11 of the Most Effective Natural Gout Treatments
Gout is a specific form of arthritis that is thought to impact roughly one in every one hundred people at some point in their lives.
It used to be referred to as the ‘disease of the rich’, as it has been linked with the over consumption of what were once expensive foods – alcohol, meat and sugary desserts.
However, due to the increasing accessibility to these foods to the everyday person, it is now seen in people from a variety of economic backgrounds.
The condition mainly affects middle-aged people, and is more common in men than women.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common signs of gout, what causes the condition, and eleven of the most effective natural gout treatment options available to you.
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Gout - The Basics
Gout is usually characterized by sudden attacks of severe pain and swelling around a joint, as small crystals form inside and around the area.
It usually results from a build up of uric acid in the bloodstream, a condition known as hyperuricemia. This process can occur over several years without many warning signs.
Under normal conditions, uric acid dissolves in your blood and is then passed through the kidneys and released in the urine. However, some people produce more than the normal amount of uric acid, or their body is not able to excrete it effectively, which leads to a build-up.
This build-up of uric acid is what leads to the crystallization of the joints, resulting in intense pain.
Whilst genetics do play a role in determining whether or not you ever suffer from gout, it is also largely impacted by lifestyle choices.
Signs and Symptoms of Gout
Whilst any joint in the body can be affected by gout, it typically affects joints at the ends of the limbs – the fingers, toes, ankles and sometimes the knees.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of gout include:
- A severe throbbing pain in one or more joints that may last for a few hours, or subside quickly.
- Swelling of the joins, often accompanied by red skin and itchiness.
- Stiffness and a lack of mobility in the joint.
The Most Effective Natural Gout Treatments
Gout can be a very painful condition that can severely affect your quality of life. There are a number of prescription medications you can take to relieve the pain, and in some cases these may be necessary.
However, there are also a number of natural treatment options that may be worth exploring in conjunction to or instead of the traditional methods.
Ensure you talk with a medical professional before trying any of the following or altering any medication you are currently taking.
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has an alkalising effect on the body. As well as helping to treat digestive issues and headaches, it can help to reduce swelling and inflammation surrounding your joints.
It may also help to remove excess uric acid, as explained on the Gout and You site, “Apple cider vinegar is full of nutrients like potassium, which helps remove toxins and excess water, iron, calcium and amino acids that reduce toxin buildup and serve as antibiotics. The main ingredient thought to be the most effective in treating and preventing gout is acetic acid”.
It’s the acetic acid that is thought to have the alkalising, anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Just add a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to a large glass of water and sip throughout the morning to reap the benefits.
Staying hydrated in general will also help the body to flush out any excess uric acid, which is an added bonus.
Ginger is a spice that we’ve discussed many times before here on the Eu Natural Blog.
It is a potent anti-inflammatory, rivalling traditional NSAID medications in effectiveness, without any known harmful side effects.
As explained over on the Care2 site, “…found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil because NSAIDs only work on one level: to block the formation of inflammatory compounds. Ginger, on the other hand, blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds–prostaglandins and leukotrienes–and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints”.
3. Baking Soda
Another popular home remedy for gout is baking soda.
It is thought to help lower levels of uric acid in the bloodstream, providing pain relief and potentially reducing the risk of any subsequent flare-ups.
Baking soda is often one of the go-to remedies for gout sufferers, due to its simplicity and rapid relief.
The Best Gout Remedy guys had this to say, “It's the classic home remedy for gout. The good news is that it gets many rave reviews from gout sufferers. It may well raise your pH level and alleviate or even end your gout attack. For many people for whom this works it usually begins to happen quickly - sometimes virtually immediately, often within 24 hours, and at least within a week”.
You can simply mix half a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, repeating a few times a day.
Turmeric is another popular anti-inflammatory spice. It belongs to the same family as ginger, and has similar properties. Read more about Turmeric as an Anti-Inflammatory.
One of the most important compounds found in turmeric is curcumin, which provides the spice with its powerful anti-inflammatory ant antioxidant properties.
As shared on the World’s Healthiest Foods web page, “Clinical studies have substantiated that curcumin exerts very powerful antioxidant effects. As an antioxidant, curcumin is able to neutralize free radicals, chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. This is important in many diseases, such as arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints”.
You can use turmeric to flavour Indian dishes such as curry or dhal. It can also be mixed with warm water and honey and drank as a tea, or combined with baking soda and water to make a paste that you can apply to any inflamed joints affected by gout.
Orally or combine with baking soda to make a paste that you can apply to the joint.
