Gout

Gout

 

Gout is an intensely painful disorder caused by the buildup of uric acid. Although it affects both sexes, men are much more likely—by a factor of ten—to suffer from gout. The condition was once known as the “rich mans disease, and, in fact, it often strikes people who eat heavy, fatty foods and who overindulge in alcohol. Although this kind of diet was once solely the province of the wealthy, one no longer has to be rich to eat poorly. Today, the disease affects people across the entire spectrum of economic classes.

Uric acid is a metabolic by-product of protein breakdown. Purines raise uric acid levels in the body. Most purines are created by the body, but a few are taken in through food and drink. Since purines cant be absorbed, they are normally broken down by a digestive enzyme that allows them to be dissolved and passed out of the body in urine. If there is more uric acid than the enzymes can break down, the acid accumu- lates in the tissues and the bloodstream. Eventually, it crystallizes into needle-shaped deposits. These sharp crystals of uric acid poke their way into the tissue that surrounds a joint and ultimately penetrate the joint itself. The resulting pain is extreme and is usually followed by redness and swelling of the joint, which may be highly sensitive to the touch. The pain may go on for days or even weeks, and unless the cause of gout is addressed, the attack is likely to recur. A person with gout is also more likely to suf- fer from uric acid kidney stones. Gout most often occurs in the joint at the base of the big toe, but it may also appear in other locations like the ankle, the thumb, the wrist, the elbow, and even the earlobe.

Newer research is demonstrating that people with insulin resistance are more sus- ceptible to gout. It is estimated that 76 percent of people with gout have insulin resist- ance. With this condition, the cells become resistant to the hormone insulin, and blood glucose levels remain high. This in turn leads to increased insulin levels and a result- ing uric acid increase. If you follow a syndrome X–type diet (one rich in plant foods, moderate protein consumption—especially fish—and low in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates), uric acid decreases and the resultant gout flare-ups can be prevented. This, along with a calorie-restricted diet and exercise, should be the primary plan for people with gout.

Conventional medicines that lower the levels of uric acid are available, but you should consider them a last resort. For hundreds of years, the best way to treat gout has been with diet and detoxification therapies. Sometimes doctors automatically prescribe med- ication for gout because they dont believe their patients will commit to changing their diets. If your doctor suggests medication for you, explain to him or her that youre will- ing to try a new eating plan. You may find that you can forgo harsh medicines entirely.

 



SYMPTOMS

 

Sharp pain, usually in a single joint and most often in the big toe

Inflamed, red joints that feel hot and are tender to the touch

Fever  



ROOT CAUSES 

A diet high in saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol 

Insulin resistance

South African researchers placed men with a history of gout on a nonconven- tional diet more suited 

Dehydration (in people susceptible to gout)

Obesity

Kidney disease

Surgery

Joint injury

Stress

 

 

TREATMENT Diet

Recommended Food

 

Pharmaceutical medications that increase uric acid (e.g., aspirin, diuretics, and high-dose niacin therapy)

Lead toxicity

High blood pressure

Acidic system

for people  with

insulin resistance. The diet was higher in pro- tein, complex  carbo- hydrates (instead of refined  carbs), and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (instead of saturated fats). High purine foods, such as poultry and fish, were not restricted. After four months on this diet,

the average number  of gout attacks fell by

two thirds. The aver- age decrease in uric acid was 18 percent. In addition,  there was

an average loss of sev- enteen  pounds  and improvements in lipid markers such as low- ered LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and improved  good HDL cholesterol.

For the first stages of an attack, see the detoxification suggestions further on.

After the pain has subsided, introduce whole grains, nuts, seeds, and soy products into your meals. These foods are high in fiber, which encourages the elimination of uric acid, and soy products are excellent vegetarian sources of protein. Continue to eat several helpings of raw fruits and vegetables daily.

Berries, especially cherries, strawberries, and blueberries, neutralize uric acid. Eat fresh berries as snacks or for dessert, and drink a glass of cherry juice every day.

Flaxseeds are a highly concentrated source of essential fatty acids, the “good fats that reduce inflammation. Add flaxseeds to juices, salads, or fruit plates, or use the oil as a salad dressing.

One of the most important foods you can eat to prevent gout is fish. Eat fish such as salmon, cod, halibut, and sardines, as they reduce inflammation.

Drink as much clean water as you can. One glass every two waking hours should be your minimum consumption.

