Gout results from abnormally high levels of uric acid (a substance produced when the body breaks down purines found in human tissue and many foods) in the blood stream. The excess uric acid leads to the formation of tiny crystals of urate that deposit in tissues of the body, especially the joints. The crystallization causes persistent attacks of inflammation in the joints. Uric acid is carried through the bloodstream to the kidneys where it is dispelled from the body through urine. When the body produces too much uric acid or if the kidneys are unable to get rid of most of it, uric acid will build up in the blood. This condition is called hyperuricemia.
Having hyperuricemia doesn’t mean that gout will occur, however if uric acid crystals form, a painful gout attack can occur at any time. Gout is associated with arthritis as it can cause an attack of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint. The attacks are usually recurring if treatment isn’t administered. Chronic gout can also lead to deposits of hard lumps of uric acid in and around the joints and may cause joint destruction, decreased kidney function, and kidney stones.
The most common symptom of gout is a nighttime attack of swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, and sharp pain in the joint of the big toe. Gout attacks can also occur in the ankles, knees, instep, wrists, fingers, and elbows. Rarely, the shoulders, hips, or spine may be affected. The disease is more common in men than women, usually occurring just after puberty; in women gout is more likely to develop after menopause.
Home and Natural Remedies for Gout
- Persons that have gout attacks should ensure they get plenty of bed rest when they are experiencing attack, up to a day afterward.
- An easy but effective home remedy is to apply ice pack to the affected joints.
- Incorporate a low-purine diet by avoiding foods that are high in purines to help in managing uric acid levels in the body. Avoid alcohol, coffee, fried foods, ice-cream and rich desserts. Eat foods that are high in potassium and fiber. A high fiber diet aids in removing uric acid by absorbing bile acids formed in the liver.
- A study done in Spain in 2003 revealed that orange juice is an effective remedy in lowering uric acid levels. Two glasses of orange juice resulting in at least 250mg of vitamin C per day is the recommended dosage. Lemon juice prevents gout attacks by stimulating the formation of calcium carbonate in the body. Calcium carbonate neutralizes acids in the body, including uric acid that triggers gout attacks. Drink lemon juice with a glass of water after each meal.
- Vitamin C is said to lower uric acid levels by stimulating the kidneys to excrete more uric acid.
- Take 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with meals to prevent gout attacks. Bicarbonate of soda is an alkalizing agent that works by making uric acids more soluble and thus easier to remove from the body. As baking soda is high in sodium consult with a medical professional before trying this gout remedy.
- Celery is a diuretic, which means it elevates the rate of urination and by extension helps in removing uric acid from the body. Celery can be consumed by eating the stalks or seed extracts.
- Research done in 1950 showed that cherries are one of the most popular natural remedies for gout. They contain a sub class of flavonoids called anthocyanidins that are high in antioxidant and are anti-inflammatory which can both block pain and reduce levels of uric acid. This is possible because their anthocyanidins inhibit xanthine oxidase, an enzyme involved in the production of uric acid.