If you have ever had an attack of gout, you will know just how painful it is. It affects approximately two out of 100 people and there are several factors that put some people at greater risk of developing it.
Gender and age
Gout is more common in men than in women. However contrary to popular belief, it actually affects men at a younger age than women. Men usually develop gout between the ages of 30 and 45. Women do not typically develop gout until after menopause, between the ages of 55 and 70.
If other members of your family have had gout, you are at greater risk for the disease.
Certain medical conditions
Certain health conditions can cause higher levels of uric acid in the blood. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and some types of anaemias.
Diuretics used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease can increase uric acid levels, and so can aspirin. Medications that suppresses the immune system and used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, can also make you more likely to develop gout.
Being overweight and drinking too much alcohol and a diet that is too high in protein can increase your risk for gout.
What causes gout
Gout can develop when your body produces too much uric acid or when it does not eliminate enough of it and it builds up and forms crystals in joints. Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines, which are substances naturally found in your body, as well as in some protein-rich foods.
If you are one of the many suffers of gout and living in dread of the next attack, then read on for my tips to help prevent an attack.
As mentioned above people who are overweight or have high blood pressure are at greater risk of developing gout. However, weight loss should not be rapid because restriction of calories can increase uric acid levels temporarily, which may aggravate the condition. A weight-loss of 1-2lb a week is best for someone with a history of gout.
Studies have shown, eating 200g of cherries or drinking an equivalent amount of cherry juice prevented attacks of gout. Black, sweet yellow, and red sour cherries were all effective. there have been many anecdotal reports of cherry juice as an effective treatment for the pain and inflammation of gout.
The active ingredient in cherry juice remains unknown, but a study in healthy volunteers found that eating about 200g of cherries per day for four weeks decreased levels of C-reactive protein (a measure of inflammation)
Avoiding alcohol, particularly beer, or limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day or less may reduce the number of attacks of gout. Refined sugars, including sucrose (white table sugar) and fructose (the sugar found in fruit juice), should also be restricted, because they have been reported to raise uric acid levels. In addition, consumption of large amounts of fructose or sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks was associated with an increased risk of gout.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis that happens when too much uric acid builds up and forms crystals in your joints. Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down substance called purines, which are substances naturally found in your body, as well as in protein-rich foods
One of the things that may help you manage your gout is to reduce the amount of purines you eat.
Restricting purine intake can reduce the risk of an attack in people susceptible to gout. Foods and drinks that often trigger gout attacks include organ meats, game meats, mincemeat and some types of fish, sardines, scallops, shrimp, fruit juice, sugary sodas and alcohol. On the other hand, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, soy products and low-fat dairy products may help prevent gout attacks by lowering uric acid levels.
Best Foods for a Gout Diet
You’ll want to go for low-purine options like:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Nuts, peanut butter, and grains
Fat and oil
Potatoes, rice, bread, and pasta (wholegrain)
Eggs (in moderation)
Meats like fish, chicken, and red meat are fine in moderation
In addition to following your doctor's treatment plan, there are choices you can make to prevent gout attacks and future joint damage.
Exercise and watch what you eat in order to maintain a healthy body weight
Drink plenty of water to help flush uric acid from your system
Avoid sugary drinks
Eat complex carbohydrates
Get protein from low-fat dairy products. Meat and seafood are high in purines. Eating too much of these may increase uric acid levels in some people.
In one small study, people who took 4 grams of vitamin had an increase in urinary excretion of uric acid within a few hours, and those who took 8 grams of vitamin C per day for a few days had a reduction in serum uric acid levels.
Therefore, supplemental vitamin C could, in theory, reduce the risk of gout attacks.
However, the authors of this study warned that taking large amounts of vitamin C could also trigger an acute attack of gout by abruptly changing uric acid levels in the body.
Another study showed that taking lower amounts of vitamin C (500 mg per day) for two months significantly reduced blood levels of uric acid, especially in people whose initial uric acid levels were elevated. For people with a history of gout attacks, it seems reasonable to begin vitamin C supplementation at 500 mg per day, and to increase the amount gradually if uric acid levels do not decrease.
In test tube studies, quercetin, a flavonoid, has inhibited an enzyme involved in the production of uric acid in the body. In one trial, supplementation with 500 mg of quercetin once a day for 4 weeks significantly decreased blood levels of uric acid by an average of 8% in men with uric acid levels in the high-normal range. Decreasing uric acid levels may help prevent gout attacks.
If you suspect you are suffering from gout, your first port of call should be a visit to your GP who may prescribe medication to help with the pain and inflammation. To help prevent further attacks you may benefit from a consultation with a nutritional therapist who can advise you on the right supplements and therapeutic diet.
Due to level 5 restrictions my clinic is closed for the present, however I am still taking bookings for online consultations, so just pop me a message if you would like to schedule an appointment. contact details below.
Debbie Devane from The Nutri Coach is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and health & lifestyle coach, Debbie runs her clinic from the Glenard Clinic in Mountmellick and also offers one to one online consultations. Debbie is also Nutritionist to the Offaly GAA senior footballers.
For more information or to make an appointment email Debbie at
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