 

Food to Avoid

The traditional approach for treating gout has been to eliminate from your diet foods that are high in purines: red meat, meat broths and gravies, bouillon, consommé, sweetbreads, shellfish, anchovies, sardines, herring, mushrooms, asparagus, brewers yeast, fish, poultry, eggs, dried beans, peas, lentils, cooked spinach and rhubarb. How- ever, this is not only not necessary but for people with insulin resistance (the major- ity of gout sufferers), this can make your gout problem worse. Instead, focus on eating the foods in the recommended food list.

Rich foods aggravate gout pain. Stay away from saturated, hydrogenated and par- tially hydrogenated fats and oils, and do not eat products made with refined flour or sugar.

Alcohol increases uric acid levels. If you suffer from gout, you must not drink alco- hol in any form.

 

 

Detoxification

 

During an acute episode of gout, you may not feel much like eating. This response is useful, as it helps your body focus on eliminating the uric acid and discourages you from eating foods that may make the condition worse. When the pain begins, start a three-day juice fast; drink large quantities of cherry juice and green drinks (wheat- grass, chlorella, spirulina, etc.) and include plenty of clean water and herbal teas. This



fast will help speed the elimination of uric acid and reduce inflammation. Do not fast for more than three days, however, as prolonged periods without food can have a reverse effect and actually raise the levels of uric acid in your body.

After the fast, limit yourself to raw fruits and vegetables (along with juices, herbal teas, and water) for several days or until the pain subsides. These foods will encour- age further elimination of uric acid and will realkalinize your bodys internal environment. 

 

Testing Techniques

 

The following tests help assess possible reasons for gout: Urinary pH—urine

Blood pressure

Detoxification profile—urine

Vitamin and mineral analysis (especially magnesium, folic acid, B6, B12)—blood

Food and environmental allergies/sensitivities—blood, electrodermal

Blood-sugar balance—blood

 

A study of twelve people  with gout found that eating one- half pound  of fresh or canned cherries or drinking a full quart of cherry juice prevented gout attacks. In all twelve people,  uric acid levels returned  to normal,  and the gout attacks ceased.  Black, sweet yellow, and red sour cherries were all effective.

 

 

 

Super Seven Prescription—Gout

 

Super Prescription #1    Homeopathic Colchicum

Take a 30C potency every waking two hours for two days. This homeopathic rem- edy is specific for gout pains that are worse with any motion.

 

Super Prescription #2    Celery seed extract

Take 450 mg two to three times daily to treat and prevent gout. Celery seed extract has anti-inflammatory effects and may reduce uric acid levels.

 

Super Prescription #3    Nettle root (Urtica dioica)

Nettle root encourages the elimination of uric acid from the kidneys. Select a prod- uct made with the concentrated root extract, and take 250 mg three times a day.

 

Super Prescription #4    Fish oil

Take a daily dosage of a fish oil product containing at least 480 mg of EPA and 360 mg of DHA. Fish oil reduces inflammation in the joints.

 

Super Prescription #5    Chlorella

Take 500 mg four times daily. Chlorella is rich in chlorophyll and works to alka- linize the body.

 

Super Prescription #6    Bromelain

Take 500 mg three times daily between meals. Look for products standardized to 2,000 M.C.U. (milk-clotting units) per 1,000 mg or 1,200 G.D.U. (gelatin- dissolving units) per 1,000 mg. Bromelain has a natural anti-inflammatory effect. Protease enzyme products also have this benefit.

 

Super Prescription #7    Folic acid

Take 10 to 40 mg daily, under the supervision of a doctor. High doses of folic acid may help reduce uric acid levels.



 

P eople with gout should avoid high doses of niacin (more than 1,000  mg), as it can increase  uric acid in some individuals.

General Recommendations

 

Quercitin has natural anti-inflammatory effects. Take 500 to 1,000 mg three times daily.

Devils claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) should not be taken if you have a his- tory of gallstones, heartburn, or ulcers. Take 1,500 to 2,500 mg of the standardized powdered herb in capsule or tablet form daily, or use 1 to 2 ml of a tincture three times a day.

Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis) cleanses the kidneys. Take 500 mg or 1 to

2 ml three times daily. Be sure the preparation you use is made from the dried root.

