What is Gout?

The painful condition that is commonly called “gout” is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in some of the joints in the body. These uric acid crystals are waste products produced by the body itself as it processes purines, substances that are naturally occurring in the body and are present in foods like sweetbreads, e.g., thymus glands, pancreas, kidneys, etc., fish like anchovies and herrings, and vegetables like mushrooms and asparagus.

There are many alternative approaches to the treatment of gout that include taking high doses of Vitamin C; watching what you eat and drink; and making a major change in lifestyles.

Taking high doses of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is believed to reduce the levels of uric acid in the body. In a study of 184 people, half of whom were given 500 milligrams of Vitamin C supplements and the other half placebos, the researchers reported significantly lower uric acid levels in the subjects who were given the Vitamin C pills after a period of two months. However, those with kidney disease are advised to check with their health practitioner first before embarking on a high Vitamin C supplement regimen to address their uric acid problem. This is because an increased Vitamin C intake can likely increase the absorption of iron leading to a condition called hemochromatosis. Doses in excess of 2,000 milligrams per day may also cause diarrhea, gas, upset digestion and cause interference in the absorption of Vitamin B12. It is prudent for a patient afflicted with gout to try the Vitamin C alternative treatment but should consult with his doctor first as there is the danger that the increased Vitamin C intake may obstruct the effectiveness of other medications being taken for other medical problems like blood thinning medicines or some high blood pressure or heart medications. The Vitamin C may likewise hinder the absorption of some antibiotics. You will be well advised to weigh the pros and cons with your doctor before taking high doses of Vitamin C to lower your uric acid level.

Watching what you eat and drink

In the same manner that certain foods can raise the level of uric acid in the body, some foods have been reported to have potentials for lowering uric acid levels. They include coffee, regular or decaffeinated, and dark colored fruits like cherries. Studies are continuing to find out exactly how coffee drinkers have lower uric acid levels. While eating cherries has been found to lower uric acid levels, their ability to alleviate gout pain has not really been established. However, eating more of the dark-colored fruits like raspberries, blueberries, purple grapes and blackberries may be a safe approach to assist in any gout treatment regimen.

Lifestyle change approaches

Because the elevated uric acid level that is causing the gouty pain subsides in two to three days, the patient may opt to resort to relaxation techniques like medication, yoga, deep breathing exercises and other similar activities. These activities will help take his mind off the pain or to help him cope with it while awaiting for the time when your gout medication takes effect instead of r merely increasing your intake of the gout medicines.