03.03.2016 Naturopathy

Do You Have Gout?

Gout has traditionally been associated with men indulging a rich diet but, says naturopath Lyn Craven, it’s now affecting women and non-drinkers as well.

Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis that can cause extreme pain due to too much uric acid in the blood.

This occurs if the body either makes too much uric acid or cannot excrete it in large enough quantities.

Uric acid is a by-product of purines broken down by the body's digestive and waste system, which, in turn, breaks down and builds up body and food tissues through food intake. Uric acid is dissolved in the blood and flushed out through the kidneys.Increased uric acid levels is known as Hyperuricaemia.

Uric acid deposits move to extremities of the body causing inflammation in and around tendon area; this is due to the body producing white blood cells to combat the uric acid intruder. The inflamed area also produces heat. Uric acid can produce needle-like crystals, which tear into the synovial sacks and cartilage between joints.

All the above should not be left untreated since serious health issues can arise. Levels of pain will vary in intensity from discomfort to extreme pain and complete body immobility. Do not take these symptoms lightly as gout is a serious condition.

This disease has long-term effects on the joints and tendons and, if not treated, can lead to heart and kidney disease and other major problems.

Gout has been described as occurring predominately in men, yet more incidences among women are now being observed and even in people who do not consume alcohol.

Who could develop gout?

  • Up to 18% of people with gout have a family history of the disease
  • Gout is more common in men than in women
  • It is more common in adults than in children
  • Being overweight leads to excess uric acid production
  • Excessive alcohol intake can lead to hyperuricaemia
  • Enzyme defects can interfere with how the body breaks down purines
  • Exposure to lead can cause gout
  • Poor digestion

Other contributors:

People who take certain medicines or have certain health conditions can have high levels of uric acid. Some drugs can lead to hyperuricaemia since they reduce the body's ability to remove uric acid. These include:

  • Diuretics – increase the rate of urine excretion
  • Salicylates - anti-inflammatory medicines made fromsalicylic acid ie aspirin
  • Niacin - also called nicotinic acid, B3
  • Cyclosporine - immunosuppressant
  • Levodopa - treats Parkinson’s Disease

If you taking these medications, consult your doctor/practitioner.

Avoid high purine foods such as:

Hearts - herring – mussels – yeast – sardines – sweetmeats -anchovies – grouse – turkey – kidneys – partridge – trout - goose – haddock -pheasant – scallops -mutton -veal – salmon -scallops -fatty red meats – bacon- liver

Common issues often overlooked in conventional medicine are inadequate digestive enzyme or hormone function and leaky gut syndrome. If you have experienced any illness affecting the function of your digestion, liver, pancreas or duodenum then usually there is mal-absorption present where nutrients are not being assimilated and processed efficiently. This results in other gut-based symptoms and health disorders. Long-term stress can also have impact on your digestion.

It is paramount that you have the ability to digest, absorb and assimilate all foods, especially protein sources, efficiently. If not, then one of the many symptoms and health issues you may experience could be gout.

How to resolve this disease

  • Change your diet. See a professional practitioner to assess your digestive function, dietary requirements.
  • Drink 1.5/2 litres water daily plus vegetable juices
  • Eliminate sugar, processed/packaged foods with additives, fatty foods and alcohol; eat plenty of salads and green vegetables.
  • Herbal/homeopathic remedies have been proven to clear up gout symptoms and free up uric acid in the blood. Do not self diagnose here - it takes more than celery and parsley to clear up! This is a deep systemic problem.You would be on these remedies for a few months before symptoms clear up.It could be recommended (since each case is different), that you take the remedy again within a couple of months for 1-2 months then take a break again. Other people may find they don’t need to take the remedies again unless any slight symptoms recurred.

Patience and consistency is required for optimum results - much depends on how chronic the condition is.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest medications for gout have reduced the need for dietary restrictions. Taking drugs to combat symptoms and continuing to eat the offending foods is not the ideal solution for good health. People who cannot tolerate gout medications need to change their diet.Taking medications does not give one a “licence” to eat anything, anytime, yet you do meet people with this perspective and this is how they may choose to live. All drugs do create some side effects, usually interfering with digestive function!

Lyn Craven

Lyn Craven is a practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy, Energy/Reiki therapist, meditation teacher and Corporate Health Consultant. She is also a health researcher/writer and has produced a meditation CD assisting people to manage anxiety and stress. She runs a private practice in Sydney and can be contacted on +61403 231 804