Have you experienced the severe pain caused by gout?
Identifying the cause of gout pain is the first step to addressing the inflammation caused by gout, and it is possible to eliminate gout naturally.
For some people, medications may be necessary, but if you get to the root cause they may not be necessary.
For some people, this is going to be genetics but just because your dad (or mum) had gout, it does not mean that you have to as well, it could be that you are both eating the same dietary triggers that cause gout.
The first step is to start with some comprehensive blood testing to rule out other potential causes, as well as other imbalances that can be contributing to gout.
I would also recommend testing gut function, as gut bacteria and parasites can also be a contributing factor to inflammation and gout.
Understanding Gout and Its Causes
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis characterized by sudden and severe pain in the joints.
It results from elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, which can form sharp, needle-like crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue, leading to intense pain, swelling, and redness.
The Role of Uric Acid in Gout
Uric acid is a waste product that is typically filtered out by the kidneys and excreted in urine.
Gout occurs when the body either produces too much uric acid or the kidneys excrete too little.
When uric acid levels build up, urate crystals can form in joints, particularly in the big toe, knees, ankles, and wrists, causing inflammatory reactions and painful gout attacks.
Having a painful big toe may seem funny to other people, but if you have experienced a gout flare-up you know how debilitating this pain can be.
Common Triggers of Gout Attacks
Factors that may increase the risk of a gout attack include dietary choices and certain health conditions.
Foods high in purines, such as red meat and seafood, can increase uric acid production.
Excessive alcohol consumption, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fructose can also trigger higher levels of uric acid.
Other common triggers are rapid weight loss, dehydration, surgery, or sudden, severe illness.
Regular monitoring and control of these factors are essential in managing gout and preventing future attacks.
What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Gout
Using a natural treatment plan for gout may help you to avoid taking painkillers which can come with a wide range of side effects.
Allopurinol is a safer gout medication but it is usually prescribed long term and while the side effects will be less than painkillers like NSAIDs it can still have some side effects.
If you are in acute pain and looking for the fastest way to get relief from gout I would start with using ice packs for 15 minutes on an hourly basis. This is also when Ibuprofen may be necessary to help give you quick relief.
Natural gout treatments start with diet and lifestyle changes which I will list below, and while it may take some effort to improve your diet it can also help to prevent many chronic health issues.
If you follow these suggestions you will prevent the flare-ups.
1 - Diet To Eliminate Gout Naturally
A gout diet eliminates a lot of "bad" processed foods from your diet which is great for your overall health, but it also cuts out some healthy foods, especially some seafood which is high in purines.
- A diet low in purines. Purines are organic compounds that contribute to uric acid formation. Purine-rich foods to reduce include anchovies, mackerel, shellfish, asparagus, red meat (especially processed meats), mushrooms, mussels, sardines, peanuts, yeast (bread), and organ meats.
- Eggs, nuts, and seeds like almonds, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, tofu, and chicken are all good sources of protein and are alternatives to red meats, grass-fed meats in moderation should be ok
- Cottage cheese, goat cheese, ricotta cheese, and natural yogurt are the best sources of dairy for you to be eating
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, and tofu are excellent protein sources with lower purine content compared to meats.
- Nuts: A healthy source of protein and fats with a low purine content, nuts can be a good snack option.
- Increase consumption of blueberries, cherries, and strawberries as they neutralize uric acid and have antioxidant properties. Black cherry juice is fantastic and I recommend this supplement.
- Alcohol both increases the production of uric acid and reduces uric acid elimination. Beer and wine also contain yeast and ideally should be eliminated in the short term and once symptoms are under control only consumed occasionally.
2 - Hydration and Its Effect on Gout
Proper hydration plays a crucial role in managing and potentially reducing the risk of gout attacks. When you consume ample fluids, it aids the kidneys in flushing out excess uric acid, which is a primary contributor to gout.
The target is to stay well-hydrated throughout the day, as dehydration can precipitate gout symptoms.
The consumption of alcohol, especially beer and spirits, is often linked to an increased risk of gout attacks. These beverages can increase the levels of uric acid by accelerating its production and impairing the kidney’s ability to eliminate it from the body. Therefore, it is recommended that people with gout minimize or altogether avoid alcohol intake.
While some evidence suggests that the diuretic effect of coffee may increase the need for water, moderate coffee drinking has been associated with a lower risk of developing gout. However, one should ensure that coffee consumption does not substitute for water intake, as staying hydrated with water is key.
In contrast, sodas—particularly those sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup—may increase the risk of gout. They can interfere with the body's uric acid levels and potentially trigger a gout attack. For a more gout-friendly diet, it is advised to replace sugary sodas with water or other healthier beverage alternatives.
As well as drinking plenty of water other options include herbal teas - especially dandelion leaf and nettle tea as they can help to lower uric acid levels.
Recommended Hydration for Gout
- Aim for at least 8 glasses of water or herbal teas per day.
- If you like flavour add lemon juice to the water or have some black cherry juice
- Limit or avoid alcohol consumption.
