What is gout and who is affected?
Gout is typically referred to by doctors as a form of arthritis in which patients experience pain and inflammation in the joints, typically the big toe, but can also occur elsewhere in the body such as the fingers, knees and hips. In my naturopathic practice, I have seen several men with gout over the age of 50 years. Their diets are usually the culprits. The consumption of too much red meat and alcohol is a big factor. Women and even children can have gout attacks if their urine levels are too high.
We know that the cause of gout is because of too much uric acid in the blood, but the question is … why would that happen? If you are on a high protein diet that causes your body to produce too much uric acid, the acids can remain there and form crystals if your excretion is weak and the excess can not be released. Uric acid usually breaks down in your blood, moves through the kidneys and leaves the body without causing harm. However, if your lymphatic system is sluggish and can not remove the acids, they form painful crystals that attack your joints and tissues.
An unhealthy diet induces gout attacks, especially with diets high in alcohol, high fructose corn syrup, and processed foods and too much purine-rich foods such as organs and red meat, clams, anchovies, for example. If you are obese, have high blood pressure or diabetes, you are at risk.
Doctors will try to treat their patients with NSAIDS to relieve the pain of the inflammation, or prescribe stronger medications, but this does not help in the cause of the problem.
Shifting your diet to more fruits and vegetables, avoiding red meat and alcohol, and processed foods can all help enormously. Michael Greger encourages the use of cherries and cherry juice in this video about gout.