Gout is a metabolic disturbance characterized by an excess of uric acid in the blood and deposits of uric acid salts in the tissue around the joints, especially in the fingers and toes. It can also occur in the heel, knee, hand, ear, or any joint in the body. Gout results when certain crystals are formed as an end product of improper protein metabolism. These crystals are deposited in a joint, forming a bump or growth that irritates the joint, causing it to become inflamed; thus, an attack of gout occurs.
Gout often appears to be hereditary. However, factors such as obesity, increasing age, and improper diet increase an individual’s susceptibility to gout. Alcohol, a large meal, or any physical or emotional stress also may bring on an attack. The symptoms include: warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in a joint, usually the big toe, knee, or ankle joints are most often affected. The pain often starts at night and can be severe. It may come on for a few days, disappear, then return.
Emphasis should be placed on including adequate intake of fluids to prevent the build-up of the gout-producing crystals in the kidneys. A gradual weight-reduction program for overweight individuals will help prevent gout attacks, but a rapid weight-loss diet may bring on attacks, due to the stressful effect on the body.
Too much red meat, carbonated beverages, sugar and cheese are the most common aggravators. Lots of water, fruits and vegetables are the best approach. The diet most often recommended for gout restricts purines, substances from which uric acid is formed. Some researchers believe the amount of uric acid in foods is too small to cause gout and that the cause really lies in the inefficient breakdown of proteins by the body. However, if a low-purine diet is preferred, generous amounts of all vitamins and minerals, especially the B-Complex vitamins and foods sources of vitamin E, should be taken. Panthothenic acid is necessary for the conversion of uric acid into harmless compounds.
Colchicine is usually used to treat gout and is sometimes combined with probenicid. The side effects involve: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. Nutrient depletion includes: beta-carotene, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, sodium and vitamin B12.
Gout patients are deficient in B vitamins, resulting in uric acid accumulation. Stress rapidly depletes panthothenic acid as well as other B vitamins.
Research has shown that men who had the highest vitamin C intake from supplements were 45 percent less likely to develop gout.
To assist breakdown of all foods.
Cass, Hyla. Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutrition. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub., 2007. Print.