5. Tart Cherries
Popular amongst athletes to improve post workout recovery, tart cherries are another potent anti-inflammatory food. Consuming them whole or as tart cherry juice may help to soothe inflamed, painful joints.
Studies have also shown that a few servings a day of tart cherries can reduce uric acid levels, reducing the risk of further gout attacks by up to 50%.
Just 30ml of a tart cherry concentrate twice a day can have a significant impact and lead to almost immediate relief.
The mechanism behind the cherries uric acid-reducing powers is not fully understood, but may be related in some way to their high vitamin C content.
Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, which amongst other things, has been shown to help relive symptoms of gout.
As explained over on the Gout and You site, “Studies have found that bromelain is useful in relieving strain-induced gout, when uric acid crystals accumulate in a joint that becomes inflamed by a strain or even normal use. Bromelain causes the uric acid crystals to decompose thus relieving you from the pain associated with gout”.
Bromelain is also available in supplement form if you want to take on higher doses without consuming the large amount sugar found in pineapples.
7. Avoid processed sugars
So we’ve taken a good look at some of the foods and spices that you can add to your diet in order to relieve gout symptoms: now we’re going to look at some of the things that you should probably avoid.
One of the big contributing factors towards a gout attack is the consumption of processed sugars.
Studies have shown that consuming just two sugary soda drinks per day can increase your risk of a gout attack by 85%. Even one a day can significantly increase your risk, as can the consumption of too much fruit and fruit juice.
Avoid processed sugars whenever possible, and instead swap them out for natural sweeteners such as stevia or maple syrup.
8. Cut back on the alcohol
Alcohol is another substance that significantly contributes towards gout, and there’s plenty of science to prove it.
As outlined by the guys at Web MD, “In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that as few as two to four beers a week increased the risk of gout by 25%. But men who drank at least two beers a day were more than 200% as likely to develop gout as non-beer drinkers. And the more beer they drank, the more likely they were to suffer an attack of gout”.
Alcohol dehydrates the body, reducing the capability of the body to get rid of uric acid, which eventually leads to a build up. Alcoholic beverages also add extra calories to the diet, which may promote unwanted weight loss and further exacerbate gout symptoms.
Not to mention it increases your heart attack risk and may up your chances of developing type 2 diabetes…
Swap the alcoholic drinks for water and herbal teas - your waistline and joints will thank you.
9. Reduce your meat consumption
Meats (and particularly organs meats) are typically rich in purine compounds that promote the production of uric acid. If your body already produces too much uric acid or has problems processing it, then it’s not wise to take any excess purine compounds on board.
The Arthritis Foundation kindly shared the highest purine containing foods:
- Alcoholic beverages (all types)
- Some fish, seafood and shellfish, including anchovies, sardines, herring, mussels, codfish, scallops, trout and haddock
- Some meats, such as bacon, turkey, veal, venison and organ meats like liver
When possible, swap your meat and fish for plant based protein sources such as lentils, beans, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
You’ll get all the same benefits, without the added saturated fats and cholesterol.
10. Take a bath
As well as avoiding certain foods and substances, there are also a few things that you can add into your normal daily routine to help naturally relieve gout symptoms and reduce your gout risk.
If you can feel a flare up brewing on the horizon, taking a warm bath with Epsom salt in can help to bring down pain and inflammation.
As pointed out by the guys at Livestrong, “Inflammation typically causes a depletion of magnesium, so as your body absorbs magnesium from Epsom salts, the magnesium works to combat the inflammation. Taking an Epsom salt bath is one of the most effective ways of getting magnesium into your body”
The magnesium in the salt may also help to bring down any joint swelling, and will help your muscles to relax.
11. Lose excess weight
Being overweight is strongly correlated with an increased gout risk. In fact, research suggests that approximately half of all gout sufferers are overweight or obese.
Not only does being overweight increase your gout risk, it can also exacerbate gout symptoms as the already inflamed nerve endings are aggravated further, as they have to support the added weight.
As well as eating a healthy, whole foods diet – look to increase your activity levels throughout the day.
Not only will exercise help you to lose weight, it can also naturally reduce uric acid levels by stabilising your insulin secretion.
Exposing yourself to cold showers regularly may also aid in the weight loss process my helping to shift your white fat cells (mainly found around the stomach and hips) to more metabolically active brown fat.
Over to you!
Although gout is thought to be partly related to your genes and you may not ever be able to completely prevent it, by following some of the natural guidelines presented above and applying them to your life you can without doubt reduce the occurrence and severity of flare-ups.
What is your experience with gout? Have you ever tried any of the above natural remedies? Are there any you would add to the list?