- Fast. During an acute flare, stop eating except for veggie juices and diluted fruit juices. There are several reasons for this. One is to cut off the supply of food which gets converted to uric acid. Another is because your body does a better job of healing itself when it’s not busy constantly digesting things. Give it a break. Especially if you have plenty of calories stored on your person, it won’t hurt you to stop eating for a day or three.
- Hydrate. Drink water and plenty of it. The goal is to dissolve the crystals and pee off the excess uric acid. Four to five liters of water per day is a good baseline for an adult.
- Tart CHERRY juice concentrate. Tart cherry juice helps you get rid of uric acid and helps reduce inflammation that’s causing pain. It’s strong so dilute it in water—2 tablespoons in a glass of water is about right. During an attack drink it all day. For longterm prevention just take one glass of water with tart cherry in it at bedtime. From here down these changes need to be longterm.
- Avoid NSAIDS. The problem is that ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin are notoriously hard on your kidneys, and you need your kidneys working right to get rid of the uric. NSAIDS also impair your healing response. It may be OK to use them occasionally, but DON’T use them every day.
- Cut BEER. Beer is one of the strongest diuretics out there, and it contains purines which get converted to uric acid. Double whammy, beer is a gout-maker. Cut it out entirely if possible. Coffee and wine, while mild diuretics, are less harmful.
- Cut SOFT DRINKS. Anything with fructose in it, including agave syrup, impairs your body’s elimination of uric acid. And they make you die sooner anyway, so quit.
- Abolish Cigarettes. There are few things more inflammatory than smoking. Quit, already. It's not easy but you can do it.
- Easy on the Nightshades. These are tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants. You can eat a little but a lot could trigger an attack. Tobacco is a nightshade too.
- Get your Vitamin C. Longterm high vitamin C intake is preventative. Eat fruit!! And onions.
- Consume OMEGA 3 Fats. Either take Fish Oil or eat fatty fish 2-3 times/week. You need about 3 grams/day from whichever sources, or 4-6 grams during a flare.
- Easy on Animal foods. You can eat meat, cheese and eggs but keep the portions smallish longterm. Animal foods contain purines that make uric in your blood. Eat veggies!!
- SLEEP well. Your best healing is done when you get good rest.
- If you are able to do most of the things on this list and do them consistently you won’t need drug treatment to clear an attack and prevent future ones.
You get a gout diagnosis when your blood is tested and it contains too much uric acid. It happens more with age, and more to men. Uric acid forms crystals that settle in the joints, and dissolve again when the concentration dips. The problem is that the crystals poke holes in the tissues where they form and damage it, causing inflammation (pain, heat, redness) that takes longer to resolve than the crystals take to dissolve. To fix it you have to both dissolve the crystals and heal the tissue. Here is a list of ideas to help you do just that.
The long version on this topic went out in a newsletter, but for those of you who are not subscribed, here’s a quick checklist of ways that you can reduce your dependence on drugstore remedies during allergy season. Now that we know benadryl can contribute to dementia, the last thing we want to do is take that every day.
1. Tolerate some symptoms. A runny nose is rinsing allergens out of your head, and that is good. If you want to help your runny nose do its job instead of taking some drug that dries you up and makes the allergens stay in there, try using a neti pot.
2. Exercise daily. Cardio immediately changes the balance of your immune system and makes you better able to fight infections and less prone to hayfever.
3. Eat a clean diet rich in fruit, veggies and fresh fish, and limited in meat and cheese. Mangos, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, ginger and hot peppers have been shown to reduce allergies. Fast food, leftover fish, and aged meat and cheese definitely increase allergies. Kids who eat fast food have a much higher risk of developing allergic asthma.
4. Limit allergic exposures. This includes changing your sheets and dusting your house, cutting back on foods you are sensitive to, not using soaps that you sometimes react to, wiping down your pets, and generally trying to live in a minimal-allergen environment.
5. Increase Omega 3 fatty acids—You can take fish oil or you can change your diet to consume more fresh fish and certain nuts and seeds, specifically walnuts, chia, flax and hemp. Eggs are allowed because there are omega 3’s in the yolk.
6. Be nice to your intestines because leaky gut is another allergy trigger. Avoid stress, eat fermented foods, avoid NSAIDS, and keep going back to that clean diet with lots of veggies. Make sure you are eliminating every day. A happy intestine reduces your risk of allergies and autoimmune disease.
7. If you drink alcohol, go easy on beer and wine and try mixing drinks with clear liquors instead. Wine contains sulfites which worsen allergies. Gin contains juniper berries which are a fairly strong anti-allergy medicine. And there’s something about gin and tonics that’s perfect when the weather turns warm.
Author: Teresa Gryder
Integrative Physician and Student of Life, Medicine, and the River.