high cholesterol & triglycerides)
  • Levodopa (for Parkinson’s disease)
  • Cyclosporin (antibiotics)
Medical conditions can also precipitate a gouty attack. If you’ve been diagnosed with any of the following, you should also consider routine uric acid testing:

  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Obesity
  • Anemia
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma
  • Lung Cancer
  • Heart Failure
  • Metabolic Syndrome

Watch What You Eat!

Purine-rich foods are often associated with gout, since uric acid develops from the degradation of purine. Of course, some of this happens naturally in your body. The goal, however, is to not make our bodies undergo any excessive purine metabolism.

The following foods are purine-rich and worth avoiding if you’re prone to gout:

  • Beer
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Yeast
  • Organ Meats
  • Meat Broth & Gravy

Managing Gout Naturally

Your first steps in managing gout should probably involve these lifestyle changes:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol – especially beer
  • Avoid purine-rich foods
  • Lose weight
  • Increase exercise
After you’re well on your way with those adjustments, you can then consider supplementation. Here’s what we suggest:

  1. Cherry Extract
    Cherries are rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins and catechins. Studies have shown that cherry extract can reduce uric acid concentration in women, though the exact mechanism causing this reduction is not known.3

    Cherries and their extracts traditionally have been used to treat gout, and one small case series documented a decrease in duration and severity of gouty attacks.4

  2. Vitamin C
    Vitamin C increases the excretion of uric acid through the kidneys. This was shown in a study using 500 mg of vitamin C per day in 187 healthy subjects. Half were given vitamin C and half were given a placebo. The glomerular filtration rate — a measurement of kidney excretion — was tested.

    After two months, the subjects receiving vitamin C showed a reduction in blood uric acid when compared to the control group. This suggests that vitamin C may be beneficial in preventing and managing gout and other uric acid-related conditions.5

  3. Grape Seed Extract
    Grape seeds are a rich source of procyanidins. These are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood uric acid in animal models.6

  4. Chinese Herbs
    Uric acid is formed from xanthine, a purine metabolite, through the activity of an enzyme called xanthine oxidase. Researchers have identified herbal extracts that inhibit xanthine oxidase, thus decreasing the formation of uric acid.

    The most active herb was cinnamon, followed by Chrysanthemum and lycopus. It turns out these herbs have been used in China for quite some time to treat gouty attacks and control flare-ups.7
Please Note: the suggested nutrients should be taken every day for optimal results.

Breaking the Cycle of Gout

Gout hurts, but don’t let it get you down. Truth is, just a few adjustments to your lifestyle could very well make a big difference in keeping it at bay.

If you want a lasting improvement in your quality of life, focus your strategy on breaking the cycle of gout entirely. By taking preventative steps and making long-term changes in-between flare-ups, you’ll greatly reduce the likelihood of repeating the cycle over and over again. This is the key element to gaining control over it once and for all.

Do you have gout? Have you given any of our suggestions a shot? Please let us know your results in the comments!

  1. Arthritis & Rheum. Jan 2008; 58(1):26-35
  2. Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Jan;50(1):242-6.
  3. J Nutr. 2003 Jun;133(6):1826-9.
  4. Tex Rep Biol Med. 1950;8(3):309-11.
  5. Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Jun;52(6):1843-7
  6. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2004 May;94(5):232-7.
  7. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Nov;73(1-2):199-207.


Oso Wallman said...

THANK YOU! I've had gout for nearly 30 years and this is all great info. The Ulloric website states that diet has nothing to do with gout. HA! I've been able to manage gout successfully with all you've discussed in this blog. Many thanks. Keep up the good work.
Oso Wallman

Life Extension said...

Oso, thank you for sharing your awesome story! And it's not surprising to us that the Uloric web site claims that diet has nothing to do with gout...they want you taking their drug.

Anonymous said...

I have just recently experienced what I think is gout in the joint of my big toe. It started when I would use the steps to stretch my calves. I would pull my heels down and then get up on my toes. I no longer do that but the pain is on and off. I already do all of the above recommendations and eat a great diet. Sometimes it burns and then doesn't seem to bother me other times. It has been chronic for about a month with on and off severity. Short of going to a doctor (ugh), what else could I try?

Life Extension said...

Anonymous, we want you to know that we get it. Going to see a doctor is not something we enjoy either. But sometimes that's the best thing to do. What you're describing may or may not be gout and the correct diagnosis is the fastest way to healing. We can help you when we know what the problem is. Let us know what you decide to do. Good luck and best wishes.

Unknown said...

I have suffered a number of severe gout attacks. “Attack” is a good way to describe how gout often presents itself. I find that diet has a lot to do with gout. People who suffer from this painful disease should avoid, as much as possible, all shell fish, some other fish, ie., sardines, anchovies, herring and some others. I have found 100% Tart Cherry juice, no other ingredients, is very helpful. Drink lots of water to dilute the Uric acid and flush it out. Often taking 1 Ibuprofen or Naproxin with a glass of tart cherry juice if I feel the start of symptoms is all I need to Head it off. I have added Tart Cherry Extract and Grape Seed Extract to my regimen as well. I’ve found a concoction of about a cup of Tart Cherry Juice, a cup of Pineapple juice, the juice and pulp of 1 lemon and a couple of tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar, once a day, is extremely effective in reducing uric acid, therefore preventing gout attacks.

fruit lover said...

Wow..Grape Seed Extract can lower blood uric acid?

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