By Dr Sam Bailey
How can you prevent gout naturally? What is the main cause of Gout? What should you do if your uric acid is high?
What is Gout?
Gout is a common form of arthritis that causes your joints to swell painfully. It’s caused by a chemical in your blood called uric acid. If there’s too much uric acid in your blood, it turns into tiny, sharp, glass-like crystals. The crystals collect in your joints and irritate the tissues causing inflammation, swelling, and pain – a gout attack.
Gout can damage your joints and your kidneys if it’s not treated.
Who gets Gout?
It affects around 1% of the population. It tends to run in families.
Generally, uric acid levels are elevated for 20 years before gout develops. In men uric acid levels rise at puberty so gout is often diagnosed in their 4th to 6th decade of life. Oestrogen protects young women from gout; uric acid levels rise at menopause and gout is often diagnosed in their 6th to 8th decade of life.
High Purine Foods:
- Alcoholic beverages (all types)
- Some fish, seafood and shellfish, including anchovies, sardines, herring, mussels, codfish, scallops, trout and haddock
- Some meats, such as bacon, turkey, veal, venison and organ meats like liver and kidney
- Yeast extracts such as Marmite and Vegemite
- Meat extracts such as Bovril.
High Uric Acid Causes?
- A diet that is high in animal-based protein, especially meat and seafood.
- Moderate to high alcohol intake, especially of beer.
- High intake of fructose, a sugar found in sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit juices (apples and oranges).
- Being overweight
- Kidney disease makes it harder to get rid of uric acid
- Some types of anaemia (Haemolytic anaemia and Pernicious anaemia).
Medications that cause high Uric Acid levels:
• Furosemide eg Lasix
• Thiazide diuretics eg Bendrofluazide
• Immunosuppressants eg Ciclosporin
• Low dose Aspirin
Please discuss your medications with your pharmacist if you are unsure.
Gout Research Papers:
1. The association of vitamin C, alcohol, coffee, tea, milk and yogurt with uric acid and gout. Int J Rheum Dis 2015 Jun;18(5):495-501. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1756-185X.12622
- Effectiveness of Cherries in Reducing Uric Acid and Gout: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2019 Dec 4;2019:9896757. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31885677/