5 Natural Gout Treatments
Have you ever had a condition that was so painful, you woke up in the middle of the night in agony? If so, then you know what Anthony was experiencing.
A long-time patient, Anthony was not big on following my advice. He would try things I recommended – eating more vegetables, cutting back on alcohol, and losing weight.
But after a few days, he’d go back to his old habits of fast food, beer, and scotch, all consumed while sitting in front of the television.
So I was not surprised when I found him in the examining room, complaining of excruciating pain in his red, swollen big toe.
A blood test showed that Anthony’s uric acid levels were far above the standard 7.2 mg/dL. That meant Anthony had gout.
Uric acid is a waste material produced by the body. A little uric acid is fine. But when there’s too much, it forms crystals in your joints.
When that happens, the result is a red, swollen joint that’s hot to the touch. It’s also unbearably painful. I’ve seen some very tough men brought to tears by an episode of gout.
A type of arthritis, gout usually settles in the big toe. But it can go to other joints – ankle, knee, mid-foot, fingers, or wrist. Sometimes it affects more than one joint at a time.
The first symptom is usually stabbing pain. Uric acid crystals are shaped like needles, and they literally stab their way inside a joint.
The joint becomes red, swollen, and painful to the touch. Episodes of gout, “flare ups” or “flares,” come and go.
Centuries ago, gout was known as the “rich man’s disease.” It was common among royalty, the only people who could afford to gorge on alcohol and meat. Royal banquets are a thing of the past, but gout is on the rise.
Experts say gout diagnoses have doubled in the past two decades. The disease is now the most common form of inflammatory arthritis.
Risk factors for gout include:
- Being male, since men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with gout, although after age 60 both sexes are equally at risk;
- Being African-American, which doubles the risk, largely due to a greater likelihood of having high blood pressure;
- Taking medication known as diuretics, usually used to treat high blood pressure;
- Being obese or having a high Body Mass Index (BMI);
- Having metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms including: insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat;
- Consuming a diet heavy in red or organ meats, seafood, and large amounts of alcohol, especially beer.
Some of these risk factors can be changed, and that’s where I come in. Check out these six steps. They worked to ease Anthony’s pain and they can work for you, too.
Stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol increases production of uric acid, raising your gout risk. Drink more pure, filtered water instead.
Eat a low-protein diet. Red meat, organ meats, and certain seafood, like caviar and anchovies, are rich in the proteins that are broken down into uric acid. Limit meat to no more than 4 to 6 ounces daily, about the size of a deck of playing cards.
Take omega-3 essential fatty acids. The protein restrictions of this eating plan don’t allow for much fish, and that means you’ll be missing out on these outstanding inflammation fighters. Supplements are your best bet. Take 3 grams daily. Look for a product that’s purified and molecularly distilled, to avoid toxins.
Eat Cherries. Studies show that cherries, cherry juice, and cherry extracts contain loads of nutrients, including disease-fighting antioxidants. Other substances in cherries ease the pain of arthritis and gout.
Spice it up. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties make it one of my top recommendations for heart health. And since arteries are part of the cardiovascular system (“vascular” means blood vessels), this supplement can make a difference for gout sufferers, too.
Research shows that curcumin improves heart and blood vessel functions. And, as a bonus, it’s been shown to reduce arthritis pain just as well as ibuprofen, without the side effects. So this supplement belongs in any gout sufferer’s medicine chest.
Anthony was not thrilled with some of these recommendations, especially when it came to reducing his beer and scotch intake. But he agreed to give my suggestions a try for one month. At the end of the trial period, he called to say he was thrilled with the results.
“I missed drinking for a week or so, but I’ve lost weight and my toe is back to normal, so I’m sticking with this,” he told me. “As far as I’m concerned, gout is a four-letter word and I want no part of it!”