Natural Remedies For Gout

'Prevention Of Gout Without The Need For Drugs'

Every drug for treating gout carries risk. But other options do exist. Natural remedies for gout can prevent future flares of gout from ever taking place. They require changes in order to reduce your ‘gouty arthritis’, but some changes are much easier than others.

On this page, we review all your options for preventing gout naturally…

A doctor holding a natural gout remedy in one hand and a pile of drugs in the other

Ultimately, there are two basic methods for combatting gout – helping your body to produce less uric acid or helping your kidneys to get rid of it faster.

Outside of that there is the anti-inflammatory argument – that if you can reduce inflammation then gout becomes much less painful and flare ups may even pass without notice.

This relies on the fact that it is the swelling and bruising that causes pain, and that the urate crystals attacking your joints is what causes this. Therefore if they attack, causing gout, but you don’t feel the effects, then it’s much less of a problem.

As a general rule however, anti-inflammatories whether you use drugs or opt for natural methods, tend to be used either at the very beginning of an attack or during one to reduce the pain.

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Understanding How Prevention Works..

Just a quick reminder before I go in to detail around the potential natural remedies for gout…..Gout is caused when your body produces more uric acid than your kidneys can get rid of (excrete).

A build up starts to occur when production is greater than excretion and when this does it is called ‘hyperuricemia’.

It is not guaranteed, but it is quite possible that this build-up of uric acid will start turning in to urate crystals.

A set of scales with uric acid In on the heavier scale and uric acid out on the higher, lighter scale

When these urate crystals travel around in your bloodstream and find a joint to attach themselves to and attack, this is considered ‘gout’.

In terms of symptoms, you will typically start to suffer with extremely sore, swollen and inflamed joints that are very tender and agony to touch.

Gout is actually officially a form of arthritis, known sometimes as ‘gouty arthritis’. However, because of it’s origins coming from an imbalance in uric acid, it behaves quite differently and needs different remedies.

This is important to understand because most of the natural remedies below are aimed at either lowering uric acid production or encouraging your kidneys to work at full capacity and get rid of the same acid much faster.

Natural Remedies For Gout

Obviously there are a range of medications available from your doctor to try and either manage the pain of a gout attack or to try and prevent one happening again in the future.

However, any drug no matter how safe it is relative to some other drugs, still carries substantive risks, especially if you are taking it to prevent gout happening in the future, whereupon your exposure will be considerably higher to any harmful elements.

Given the nature of how gout is started – from a build up of uric acid, it is perhaps no great surprise that there are a number of natural treatments as well.

However, while this list will touch on what is required, it is worth pointing out that each natural option is not as simple as listing them.

Exercise for example is thought to be good for gout – but what type of exercise depends on where your gout is affecting you and what program you might stick to.

Lazy journalists for medial websites write down ‘exercise is good for gout’.

The reality though is that certain types of exercise such as running (if you suffer regularly with gout in your big toe), may actually make it worse.

Similarly big contact sports will also cause traumas to your body and these tiny bruises/ injuries may hasten the onset of your next gout attack.

So while there are certainly some actions you can take to help prevent future gout attacks, it is not always quite as simple if you want decent results.

However, for the purposes of this list I have put together the best natural treatments for gout – and then covered them in more detail later.

You can check out either my series on gout by body part or individual studies in to why different things actually work for gout if you want more detailed analysis.

Drink Plenty of Fluids.

(Full Report – ‘Does Drinking Water Help Gout’)

Staying hydrated really helps your kidneys to excrete uric acid. It will help them to flush the uric acid into your urine much faster. Make sure you don’t over-hydrate however.

Drinking plenty of water will also dramatically decrease the chance of kidney stone formation as well as helping you to stay away from the sugary drinks that are directly linked to gout flare ups.

Add a healthy dose of lemon juice for an even more alkaline anti-gout drink as backed up clinically by Biernatkaluza et al 

Potassium Levels.

(Full Report – Does Potassium Help Gout?)

Potassium is vital for a healthy body. Moreover, having higher potassium levels (within a safe range) has been shown to help your stomach retain a higher  alkaline level and less therefore less acidic.

This will help to prevent uric acid from crystalizing and turning into urate crystals, instead being filtered out through your urine.

Some list bananas as being great for potassium and they are – but there are no actual studies linking potassium, bananas and gout.

