For a long time gout was thought of as a disease of excess, if you had it you were probably overweight and over indulgent!
Not true! The nugget of truth in this myth is that diet can cause and cure it!
So what is gout? It is in fact a form of arthritis. Symptoms include inflamed, painful and stiff joints.
The underlying cause? It is your bodies inflammatory system responding to the presence of uric acid crystals. Over time, without intervention, these gout attacks can become more frequent and can lead to the damage of the joints affected.
It is often seen in patients who have already been diagnosed with some form of metabolic syndrome such as type 2 diabetes.
There is a slight genetic component to gout, but it is mainly a diet and lifestyle condition (or metabolic syndrome). The immediate cause of gout is a build up of uric acid in your blood.
You need uric acid, it is actually an anti oxidant and plays a role in protecting blood vessels from damage. The problem comes when uric acid isn’t excreted in your urine, but builds up to form needle like crystals in your joints and surrounding tissues.
The reason that it used to be thought of as a disease of excess is that purine rich foods such as meats, some fish, mushrooms and asparagus, are usually blamed. Purines are important proteins found in DNA and RNA. When your body breaks down purines (with the help of the enzyme xanthine oxidase) the end product is uric acid.
A major reason for gout is actually fructose. Fructose comes with many names, for instance: high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice and agave syrup.
Fructose will overload your liver (it cannot be used by the body directly, so the liver has to process it as fat that can then be used for energy) this disrupts purine metabolism and spikes uric acid.
Doing anything to improve liver function will help with gout. This includes reducing or removing alcohol.
From personal experience of coaching people through this painful condition, removal of fructose (in all its forms) has greatly reduces their bouts of gout or allowed them to be gout free.
So here are my top tips for relief from gout:
- Remove all fructose and fructose derivatives from your diet
- Avoid processed foods
- Strengthen your liver by not drinking
- Make sure you are moving as much as possible, this will help your metabolism in general.
- Stay hydrated, by drinking enough water, you make sure you are expelling as many waste products as possible
These are my opinions not medical advice if you are worried about anything please seek the advice of a medical professional.