What is gout?
Gout or gouty arthritis is a form of arthritis, characterized by symptoms like pain, swelling, redness, heat and tenderness of the joints. It most commonly affects joint of the big toe, although it can occur in other joints too, especially feet, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and hands. Gout attacks in most cases last from five to ten days.
Gout is caused by accumulated crystals of uric acid. This is a waste product from the breakdown of purins, which are found in the body and on foods like organ meat, asparagus, mushrooms, anchovies and herring.
Natural remedies are very popular among people who suffer from gout. However, it is important to realize that natural remedies cannot replace conventional therapy; they should be used complementary.
It is believed that vitamin C can be very helpful against gout because it can lower the levels of uric acid. This has been proven in a study that involved 184 people who took either 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day or placebo treatment.
After two months, the levels of uric acid in people who took vitamin C supplements were reduced, while in those who took placebo they stayed the same.
Although vitamin C treatment for gout can be very effective, people who have kidney problems should be careful with this supplement. In addition, this vitamin increases the absorption of iron, so people with hemochromatosis should avoid it.
Vitamin C supplements may increase the levels of acetaminophen, Aspirin and furosemide in the blood, and it can interfere with blood thinners like warfarin.
Cherries are another food that is highly recommended for people who suffer from gout. The amount that is usually recommended can vary from one cup to one pound of fresh cherries per day. They can be eaten fresh or blended into juice and diluted with water. Cherry extract is also available in health food stores, and it is particularly recommended for gout sufferers.
Although cherries are a very popular gout remedy, there is little to none scientific evidence to confirm their effectiveness.
As it is mentioned above, gout is caused by too much uric acid. Uric acid levels are increased due to the metabolism of naturally found purine, but eating foods rich in purine can contribute to the rise of uric acid and consequently to gout, so these foods should be avoided. People who eat a lot of meat and seafood are more likely to suffer from gout.
On the other hand, people who eat a lot of dairy products, drink at least one glass of milk a day and at least one glass of yogurt every two days have lower uric acid levels and they are less likely to suffer from gout.