It is thought that potassium supplements of bicarbonate are better ways to top up your potassium levels.

Drink More Coffee!

(Full Report – Does Coffee Affect Gout?)

Coffee has been proven to reduce uric acid levels, although again the number and quality of trials producing this result could be called in to question.

What is perhaps even more interesting is that nobody really knows why or exactly which part of the coffee reduces uric acid levels – it just does.

Fish Oil Supplements.

(Full Report – Does Fish Oil Help Gout?)

Fish oil supplements are a great way to get some of the benefits of eating fish, without the gout-inducing purines.

Thankfully, when fish oil is made, the purines are not transferred leading to a healthy supplement.

Furthermore, fish oils have actually been shown to help reduce gout levels by tackling uric acid levels.

Reduce The Amount Of Fish, Meat And Poultry That You Consume.

How much is too much really varies from person to person.

The best advice is to keep a diary and if you notice that you have had a flare-up twice after eating Trout for example – then swap Trout for something else next time!

It is worth also noting that while many sites list ‘oily fish’ or indeed just ‘seafood’ as being bad for gout – the truth is more specific than that.

A picture of salmon as that is one fish that is not high in purines, despite public perception

Foods that are high in purines are what is really not recommended – but what is high in purines?

Trout for example is high in purines while salmon is relatively low in purines. So Salmon is fine for gout.

Exercise Regularly.

As mentioned above, exercise is great for reducing gout – both from a mobility perspective and a healthy weight one.

However, this needs to be the right exercise and knowing that gout can be triggered by as small a trauma as wearing the wrong shoes, then it is important you avoid contact exercise too.

This could mean no running or contact sports, but similarly certain strength-building exercises for each part of the body are great for helping supporting muscles take more strain in future.

Please see my guides for treatment by body part, for more detail on this.

Specialised Orthotics.

Even how you walk can trigger a gout attack. Specialised orthotics can now be custom-made to help re-balance the way you put your weight down.

These are created with the specific intention (in this case) of keeping weight off potentially painful toes or your heels, depending where you suffer most.

Ginger.

Ginger’s ability to help prevent gout naturally is well documented. One particular trial showed a clear link between ginger and the lowering of uric acid levels. 

An image of ginger root

Furthermore, in The Journal of Scientific and Technology Research it was reported that a ginger compress actually made a big difference to immediate gout pain levels. 

Stop Smoking?

I included this because it is in so many lists about ‘natural treatments for gout’. The truth is however it is largely lazy journalism.

You should quit smoking because you don’t want to die young. But that is your choice. When it comes to gout however, recent trials (Mouhamed et al and Gee Teng et al among others) actually showed a lower urate level in smokers.

However, a large part of the reason for this is thought to be that your body becomes sufficiently ill through oxidative stress that it can’t produce more uric acid.

Good for gout maybe, but certainly not for your health.

Eat Low-Fat Dairy.

Low fat dairy products (skimmed milk etc) have actually been shown to have a protective effect against gout flare ups.

Cherries.

Cherries have often been linked with lowering the levels of uric acid in your body. I have conducted a thorough study in to their proposed benefits. Some empirical evidence (Zhang et al) exists to link a reduced number of gout attacks with eating cherries. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3510330/

Vitamin C.

Vitamin C has been proven to reduce the amount of uric acid in your blood, although there has only been a very limited number of trials demonstrating that Vitamin C can control uric acid and none that link it’s use to directly influencing the number/ frequency of gout occurrences.

An image of orange juice - a great source of vitamin C

Mindful Remedies.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been known to work – not to actually reduce the frequency of attacks, but at least to dampen down the pain when such an occurrence strikes. I cover CBT fully here.

Aqua Therapy.

It is perhaps the exercise with the least impact, as well as being the ultimate merge of physiotherapy and exercise.

So it should come as no surprise, given how often serious injuries are rehabilitated with aqua therapy, that gout can be reduced through regular fitness sessions too.

Ice The Gout.

Again, a lot of site will simply list ‘hot and cold therapy’ as one of the best natural treatments for gout.

The truth though is that heat is traditionally designed to work on muscular stress and will have little or no impact on your gout (beyond the benefit of comforting warmth and a small placebo effect).

Ice on the other hand, actively reduces blood flow to the desired area, therefore reducing swelling and inflammation – two major causes of Gouty arthritis pain.