- Moderation with coffee; do not replace water with caffeinated beverages.
- Steer clear of sugary sodas and opt for healthier beverage options.
3 - Natural Remedies for Gout
Natural supplements have emerged as supportive aids for managing gout. They often provide anti-inflammatory benefits and can contribute to reducing uric acid levels in the body.
Herbal Remedies for Gout
Cherries and Cherry Extract: Cherries are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and have been observed to help reduce uric acid levels. Cherry juice, in particular, is recommended for gout sufferers due to its concentration of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Turmeric: This vibrant yellow spice contains a compound called curcumin that has pain relief effects which may benefit with the treatment of gout.
Ginger: Recognized by the American College of Rheumatology as a food that can have anti-inflammatory effects, ginger can be consumed fresh, as an extract, or in tea to potentially alleviate gout symptoms.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Vitamin C: As an antioxidant, vitamin C aids in decreasing uric acid levels. Research suggests that regular intake can be beneficial for preventing gout attacks.
Bromelain: Found in pineapples, bromelain is a digestive enzyme that may help inflamed joints associated with gout.
Magnesium: An essential mineral, magnesium is known for its role in supporting various bodily functions, including the reduction of inflammation.
Omega 3 fatty acids - these are especially important to help with inflammation, plus you are avoiding seafood and other purine foods that contain high levels of healthy fats.
Natural gout remedies don't replace the need to follow the "Gout Diet" or make lifestyle changes.
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4 - Gout and Exercise
The key to managing gout naturally is adopting lifestyle changes that mitigate the risk of flare-ups. This includes regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and employing techniques to reduce stress, all of which minimize the likelihood of inflammation and gout attacks.
Regular exercise not only helps achieve and maintain a healthy weight but also can reduce uric acid levels and gout flare incidents. They should focus on moderate activities such as swimming, biking, or walking which do not place excessive stress on the joints. It's recommended that individuals:
- Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
- Incrementally increase activity levels, especially if not accustomed to regular exercise.
While these tips will help you eliminate gout it is also important to address your health as a whole and not just treat symptoms .... other important factors to address are sleep, digestion, hormones and your mental outlook which we will discuss.
5 - Reduce Weight
This goes hand in hand with a healthy diet and exercise program, for many people just focusing on these two things should lead to weight loss if they are overweight.
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the strain on joints and decreases the risk of gout attacks.
If you are overweight it is ok if the weight comes off slowly and rapid weight loss is not always the best long-term strategy. But if you are getting enough exercise and daily movement, and you have changed your diet but not experiencing the health benefits of weight loss there are some things that you may need to check.
- Check thyroid hormone levels, an under-active thyroid is a common cause of weight gain.
- Check insulin levels, insulin resistance can cause weight gain and lead to gout.
- Track your macronutrients for a few days and make sure you are not over-eating.
- Check stress levels and sleep as high stress and insomnia can lead to weight gain.
6 - Gout and Genetics
The benefits of coffee for gout may depend on your DNA. Those who carry a particular variant of the CYP1A2 gene may both have an increased risk of gout and a tendency to drink less coffee than others.
Consuming excess meat, sugar, and alcohol can all raise your uric acid levels, contributing to your risk of gout. The link between these indulgences and gout may in fact be inherited.
Those with particular variants of the GCKR, SLC17A4, or SLC2A9 genes may be at an increased risk of gout if they consume excess meats, alcohol, or sugar, respectively
About 30% of differences in people’s chances of developing gout may be due to genetics. It is more common to develop in middle age and if people get it at a younger age it tends to be more severe.
Other genetic snps associated with high uric acid levels include ABCG2, SLC22A11, SLC22A12, SLC17A1.
The best way to assess your genetics and get a detailed report on the genes that are affecting gout is with SelfDecode, with SelfDecode you get over 500 health reports on a wide range of topics.
7 - Cold Therapy For Gout Pain
Using cold therapy, such as an ice pack or cold compress, can be an effective way to reduce inflammation and dull pain. It’s advisable to apply a cold pack to the affected joint for 15-20 minutes at a time. This can be done hourly or as needed and helps to decrease redness, swelling, and discomfort.
Athletes have been using ice baths for many years to improve recovery, help with painful joints and other inflammatory conditions, and ice baths can be helpful for gout sufferers too!
The Wim Hof method is popular amongst athletes and biohackers. It uses a combination of breathing exercises with cold water therapy, which can be cold showers or ice baths and can help with the treatment of gout.
8 - Gout and the Microbiome
Humans do not produce uricase, this is an enzyme responsible for breaking down and eliminating uric acid. However, your gut bacteria can help to degrade and eliminate uric acid.
Having a healthy microbiome is essential for good health, especially having healthy levels of bacteria that produce butyrate, this is a short-chain fatty acid that helps with inflammation.
A balanced diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, and healthy fiber, while being low in processed foods and avoiding excessive sugar intake is the first step to a healthy microbiome.
