Gout Treatment

Submitted Aug 22, 2003   Updated Sep 26, 2010
By Ray Fosterrlf@mt-rushmore.net


Q What is the treatment of gout?

We have to discuss the treatment of gout under at least two headings:

First there is the treatment of the cause of gout. Second there is the treatment or alleviation of the symptoms of gout.

Q Why do you separate these two aspects of treatment?

It is very important to distinguish between doing what makes the symptoms feel better and doing what is dealing with the underlying problem. Ideally we want to do what does both. Natural remedies make the symptoms better and at the same time deal with the cause of the condition. Even though natural remedies do both, it is important to know that there is a difference and to know what treatments are doing what.

Q Is this what is meant for the patient to be in charge of their treatment?

Yes, exactly. To know what the treatments are doing removes a large element of fear. The unknown is the chief constituent of fear.

Q So what phase of treatment would you like to discuss first for Gout?

Most people are most interested in having their symptoms better first and to understand how to prevent the symptoms later. There are several things that can be done to help remove the symptoms:

Charcoal locally in the form of a poultice will help alleviate the immediate pain and swelling. We have a hand-out describing the making and the use of charcoal locally to remove local inflammation. Give us a call during the week at 206 935 5696 or download the information off our web site at starthealthcare.com.

Alternate hot and cold applications to the part will help alleviate the pain and decreases the inflammation. Soaking the part in hot water for 3 minutes and cold water for 30 seconds, three changes; starting with hot and ending with cold is a good way to apply hot and cold.

Q How does putting charcoal on the painful joint help?

Activated, medicinal grade charcoal is very finely divided carbon particles that has a wonderful property called adsorption. It makes the pain chemicals that are the basis of the inflammation stick to the carbon particles and removes them from the area thus decreasing the inflammation and hence the pain. (see charcoal poultice article under MedChecks)

Q How does alternate hot and cold decrease the pain in gout?

Heat is soothing by itself. Increasing the temperature helps absorb the gout crystals from the tissues. Heating the part six times as long as cooling it makes the heating effect the main effect of the treatments. Cold decreases the nerve conduction time and decreases the perception of pain for that reason. Alternate hot and cold works by both those direct mechanisms and in addition by increased blood flow that washes out the pain chemicals and brings in more healing elements from the blood. When the part is heated, the blood vessels and muscle walls relax and this brings more blood to the part. When the part is cooled, the vessels contract and blood is squeezed out of the part. The alternate hot and cold thus greatly increases the local blood flow.

Q Are there any natural medications that can decrease the pain of gout?

Yes, there are a number of natural substances that will decrease the pain from gout.

Bromelain 200-400 mg two to three times a day between meals. Eating pineapple at meal times is a natural way of getting lesser amounts of bromelain.

Flaxseed – ground up in a coffee grinder is the best way to take flaxseed; one tablespoon per day or EPA (an omega-3 oil eicosapentaenoic acid) 1.8 grams a day. Eating a cup of walnuts a day will also give a natural source of omega-3 oil. The whole product like walnuts is a better source of omega-3 than is refined oil.

Vitamin E 400-800 IU a day.

Folic acid 10 – 40 mg per day.

Quercetin 200 – 400 mg 2 to 3 times per day between meals. This is best taken with Bromelain.

Q What do these natural medications do for gout?

Bromelain that is found in pineapple is an anti-inflammatory agent.

Flaxseed, wlanuts and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids limits the production of leukotrienes which is a key mediator of inflammation and tissue damage.

Vitamin E also limits the production of leukotrienes and acts as an antioxident. Selenium functions synergistically with vitamin E.

Q What does it mean for selenium to act synergistically with vitamin E?

For something to act synergistically with something else means that together they do more than the sum of either by themselves. When selenium and Vitamin E are taken together they work better than taken separately at different times.

Q What does Folic acid do?

Folic acid has been shown to inhibit xanthine oxidase, which is an enzyme responsible for uric acid production in the body. This means that uric acid produced by the body would be diminished.

Q Is there any side effects of Folic acid at 10 – 40 mg a day?

That is a high dose for a vitamin. There are no reported side effects. However that dosage of folic acid may interfere with epilepsy medication and taking that high a dosage of Folic acid may also mask the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Because of these concerns, folic acid therapy should only be utilized under the supervision of a physician.

Q What is Quercetin and what does it do?

Quercetin is a flavonoid. A flavonoid is one of the phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables. Quercetin inhibits uric acid production in a similar fashion to the drug allopurinol. Quercetin also inhibits thek manufacture and release of inflammatory compounds by the body. For best results Queretin 200-400 mg should be taken with bromelain three times daily between meals. Bromelain may help to enhance the absorption of quercetin as well as having an anti-inflammatory effect of its own.

Q So these are the ways to decrease the pain of gout. Are there any ways to prevent gout?

There is no way to deal with an inherited tendency to have too high uric acid levels in the body caused by an enzyme that is absent or not doing its work as well as it should. However the risk factors for gout can be avoided and that will help prevent gout regardless of whether you have an inherited factor or not.

Q What are the risk factors of gout?

Two well known risk factors that can be controlled are alcohol and meat or flesh food intake.

Q Does that mean vegetarians and tea totalars never get gout?

I am not sure that is totally true. However, a vegetarian diet and drinking nothing but water would certainly decrease the risk of gout attacks.

Q Why would that be so?

Alcohol increases uric acid production by accelerating purine breakdown. It also poisons the kidney by increasing lactate production decreasing the kidney’s ability to excrete the purines. The combined effect is to raise the blood levels of uric acid. Elimination of alcohol is all that is needed in some people to prevent gouty arthritis.

Q What about being a vegetarian? How does that help prevent gout?

There are low levels of purines in plant foods. The only place we get an extra high load of purines is from animal products. Eliminating the foods with high purine concentrations is a great help in controlling the blood levels of uric acid. In addition to avoiding animal foods, going sparingly on dried legumes, spinach and asparagus will provide