Gout | symptoms, diagnosis & nutritional healing

If you have ever experienced the symptoms of gouty arthritis you know that the pain, heat and inflammation can be so excruciating it drives you to want to use large quantities of over-the-counter medications – doing nothing to resolve the underlying condition.

Overt symptoms may develop suddenly, in joints such as your big toe, your finger, wrist, knee or ankle. The lead-up to the attack, however, is often a long time coming.

Gout, and other related conditions such as uric kidney stones, are caused by an unusually high amount of uric acid in your system. Uric acid is the natural waste product your body produces as it breaks down an organic compound, called purine. Today, there are many common, everyday foods (such as chocolate, caffeinated beverages and alcohol) that have a number of naturally-occurring purines. This wasn't the case years ago.
 
Once named 'The Rich Man's Disease' because of the lavish and expensive diet it often took to acquire the condition, gout now knows no economic or social boundaries.

2 reasons why increased levels of uric acid occur

  1. An excessive amount of uric acid is being produced.
  2. A normal amount of uric acid is being produced AND is not being effectively removed.

Which brings us to the, 'which came first, the chicken or the egg?' part of the story.

Reasons for excessive uric acid production

  •  Obesity
  •  Excessive caffeine consumption
  •  Purine-rich diet
  •  Genetics
  •  Disease (such as Leukemia and Hodgkin's/Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma)
  •  Underactive thyroid
  •  Diuretic medication
  •  Excessive alcohol consumption
 
The top 4 issues on this list can also cause a reduction in renal (kidney) function. In order to eliminate uric acid, your kidneys must function well.
 
This begs the questions…
  • Do high uric acid levels occur because of repeated abuse of my kidneys?
  • Are my kidneys genetically unable to process the uric acid, thereby increasing it to a dangerous level, and perhaps resulting in kidney stones?

In other words, is it lifestyle/diet or genetics?

Either way, a reduction in purines is called for... To reduce the amount of uric acid built-up in your body it is important to stay clear of foods that are labeled 'high purine'.
 

High Purine Foods

Medium Purine Foods

Low Purine Foods

Anchovies

Mackerel

Roe (caviar)

Herring

Sardines

Scallops

Mussels

Goose

Duck

Organ meats (brain, heart, kidney, liver, sweetbreads)

Meat broth, bouillon, gravy

Chocolate

Alcoholic beverages (esp. beer)

Baker's and brewer's yeast (be aware of supplements containing yeast)

Caffeinated beverages

 

Poultry, beef, lamb, pork, rabbit or bison

Fish or shellfish not on high purine list

Dried beans, peas, lentils

Fresh/frozen green peas

Mushrooms

Spinach

Oatmeal

Asparagus

Cauliflower

Whole grains, breads, cereals

All vegetables not on medium purine list

Eggs

Nuts & seeds

Yogurt, Kefir

Fruit

 
With a high uric acid condition, it is very important to have a thorough work-up done by a Naturopathic Doctor or an Holistic Medical Doctor. If you develop uric acid kidney stones, loss of renal function is a very real possibility and must be taken seriously.

Give your body every chance to heal

  • Remove sugar from your diet
  • Removes refined, processed foods from your diet
  • Remove white flour products from your diet
  • Remove rancid/fried oils from your diet
  • Eat plenty of raw fruit
  • Eat plenty of vegetables on the low purine list
  • Eat plenty of nuts and seeds
  • Eat lots of dark red and blue berries (they neutralize excess acidity)
  • If you can, choose vegetarian proteins more often
It is important to figure out your minimum daily requirement of protein –  specific to your age, sex, weight and activity level.
 
Note: If you are unable to digest vegetable proteins (such as beans or legumes) and grains (such as quinoa), consuming the right amount of organic animal protein might be a better option for your body. If you are not digesting a food efficiently, you will only contribute to your body's burden. 

How much protein do you need?

  • 4–12 years old : 19g – 34g per day
  • teen females : 46g per day
  • adult females : 46g per day; 71g per day during pregnancy/breastfeeding
  • teen males : 52g per day
  • adult males : 56g per day
You should get 10-35% of your daily calories from protein – depending on your health status and exercise routine.
 
Increased fluid intake makes your urine more alkaline, so I recommend taking-in 2.5L – 3L of water per day to dissolve uric acid stones. Sipping cherry, celery or parsley juice is also very effective in flushing out uric acid from the tissues.
 
There are many herbs that can reduce inflammation and help flush uric acid from your body. Combination formulas that include turmeric, alfalfa, bilberry extract, rutin, bromelain, devil’s claw, grapeseed extract and celery seed extract (purchased at your local health food store) are ideal... be sure to have a work-up done by a qualified practitioner before starting a herbal protocol.

 

 

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