Gout

Symptoms   Causes   Detailed nutritional/lifestyle discussion

Gout is a type of painful inflammation resulting from heightened levels of uric acid crystallize and gather in joints and tendons and the tissues near them. Gout arises from consumption of too many high-purine foods or the inability of the body to effectively eliminate uric acid. Any joints may suffer gout attacks; the commonly known attack of gout in the big toe is called podagra. Chronically high uric acid levels can also contribute to kidney stones (urolithiasis).

Recommendations

Nutrition

  • Folic acid may reduce uric acid levels.
  • Vitamin C, in small amounts, may be helpful.
  • Quercetin is effective in test tube and animal research.

Diet

Lifestyle

Patients with high blood pressure or who are overweight have greater risk of having a gout attack.5 At the same time, rapid weight loss is not recommended because too few calories can have the effect of increasing levels of uric acid in the short term, thus increasing risk.

There are a number of proactive steps one can take to relieve the symptoms of Gout regarding diet, exercise and specific nutritional supplementation.

Symptoms

  • Sudden onset of intense pain and tenderness in afflicted joint.
  • Joint is swollen and red and feels warm.
  • Joint is extremely sensitive so that walking and even slight pressure from clothing, shoes or bed sheets causes intense pain.

What Causes Gout Pain ?

High levels of uric acid in the blood is called hyperuricemia. In this state instead of uric acid being naturally dissolved in the blood, it instead forms tiny, microscopic crystals that accumulate in and around the joints. In addition, it may, uncrystallize d, accumulate under the skin as chalk-colored nodes (tophi) or as kidney stones in the urinary system.

Causes - Excess Uric Acid

Gout arises from crystallization of excessive levels of uric acid. Although occurs naturally in the body as a byproduct of purine metabolism, in excess it can give rise not only to gout, but to diabetes and kidney stones. The excess may be due to:

  • the body produces more uric acid
  • the kidneys do not properly metabolize and eliminate uric acid
  • consumption of high purine foods

Why Higher Uric Acid?

Gout may form due to more than high consumption of purines: See a detailed list of high, moderate and low purine food examples.

  • Certain organ meats
  • Some types of seafood
  • Some types of dried beans and peas
  • Some vegetables
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Refined sugars
  • Some drugs for hypertension
  • Kidney disease

Conventional Treatment

Gout attacks are usually treated with colchicine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids. Your medical professional will usually recommend resting the joint. Doctors may prescribe allopurinol to decrease uric acid production, or probenecid or sulfinpyrazone to increase the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys.

Related Conditions

Hypertension due to water retention.

Studies

See footnote references.