Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by sudden, severe pain, redness, fever, swelling, and tenderness in the joints. Gout usually affects the large toe joint, but symptoms can occur in the feet, ankles, knees, hands, and wrists. The attacks usually last five to ten days. Gout is more common in men than women.
Gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals, a waste product produced by the breakdown of purines, which are found naturally in the body and in foods such as organ meats, asparagus, anchovies, herring, and mushrooms.
As of now, there is limited scientific support for the claim that any natural remedy can treat gout .
Some evidence suggests that vitamin C can help lower uric acid levels. In a well-designed study, 184 people took a vitamin C supplement (500 milligrams per day) or a placebo.
After two months, uric acid levels dropped significantly in people taking vitamin C, but not in people taking placebo. While this research suggests that vitamin C can help prevent or treat gout, there is still a lot of research to be done before we can.
People with kidney disease should consult their doctor before taking vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C increases the absorption of certain types of iron from food, so people with hemochromatosis should not take vitamin C supplements.
Vitamin C in doses greater than 2,000 milligrams a day can cause diarrhea, gas, indigestion, or interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12.
Vitamin C supplements can increase blood levels of aspirin and acetaminophen. There have been rare reports that vitamin C affects the effectiveness of the drug warfarin (Coumadin).
Vitamin C can also potentiate the effects of furosemide (classified as a loop diuretic) and the antibiotic tetracycline. When taken together, vitamin C can reduce the absorption of propranolol, drugs for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Before taking any medicine supplemented with vitamin C, check with your doctor first.
Cherries are a popular home remedy for gout. Usually one-half cup to one pound of cherries a day is recommended.
They are eaten or mixed and then diluted with water to make juice. Cherry extracts are also available in some health food stores.
Although cherries are a fairly well-known remedy for gout, there is little evidence that they can help. A very small study looked at cherry consumption for uric acid levels and inflammation .
Ten women ate two servings (280 grams) of Bing cherries after an overnight fast. Three hours after eating cherries, there was a significant decrease in uric acid levels. There was also a decrease, although not statistically significant, in inflammation.
Although most of the uric acid in the body comes from natural purine metabolism, eating foods rich in purines can also increase uric acid levels in the body.
The Third National Health and Nutrition Survey , which used data from 14,809 people in the United States, found elevated uric acid levels in people who ate a lot of meat and seafood .
On the other hand, total protein intake was not associated with an increase in uric acid levels.
Dairy consumption was associated with lower uric acid levels. In particular, people who drank milk one or more times a day, or who consumed yogurt at least once every other day, had lower uric acid levels than people who did not consume yogurt or milk.
Another study involving 47,150 men with gout also found that eating meat and seafood was associated with an increased risk of gout .
Total protein intake and intake of purine-rich vegetables such as asparagus were not associated with an increased risk. Dairy products were associated with a reduced risk.
Using natural remedies for gout
Due to the lack of supporting research, it is too early to recommend alternative gout medications.
The safety of additives has not been tested and due to the fact that food additives are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is stated on the product label.
Also note that the safety of alternative medicine for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and people with medical conditions or taking medications has not been established.
You can get advice on using supplements, but if you're considering using any alternative medicine, talk to your healthcare provider first. Treating a disease on your own and avoiding or delaying standard treatment can have serious consequences.
To find out how to talk to a healthcare professional about gout, use our Discussion Guidelines with a Doctor below. This can help you start a conversation with your healthcare provider about symptoms, treatment options, and more.
Gouty Doctor Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide to your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.