Indeed, if I had to list them in order of priority, ice would be one of the most effective natural treatments for gout pain I know.

Epsom Salts.

Epsom salts have been shown to provide extra magnesium. It is thought that a magnesium deficiency may significantly worsen inflammation, although to date no studies have been carried out to prove this.

However, a 2015 study did show that adequate magnesium was associated with lower uric acid levels. 

Epsom salts however are typically advised as something to bath in as a way of them into our bodies. This is great in theory but a study by Grober et al in 2017  actually showed that the body cannot absorb enough Epsom Salts to make any difference whatsoever.

So even though it’s on this list because it is well regarded, it is actually unlikely to work in practical terms.

Follow A Sensible Overall Diet.

The best control of uric acid is to be sensible in your food choices and sensible in your weight management.

Being obese or even grossly underweight will both have negative impacts on your body and, in turn, your acid uric acid levels.

Losing weight sensibly can be really helpful, but fasting or severe weight loss can actually temporarily raise uric acid levels and are major causes of further gout attacks, so be careful and make slow adjustments.

Limit Your Alcohol Intake.

Beer is one particularly potent gout-inducer as it has large quantities of sugar present as well as yeast. Alcohol is one of the biggest causes of hyperuricemia (high concentration of uric acid) and directly causes gout by actually slowing down the excretion in the kidneys.

To finish it all off, alcohol also causes dehydration which facilitates the fast build-up of crystals around your joints. Perhaps try at least 2 alcohol-free days a week.

The Final Word –

There are numerous natural remedies for gout that could have made the list purely based on discussion/ listing on other guides.

These include celery, nettle tea, dandelion, milk thistle seeds, apples, hibiscus and many other others. However, in each of the above, there is either very little or no evidence whatsoever behind it’s proposed use.

Instead, I have still included a couple of ‘treatments’ like giving up smoking because I think they are so often quoted that I should be clarifying the actual data at every chance.

Either way, I hope this list has proved helpful to you.

Please check out the more detailed guides to many different potential gout treatments below as well as a treatment guide by area for you.

A Selection Of Other Articles On Gout...

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Further Gout-Related Reports...

References –

1. E.K. Biernatkaluza, N. Schlesinger (2015). SAT0318 Lemon Juice Reduces Serum Uric Acid Level Via Alkalization of Urine in Gouty and Hyperuremic Patients- A Pilot Study. Annals Of The Rheumatic Diseases.
2. Hassan F. Al-Azzawie and Samah A.Abd. (2015). Effects of Crude Flavonoids from Ginger ( Zingiber officinale), on Serum Uric Acid Levels,
Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress and Xanthine Oxidase Activity in Oxonate-Induced Hyperuricemic Rats. International Journal of Advanced Research.
3. Enny Virda Yuniarti, Emyk Windartik, Amar Akbar. (Oct 2017). Effect Of Red Ginger Compress To Decrease
Scale Of Pain Gout Arthiris Patients. International Journal Of Scientific & Technology Reearch.
4. Dhouha Haj Mouhamed, Asma Ezzaher, Fadoua Neffati, Wahiba Douki, Lotfi Gaha, and Mohamed Fadhel Najjar. (2011). Effect of cigarette smoking on plasma uric acid concentrations. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine.
5. Gim Gee Teng, An Pan, Jian-Min Yuan, and Woon-Puay Koh. (Aug 2016). Cigarette smoking and risk of incident gout in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Arthritis Care And Research.
6. Yuqing Zhang, Tuhina Neogi, Clara Chen, Christine Chaisson, David Hunter, and Hyon K. Choi. (Dec 2012). Cherry Consumption and the Risk of Recurrent Gout Attacks. Arthritis and Rheumatology.
7. Yi-lun Wang, Chao Zeng, Jie Wei, Tuo Yang, Hui Li, Zhen-han Deng, Ye Yang, Yi Zhang, Xiang Ding, Dong-xing Xie, Tu-bao Yang, and Guang-hua Lei. (Nov 2015). Association between Dietary Magnesium Intake and Hyperuricemia. PLOS One.
8. Uwe Gröber, Tanja Werner, Jürgen Vormann, and Klaus Kisters. (Aug 2017). Myth or Reality—Transdermal Magnesium? ‘Nutrients’.

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