It happens that I have accumulated some information about treating gout...but I haven't had gout personally.
I think this might be because I was a vegetarian for over 15 years, and still don't eat very much red meat.
I also never drank alcohol for over 30 years, although now I have an occasional glass of wine, but I try to find wine that has no sulfites in it, because the sulfites give me a headache. Which leads me to think that maybe its the sulfites that cause some hangovers?
I have an interest in health and nutrition, regular allopathic and alternative medicine, and so I sometimes recommend things to others. I posted these recommendations a while back on Gout in another forum which I think is about to be closed down.
So I am using this blog to consolidate my writings on various things, since I spent so much time composing them in the first place.
First, a little background about my philosophy regarding health and wellness:
I believe that a lot of health care is really about prevention.
And a lot of treatments can be done or assisted with changes in lifestyle.
I believe in using the least invasive treatments first, and only using the most invasive, expensive things as a last resort, (unless of course, time is of the essence.)
And I believe that with so many people not having health care insurance, I think that we all need to share our good ideas and experiences about treating diseases and staying healthy so that we can build up our collective knowledge of wellness, particularly in these economic times when it seems that everyone has so little to spend on traditional medical cares and pharmaceuticals.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should stop going to the Doctor, or should stop using prescriptions. I'm saying we should have more choices and options available to us, and some of this isn't rocket science, either. More like common sense, combined with common experiences, and trial and error over hundreds of years.
Doctors don't have a lot of incentive to promote this kind of stuff, because its not patented and you can't make money promoting it. Anyway, its not their job. They leave it up to us to stay as healthy as we can, and then we go to them to fix stuff we can't.
In the case of gout, it is a disease of lifestyle, like type 2 diabetes. So it develops rather slowly and is seldom a dire emergency, until it gets severe in its later stages, where someone's feet swell up and make walking impossible, with sometimes extreme pain and discomfort.
So here are my postings:
Disclaimer: >>> I'm not a doctor.
Uric acid is the primary cause of Gout. Uric acid is produced in the body primarily from the digestion of meat. Red meat, white meat, chicken, fish, any flesh foods force the body to make uric acid as a toxic by-product of digestion. Any excess floating in your bloodstream can crystalize and these sharp-edged crystals settle low in the body and can cause extreme pain.
You dissolve it like sugar--drink a lot of water (not alcohol) to dilute it. Raise your feet up. Eliminate the original source--meat proteins.
Increase your urine output any way you can, even try a bowel cleanse to increase all forms of elimination to get the concentration of uric acid down and out of your system.
Urea is a by-product of the yeast that is used in making wine, so there is always some urea in wines. This is why people with gout--which is pain caused by crystalized urea concentrated in the feet--need to avoid wine for a while to allow the crystals to dissolve.
Here's an interesting article on urea in wine:
New Methods to limit urea: genetically enhanced yeasts reduce probable carcinogen.
By Patterson, Tim
Publication: Wines & Vines
Date: Sunday, February 1 2009
"The issues of urea and ethyl carbamate have been hovering over the wine industry like a little cloud for several years now. Urea, a minor byproduct of yeast metabolism, can combine with ethanol to form urethane--also known as ethyl carbamate or EC--a known carcinogen in animals and a likely carcinogenic danger for humans as well. The stubborn part of this problem--the reason it won't go away quietly--is that some urea is produced in every fermentation. Some of that urea always transforms itself into EC, and once it's there, it's devilishly hard to get rid of.
Slowly but steadily, national and international regulatory bodies are taking a hard look at EC and upping the standards--that is, lowering the acceptable concentrations. In 2006, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) in Canada, which has for years had one of the world's most rigorous testing programs for commercial wines and spirits, rejected several thousand cases of four different sherries because of elevated EC. In the past year, the European Food Safety Authority has raised EC from a "possible" human carcinogen to "probable," putting it in some pretty toxic company, and making the possibility of formal standards more likely. The United States' wine industry currently operates on a voluntary standard, but the chances of the Food and Drug Administration issuing stricter regulations in the near future are fairly good, and the chances that the export market will become EC-restrictive are higher yet.
Several viticultural and cellar practices, dos and don'ts, have been identified for urea/EC control, and products exist that can help in removing it. The newest weapon is the commercial release of two yeast strains from Phyterra Yeast (phyterra.com) that are genetically enhanced to greatly reduce residual urea--potentially limiting the problem before it starts."