A cream made with capsicum (cayenne pepper) has a remarkable and docu- mented ability to relieve pain. You can find capsicum cream at most health food stores. Apply the cream to the affected area two to four times daily for symptomatic relief. Choose a cream standardized to 0.025 to 0.075 percent capsaicin. Capsaicin depletes the nerves of substance P, a neurotransmitter that transmits pain messages.

 

 

Homeopathy

 

Pick the remedy that best matches your symptoms in this section. For acute gout pain, take a 30C potency four times daily. For low-grade gout pain, take a lower potency, such as 6x, 12x, or 12C, twice daily for two weeks to see if there are any positive results. After you notice improvement, stop taking the remedy, unless symptoms return. Consultation with a homeopathic practitioner is advised.

Arnica (Arnica montana) is for deep, bruising pain.

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna) is for intense, throbbing, and burning pain that comes on quickly. The joint looks red and is worse from jarring.

Bryonia (Bryonia alba) is for pain that intensifies with the slightest touch or move- ment. The person becomes very irritable.

Ledum (Ledum palustre) is the remedy for throbbing pain that is better from ice and cold-water applications. The knees and the feet are affected.

Pulsatilla (Pulsatilla pratensis) will ease pain that moves around within the joint and that improves with gentle motion and the application of a cold compress.

Rhododendron is for gout of the big toe that flares up before a storm. Warm appli- cations feel better.

Sulphur is for gout where there is a burning sensation and itching of the skin. Symp- toms are better with cold applications and worse from any heat.

 

 

Acupressure

 

No matter where gout surfaces in your body, you can use Large Intestine 4 to signif- icantly reduce the pain.

 

 

Bodywork

 

Massage

Do not rub the painful joint, as a local massage will only aggravate the pain. (Dur- ing an acute attack, you probably wont even want to touch the area.) However, a lym- phatic massage for the rest of the body will help break down toxins, and it will help distract you, albeit temporarily, from the gout. Add juniper oil to the massage for added detoxification benefits.



Reflexology

Work the areas corresponding to the kidneys and to the body part affected by gout.

 

Hydrotherapy

Some people find that cold water is welcome relief for a “hot” joint; others find that warm or hot hydrotherapy is more soothing. You will probably know instinctively which is best for you, so choose between the following suggestions accordingly.

During an acute attack, hold the joint under cold running water. Follow up with a cool bath.

Constitutional hydrotherapy can be used to help with acute gout and prevent fur- ther problems, due to its detoxifying qualities.

 

Other  Bodywork  Recommendations

Apply a hot or cold compress to the affected joint. To speed up the expulsion of uric acid, you can add juniper oil to the compress.

Acupuncture can be very helpful for acute gout.

 

Aromatherapy

Juniper oil helps break down toxic deposits and carries them away from the body. Add it to a hot sitz bath or a compress, or dilute it in a carrier oil and use in a massage (but dont rub the affected joint directly).

 

 

Stress Reduction

 

Meditation is an excellent therapy for people suffering from gout. With practice, you can learn how to focus so intensely that you can switch your attention away from pain. And since stress and tension often trigger attacks of gout, regular stress- reduction techniques such as positive imagery may help reduce your chances of a recurring episode.

 

 

Bach Flower Remedies

 

See the chart on pages 648–650 to find the remedy that best suits your personality and tendencies. Once youve chosen a remedy, place 10 drops of the liquid under your tongue. Hold the drops in place for thirty seconds and swallow. Use as often as needed.

Rescue Remedy is for any emotional or physical crisis. Take it when gout pain starts up, or when you experience some emotionally stressful event that might trigger the pain.

If you tend to be frustrated by people who dont share your way of doing things, take Beech. It will help develop your tolerance.

Gorse is for people who are overwhelmed by their illness and who feel that noth- ing can be done to improve their condition.

Holly will help people who project a confident, even aggressive, image, but who are eaten up inside by feelings of insecurity or jealousy.

If you are a busy, quick-thinking sort who cannot tolerate slow-moving people, Impatiens will help.

If you feel apathetic and resigned to having gout, Wild Rose would be a good selection.



Other Recommendations

 

Exercise will stimulate blood flow and decrease pain. Try a nonimpact sport like swimming.

Magnet therapy can be effective in alleviating the pain of gout. Use as directed by a knowledgeable practitioner.

People who are overweight are more vulnerable to gout than others are. If you need to lose weight, the dietary suggestions here can help. For further sugges- tions, see Obesity.

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