Medications, infections, and high stress can all affect your gut bacteria.
I recommend the Gut Zoomer stool test to assess the microbiome, leaky gut, and other inflammatory markers that may indicate your digestion is contributing to your inability to excrete uric acid effectively.
9 - Medications That Can Trigger Gout
Various medications could inadvertently elevate your risk of developing gout. Understanding these can help you make informed decisions about your health.
- Low-Dose Aspirin: Often prescribed to thwart heart attacks and strokes, daily consumption of low-dose aspirin may have a lesser-known downside by potentially increasing your susceptibility to gout.
- Thiazide Diuretics: These are commonly prescribed to manage high blood pressure and conditions like congestive heart failure. However, they might also contribute to elevated uric acid levels in the body, a precursor to gout.
- Immunosuppressants: Medications like cyclosporine, widely used post-organ transplants and for certain rheumatologic conditions, can also increase the risk of gout. Their effect on your immune system might indirectly influence your body's uric acid levels.
- Levodopa (Sinemet): The go-to for many battling Parkinson’s disease, Levodopa can unfortunately contribute to higher gout risk, necessitating a balance between managing Parkinson's symptoms and preventing gout.
- Niacin (Vitamin B-3): While boosting HDL (the "good" cholesterol) in your blood, Niacin might inadvertently raise uric acid levels, making it a double-edged sword in your health regimen.
Expanding the Horizon: Other Medications to Consider
Beyond these common medications, it's important to be aware of others that could influence gout risk:
- Anti-Tuberculosis Drugs: Certain medications used to treat tuberculosis are known to elevate uric acid levels.
- Some Chemotherapy Agents: These can cause rapid cell turnover, leading to increased uric acid production.
- Beta-Blockers: Used for heart conditions, these can also contribute to elevated uric acid levels.
Balancing Act: Managing Medication and Gout Risk
If you're concerned about your medications and gout risk, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider. They can help navigate the complexities of your medication regimen while considering your gout risk. Remember, never alter or stop your medication without professional advice.
10 - Gout, When To See A Doctor
Eliminating gout naturally requires a comprehensive approach that includes lifestyle adjustments and natural remedies.
Medical consultation is also crucial to rule out other causes of your pain. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice sudden severe joint pain, particularly in the feet, big toe, ankles, or knees, accompanied by swelling and redness.
Regular blood testing is vital for those already diagnosed to tailor treatment appropriately.
Navigating Gout Medications
Various medications target gout differently—some control flare-ups, while others prevent future occurrences.
Medications like colchicine and allopurinol lower uric acid levels, while corticosteroids and NSAIDs ease pain and inflammation. However, avoid aspirin as it can increase uric acid. Always understand and adhere to your prescribed treatment plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
In addressing gout through natural means, it's essential for individuals to be informed about effective home remedies, dietary considerations, and lifestyle changes that can prevent flare-ups and manage symptoms.
What are the most effective home remedies for gout treatment?
For those seeking to treat gout at home, hydration is paramount. Staying hydrated can assist in flushing uric acid from the body. Applications of cold packs can reduce inflammation and pain during acute flare-ups.
Which foods should be avoided to prevent gout flare-ups?
Individuals with gout are advised to avoid foods high in purines, such as red meats, organ meats, and seafood, to help prevent gout attacks. Moreover, alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup can increase the risk of flare-ups.
What natural supplements can help lower uric acid levels?
Certain supplements like vitamin C and cherry extract are touted for their potential to lower uric acid levels. However, one should consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen to ensure it's safe and effective for their specific situation.
Can gout be treated effectively with lifestyle modifications?
Yes, lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, and engaging in regular, low-impact exercises can contribute to managing gout effectively. These modifications support the reduction of uric acid levels and minimize the risk of gout attacks.
What are the immediate steps to relieve gout pain at home?
During an acute gout attack, it's recommended to rest the affected joint and apply ice to reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may also provide rapid pain relief; however, it's crucial to ensure proper dosages and consult a healthcare provider.
How can chronic gout be managed naturally over the long term?
Long-term management of chronic gout involves consistent dietary management, regular exercise, and possibly the introduction of natural remedies known to support uric acid balance like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Regular monitoring and working with a healthcare provider can also help tailor a sustainable approach to managing gout.
Tests To Consider
At Planet Naturopath we offer a wide range of functional medicine testing to help you get to the root cause of your health concerns, or simply help you optimize your health.
You can also check our All Tests Available page for the full list of available testing options.
Gut Zoomer + Wheat Zoomer
The Gut Zoomer panel is a detailed analysis of gut health, assessing pathogens, beneficial bacteria, and intestinal health markers for inflammation and absorption.
The Wheat Zoomer helps with understanding your reaction to wheat, but even more importantly it identifies leaky gut, high levels of lipopolysaccharides as these are associated with brain health.
The Gut Zoomer panel is a detailed analysis of gut health, assessing pathogens, beneficial bacteria, and intestinal health markers for inflammation and absorption.
Food Sensitivity Complete
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