Urea in the human body:
Urea is highly soluble in water. Urea is, in essence, a waste product. It is found in and extracted from urine. It is dissolved in blood and excreted by the kidney as a component of urine. In addition, a small amount of urea is excreted in sweat.
This means that drinking lots of water will help to dissolve the crystals.
You should tell your physician about any herbs you are taking, and be sure to learn about any herbs you are taking before you use them.
Some herbs have side-effects, and some herbs should never be taken by pregnant women (chamomile, for instance.) Some herbs are better for women, and others better for men. For example Panax Ginseng (Korean Ginseng Root) is better for men, and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococus senticosus) is better for women. Some herbs react with other medications you might be taking.
I'm not a herbalist. I am a caregiver of disabled people. I did study pre-med in college, and my father was a doctor, and I have a lot of nursing experience.
I hope that each person who has symptoms of gout have already been to a Doctor--because, for one thing, it is an extremely painful condition and renders the person lame...and often unable to work. I know someone who recently had a big toe joint removed because of it.
Some of the medications the doctors give are toxic themselves, and the treatments are often only temporary if diet and lifestyle are not changed. Consider that one of the things both doctors and herbalists recommend is to avoid drinking red wine--hardly a harmful recommendation.
I suggest that a person first try changing their diet and lifestyle, and if that doesn't work, go to their doctor and try what he/she suggests, and if that doesn't work, try these home remedies...as a last resort. However, some of the suggestions are really non-toxic, like drinking cherry juice, ginger, sarsaparilla (Similax officinalis), and couldn't hurt anybody, no matter when you tried it.
"Mainly vegetarian" can mean a lot of things.
Some vegetarians eliminate red meat and chicken, but fill up on junk foods to replace them. Try eating whole foods only--foods that haven't been prepared by other people first, because then they add preservatives, food colorings, and artificial flavourings -- more stuff your kidneys and liver have to filter out.
If you have an attack of gout, I would recommend eating no flesh foods whatsoever. This includes fish, chicken, eggs--anything that was once alive. Drink lots of water, not soda, not coffee, no alcohol, just water. Do this for about two weeks.
Gout is caused by improper elimination of too much waste products from protein foods. Gout is a disease of excess. If you are over-eating--that is, eating more than is necessary to maintain your health and at a normal weight--then the excess must be eliminated by your kidneys and liver. Gout used to be called the "disease of Kings" and "the rheumatism of the rich" because only people who had access to an excess of rich foods seemed to get it.
If you are overweight, loose weight. But don't go on a crash diet or do fasting, because this could make you temporarily worse. Going on a "cleanse" to help your liver or kidneys will help your body to eliminate the uric acid better. If you have any kind of kidney damage or liver damage, this could be the reason for a build-up of protein metabolites (urea.)
Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body, called hyperuricemia. Uric acid results from the breakdown of purines. Excess purines can be caused by either an over-production of uric acid by the body or the under-elimination of uric acid by the kidneys. Eating foods high in purines can raise uric acid levels in the blood and precipitate gout attacks.
The way our bodies digest proteins that are high in purines is what causes gout. Even lentils, Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower are high in purines and can cause kidney stones, too. But these vegetarian foods have not been shown to be a problem for people getting gout.
Foods high in purines:
Beer, other alcoholic beverages.
Anchovies, fish roes
Organ meat (liver, kidneys, sweetbreads)
Meat extracts, consomme, gravies.
Legumes (dried beans, peas)
Mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower.
Foods moderately high in purines include:
There is a new study that shows some protective effect from eating/drinking low-fat dairy products.
If you haven't had any attacks recently, then the changes to your diet since then might be all you need. I would say that too much of anything isn't a good thing...so eating so that you don't gain weight and eating a variety of healthy foods is probably all you need.
Gout is partly hereditary. If you have kidney problems or liver problems or are missing or deficient in enzymes you need to digest proteins, then you might have to be more careful than the average person. Be careful not to take too many pain relievers and over the counter medications...any thing that can put a strain on your kidneys and liver.
The thing with meats is...there is urea in the meat because the animals have metabolites in their bodies when they are slaughtered. So if you are on the borderline of having a gout attack, any meat could push you over the edge into having too much uric acid, and having that precipitate into painful crystals at that point.
So, don't eat very large meals...more than your body can digest easily in a few hours. Don't binge, don't strain your digestive/elimination system on a regular basis.
