Mention the word gout and many people will think it’s a condition that only people that ate or drank to excess before the 20th century got. The reality is that a proportion of the population, and not just those who continue to over eat or drink, still develop gout every year. Affecting more men than women the most common indicators of gout are sudden and severe pains in the feet at first with subsequent attacks also occurring in other joints of the body too. So what vitamin or health supplements can help to relieve the symptoms of gout?
What is gout?
The condition gout is brought about by an excess of uric acid in the blood due to the body not metabolizing waste products of certain foods or drink correctly. The build up of uric acid eventually results in the formation of sharp crystals settling in and around joints – which cause inflammation and result in the sometimes excruciating pain associated with gout. The first signs of gout are pains in the instep, ankle, heel or big toe. The occurrence of gout in the big toe is also known as podagra. Although pretty well any joint in the body could be the source of a gout attack the most common other ones are the elbow, wrist, fingers and knee.
Causes of gout.
Over eating and an excessive consumption of alcohol, especially between the ages of 20 and 40 are often perceived as the causes of gout. Whilst they are most certainly a cause of gout they are not the only ones. Some people can just be born unlucky enough to have inherited a tendency towards developing gout as it is often an hereditary disease, especially in families with naturally high levels of triglycerides in their blood. Kidney disease patients and those on antibiotics, diuretics or chemotherapy drugs to treat cancers are all also susceptible to forming gout. Apart from not over eating or drinking – other things you can do to avoid developing gout are: high blood pressure, not to go on crash diets, not to binge drink and avoid exposure to lead. It’s also worth noting that eating foods high in purines, like anchovies or liver, can also cause gout to flare up.
Supplements for gout.
When an attack of gout occurs a conventional pain killer is pretty well all that can be used to alleviate the pain. However, there are some health and vitamin supplements you can use to help reduce the frequency and intensity of the pain experienced. Being an inflammation a health supplement to definitely recommend here is Bromelain, an anti-inflammatory digestive enzyme. Two 500mg doses a day, on an empty stomach, of Bromelain should help to reduce further gout attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids, especially those from fish oils or flaxseed oil, are another anti-inflammatory agent that can reduce leukotrienes, which will damage the tissue around a gout ridden joint. 2 grams of an Omega-3 fatty acid a day should suffice here. Getting rid of any free radicals in your body is always a good idea, so make sure you get at least 500mg of vitamin C a day. Another important vitamin is vitamin E, take 250mg twice a day as another anti-inflammatory measure. Regarding removing uric acid from your body; vitamin C is also known to help the body excrete uric acid, reducing its ability to accumulate in tissue, as will the health supplement Quercetin – take 125mg at the same time as taking the Bromelain. Cherry fruit extract, devils claw or olive leaf or nettle tea and eating celery and bilberries are all also known to help reduce levels of uric acid in the body and help fight inflammation.
Other ways to combat gout.
Obesity is scourge of modern society and will definitely contribute to developing gout and exacerbating its symptoms, so if you’re overweight – get yourself on a weight loss program. Avoid alcohol and drink at least 2 liters of water a day to help dilute the uric acid. Your diet in general can be important too. Avoid fats, refined carbohydrates, an excess of proteins and anything containing purines. When using vitamin C be careful that you don’t over use it,a s an excess of vitamin C with gout can lead to kidney stones, which will be very painful indeed. As always, consult with your physician if you think you have gout and especially if you’re on other medications for another condition.