Gout - Causes & How to Minimise Attacks!

Author: Kaylee Dunbar   Date Posted:19 April 2016 

Gout was once referred to as the ‘rich man’s disease’ or ‘king’s disease’ because it is developed by overindulging in foods that were once considered to be of a luxurious nature, such as; seafood, organ meats and alcohol.

Interestingly enough the first occurrence of gout dates back to approximately 2500 years ago and it has been documented that many famous historians like Christopher Columbus, Alexander the Great, Charles Dickens and Leonardo Da Vinci all experienced gout.

Did you know that gout is a form of arthritis that causes a sudden onset of symptoms such as pain, tenderness, swelling and redness particularly in the big toe?

Let’s take a look at the risk factors associated with the development of gout, what causes it and what we can do to minimise the occurrence of those nasty gout attacks!

What Causes Gout to Occur?

Gout occurs when the kidneys are unable to remove excess uric acid from the blood stream. This results in the formation of uric acid crystals that become deposited into the joints, tendons and kidneys. This causes the symptoms of gout and can be extremely debilitating and uncomfortable!

Risk factors associated with the development of gout:

  • 1 in 4 people who have a family history of gout develop the disease themselves.
  • Obesity.
  • Excess consumption of alcohol.
  • High purine diet.
  • A joint injury.
  • Being stationary for a long period of time can trigger a gout attack, for example after surgery or sudden illness.

Gout is also more commonly experienced by men between the ages of 40 to 50 and post menopausal women.

So what causes excess uric acid production?

  • Hyperuricemia  – A medical condition that causes excess uric acid to be produced in the bloodstream.
  • Your dietary choices – Foods that are rich in purines: The body converts this chemical compound into uric acid.

The following foods and beverages contain high levels of purines and or fructose that can elevate uric acid levels:

Beverages:

Alcohol Soft Drinks
Fruit Juices Cordials

 

Meats:

Organ Meats Shellfish Mackerel Mussels
Red Meats Herring Anchovies Scallops
Poultry Sardines Caviar

 

Vegetables:

Dried Legumes Asparagus Cauliflower
Spinach Mushrooms

 

High fructose fruits such as: NB: although fruits are rich in nutrients it is important to limit your intake of high fructose fruits.

*Apples *Oranges
*Pears *Grapes
*Watermelon *Pomegranate
*Mango

 

Refined carbohydrates:

*White bread *White pasta
*Cakes *Lollies
*Cereals (processed) *Potato chips

 

Yeast rich foods:

*Beer *Cider
*Vegemite *Fruit skins of plumbs and grapes

 

Anti-inflammatory foods that you may wish to include in your daily diet to minimise systemic inflammation and tissue damage associated with a gout attack include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Broelain found in pineapples

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Good news!

There are ways which may help minimise future gout attacks! So follow these top tips:

Supplementation that may help lower uric acid levels.

  • Reduce alcohol intake and avoid binge drinking  Alcohol contains high levels of purines that promote the production of uric acid.
  • Consume a low purine diet  To keep uric acid concentrations in the blood stream to a minimal.
  • Exercise regularly  Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity daily to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Avoid crash diets – If you want to reduce your body weight do it gradually because losing weight too quickly can increase uric acid levels in the body.
  • Handle stress in a positive manner  Try to relieve stress by writing your thoughts in a journal, partaking in yoga, going for a walk on the beach or vising friends and family. This will help to avoid the consumption of comfort foods and beverages that may be problematic for the development of gout.
  • Folic Acid – Helps to inhibit the enzyme that produces uric acid called xanthine oxidase.
  • Celery seeds – Has an anti-inflammatory and diuretic action that may help to support kidney function to excrete excess uric acid from the blood stream.2
  • Dandelion  Has a diuretic action that may help to support kidney function to excrete excess uric acid from the blood stream. Also has a high potassium content that offsets the loss of potassium due to this products diuretic affect.
  • Sour Cherry juice or fresh cherries (1/2 cup or 10-12 cherries is equivalent to one serve), consume one to two servings of cherries each day  Contains a high antioxidant profile, able to reduce uric acid levels minimising the symptoms of gout.
  • Vitamin C  Helps to lower uric acid levels in the blood stream.
Written by Kaylee Dunbar

Kaylee has a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy and an Advanced Diploma as a Pharmacy Technician. Her passion for natural medicine first began when she worked as a pharmacy technician and saw how many people were looking for more ways to support their health. This sparked her interest in learning how to support health using complementary medicine alongside orthodox medicine. Her main objective is to inspire and educate others about the benefits of natural medicine and how to apply it to everyday life.

Although Kaylee is passionate about natural medicine she does not mind a glass of red wine every now and again!Stay hydrated – Ensure that you maintain an adequate water intake to ensure that urine remains dilute to promote the excretion of excess uric acid from the blood stream.