You can eliminate eating the red meat completely without really missing much on nutrition. You could improve the meats you eat by selecting organic, free range meats. The main thing red meat has that you need and can't get in a vegan diet is vitamin B12. You can take a B12 supplement for that. The other thing you need is iron. You can get enough iron by cooking some of your food in cast iron pots.
Years ago, people ate much less meat, and it wasn't a daily thing and they did just fine (even better, in many cases.) You could go to one meal of chicken a week, and add low-fat dairy products instead. Or an organic tofu. Or just be sure to keep your serving of meat to no more than the size of a deck of cards (about 3 oz) at any meal you eat meat.
Try eating brown rice pasta, or whole grain pasta some of the time. Refined carbohydrates (white flours) are something that just raises your insulin levels too fast and can cause hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes.
Try adding more fiber to your diet. This will absorb some of the waste products in your colon before they get a chance to cause too much trouble.
If you were drinking red wine once a week, you meant that you drank more than two glasses at that sitting, then this might be a sign that your kidneys couldn't deal with that amount at one time. You could try just having one glass at a time, and wait a few days before having the next glass. And always drink a glass of water for each glass of wine you drink to help your kidneys flush out the toxins. By toxins, I mean, the yeast they use to make the wine creates its own urea....and that ends up in the wine.
You get lots of brownie points for cooking from scratch.
I like cooking from scratch. I love going to a farmer's market and bringing home food that I cook right away. You get more vitamins that way, since many vitamins evaporate in the refrigerator before you get to eat them.
There's nothing wrong with fat. Unfortunately, you only need two tablespoons of fat per day.
But may I suggest trying different types of fat? Try a blend of flax oil with safflower oil on salads and switch to using real lemon juice instead of vinegar. Vinegar is made the same way as wine--it has the same metabolites in it from the yeasts.
Go for fats like olive oil, but be sure they don't use solvents to extract it because many oils have hexane in them from the type of extraction process that uses chemicals. That is why "expeller pressed" is better. Also, really try to avoid fats that have gone rancid. Rancidity is very toxic to the nervous system. Any oil that smells rancid, or has a solvent smell is bad for you.
Fats high in omega 3 are good for you, but they spoil easily. You can buy small amounts and use them quickly, keep them in the refrigerator or even the freezer.
If you like the taste and/or smell of the fats you use, blend them with these others and you will still have some of the taste you like.
Nuts like cashews, walnuts and almonds are good for you, as well as avacado, which all are high in fats, but the good kind. Just keep it to a handful a day of nuts, or 1/4 of an avacado. Be sure they are fresh and not rancid. Nuts go rancid just like other fats do.
Nuts are also a good source of protein, in moderation.
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The following is from the excellent source:
"Back To Eden" by Jethro Kloss
These herbs are all natural home remedies that are good for Gout:
balm of Gilead.
Take equal parts of granulated (finely chopped) skullcap, yarrow, and valerian, and mix thoroughly together. Use a heaping teaspoon to a cup of boiling water. Steep and drink a cupful an hour before meals and one before bed.
Any of the herbs that were listed by my previous posting can be taken singly or in any combination. Use a spoonful to a cup of boiling water, and steep for 20 minutes. Drink about 4 cups per day.
Try each one individually to see which works best for you.
Note: do not use aluminum cookware when making these recipes. Don't combine regular drugs with herbal medicines during the same treatment period.
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This recipe is for rubbing on to the swollen areas to help reduce the pain and swelling:
(not for drinking!)
Two ounces of powdered myrrh,
One ounce of powdered goldenseal,
One-half ounce cayenne pepper
One quart alcohol (pure vodka, 70% alcohol)*
* Rubbing alcohol was the ingredient in the original recipe, but has been implicated in some cancers, so this is a substitution.
Mix together and let stand for seven days; shake well every day. Decant off and bottle in corked bottles. This recipe can work without the golden seal.
You can apply this every few minutes for an hour or two.
(It can be applied to the face, but don't get it into the eyes.)
NOTE: This is not for drinking. This recipe is toxic if you drink it.
It is good for pain, swelling, bruises, pimples and any skin eruptions.
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Drinking cherry juice
is good, but look for the juice that doesn't have lots of High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. HFCS is highly processed and not good for you. Also try to avoid Aspartame (Nutrasweet) sweetener. You could get the 100% juice and add plain sugar or other sweetener, like stevia to it. Or just eat a lot of cherries when they are in season.