You wake up in the middle of the night with a sudden, sharp, fire-like pain. Yesterday you felt just fine. No way you’re dreaming, but you feel like you’re in some kind of horror movie. What can it be? Sad to say, as we get older this scenario gets more common. It’s called an attack of gout.
That hot, swollen area – often the big toe – is caused by needle-like uric acid crystals that settle around often damaged or worn joints when blood levels get too high. Pain is likely to be most severe within the first four to 12 hours after the attack begins. It happens more often in men than women until women reach menopause, when uric acid levels increase. It’s also more common in families that have a history of gout.
Other risk factors include obesity (these bodies produce more uric acid), certain medical conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart or kidney diseases). Thiazide diuretics (often used to treat high blood pressure), anti-rejection drugs (for transplant patients), and even low-dose aspirin can increase uric acid levels.
Drink plenty of fluids
Limit or avoid alcohol, especially beer.
Limit high-purine foods (which break down into uric acid): red meat, seafood, alcohol, drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (nearly all sodas).
Eat low-fat dairy. It appears to have some protective effect.
Drink coffee. It also appears to have some protective effect.
Eat cherries or drink cherry juice. Studies show cherries help both prevent and resolve gout, but the mechanism is still unclear. Scientist theorize that because cherries contain the anti-inflammatory compound of quercetin and anthocyanins. In any case, our customers attest it definitely helps.
Take vitamin C. Meta-analysis of several controlled trials found vitamin C significantly reduced uric acid levels in the blood.
Take bromelain. Dr. Andrew Weil recommends it for its anti-inflammatory properties.
What if I’m in gout pain now?
Obviously, the first advice is to check with your doctor. There are medications available to treat gout.
If you want a more natural method, several manufacturers make specially designed formulations: