Cherry Juice For Gout: The Complete Story
Do a little word association. If I say the word “gout”, what do you think of? Do you think of old men or pork? You probably don’t hear much about gout, though it effects millions of people each year.
Specifically, over 8 million people have gout. In 2008 alone, 8.3 million people reported that they had been diagnosed by their doctors with gout! While gout is considered to predominately effect men, the numbers become much more even after women reach menopause. After that time, the rate of gout in men vs. women is almost even.
So what exactly is gout? Gout is an incredibly painful form of arthritis caused by a build up of uric acid crystals in the bloodstream. It usually effects the big toe, but can cause pain in other joints as well.
Uric acid is naturally found in our bloodstreams, but when too much of it builds up, it forms into crystals. Those crystals build up in the big toe, causing debilitating pain.
The pain is often described as a fire, and sufferers report not even being able to have a sheet over their toes when a gout attack hits. To make matters worse, flare ups traditionally wake patients from their sleep because they occur most often in the middle of the night.
To understand how to treat gout, we have to understand how it got started in the first place. While genetics play a part, lifestyle factors are largely to blame for gout symptoms. Meat is traditionally blamed for gout, because it effected mostly the ruling classes in earlier times.
Now we know that sugar and alcohol are more damaging and more likely to cause gout. The best treatments, in addition to lifestyle changes, come in a combination of homeopathy and scientific medicine (I have made it over 3 years without pharmaceuticals, so stick with me if that is your goal).
One of your secret weapon at home: cherries.
Don’t use just any cherries though. The type of cherry can make all the difference. So which cherries do you eat? Is it better to have the whole fruit or the juice? Are supplements as effective? Let’s talk about those things.
What Causes Gout?
So you know the basic causes of gout, but how does your body go from taking in too much sugar to having your big toe feel like it’s on fire? We’ll break that down now in plain language.
The foods you eat are broken down into enzymes and proteins. Your body funnels these where they need to go, and then your body uses them as fuel to run or building materials. When you eat more than you need of something, your body has to do something with it.
With water soluble things, you excrete them through your urine. The process from food to gout is begun with purines. The purines are filtered through your kidneys. When your kidneys get too much to filter properly, they end up in your bloodstream as uric acid. Different foods contain different amounts of purines.
While the science is not exact, sugar jacks these levels way up. This includes sugar from fruit, soda, and alcohol. All that uric acid can’t just hang out in your bloodstream, so the bits of it bond together into crystalline structures that have sharp edges. The sharp edges in these crystals cause them to stick together. They get all clumped up in your big toe, and your body responds as it would to any foreign object. The big toe swells. The more swelling that happens, the more those crystals stab.
The resulting redness and burning is incredible. A gout attack can last a few days up to over a week. After it goes away, it might be a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years before you experience another one. The goal, obviously is to lessen the time an attack lasts and to extend the time between attacks.
How Cherries Help With Gout
So now you know how your food can turn into gout. The next question is: how do we stop it? Let’s talk about how that secret weapon can reduce your gout symptoms and lengthen the time between attacks.
Scientists have been astounded by what they’ve learned about a simple cherry’s ability to help gout patients. Recent studies involving hundreds of patients concluded that gout sufferers who at one cup of cherries every day reduced their likelihood of another attack by 35%. More cherries equaled a lower risk of attack.
How do cherries help? I told you earlier that the foods you eat are broken down into parts. When cherries are broken down, your body puts parts like bioflavonoids and anthocyanins to work. Simply, these things fight inflammation and lessen uric acid levels in the blood.
Less uric acid in the blood means less work your kidneys have to do, keeping the buildup of uric acid down and eliminating those harsh, sharp crystals.
It takes as few as two servings of cherries every day to get your uric acid down a significant amount. Doing this over a long period of time can help you keep steady control over your uric acid levels, all but eliminating symptoms when combined with other pro-gout foods and foodstuffs like apple cider vinegar.
What makes cherries that one magic bullet though? Don’t other fruits have the compounds that can help your gout? Yes and no. First, let’s get something clear. There are no magic bullets for gout. A change in lifestyle is the only sure method to winning this fight, but back to the cherries because they do help from my personal experience.
Anthocyanins 1 and 2 are found in the best concentration in cherries. Other fruits usually only contain one of the two types. Cherries also pack bioflavonoids and antioxidants too, making them basically a gout super fruit.
Bioflavonoids act as both an antioxidant and as an anti inflammatory agent. Antioxidants in cherries help prevent uric acid from building up.
All these things together make cherries perfect, but what kind of cherries are the best for gout?
Sweet Cherries vs Tart Cherries For Gout
When you talk about cherries and gout, you hear two types of cherries first: tart and sweet: Comparing the two can help you decide what’s best for your body.
Tart cherries have much high concentrations of anthocyanins, three times as much in fact. The anthocyanins are what give tart cherries their deep, rich color and their healing abilities.
While sweet cherries are much tastier than their tart friends, you have to eat more of them to help with your gout. More sweet cherries means eating more sugar, and we discussed that sugar is one of the things that is causing your gout in the first place.
Making tart cherry juice drinkable is the biggest hurdle. In juice form, you can mix it with other things to enhance the flavor, which tart cherries on their own are harder to work with.
The Black Cherry Extract
Another things you might consider is black cherries. While they are not a replacement for tart cherries, they can provide protection against gout symptoms as well. Black cherry extract is a great source of antioxidants and is well known to help joint pain.
Black cherry extract also helps process the uric acid in your system, and you want to do anything you can to keep that uric acid from building up and crystallizing.
It’s common to take one or two doses of black cherry extract three times per day, but talk to your doctor first. Consulting your physician can head off any problems you might have. It also allows you to scientifically track your progress so you know what is helping and how much.
Cherry Extract Pills & Supplements
If drinking cherry juice is just too much for you, pills and supplements are available. While they are helpful, following instructions and measuring doses is incredibly important here!
The first thing to consider is the brand you choose. Many brands of supplements have recently been accused of making fraudulent claims as to what is in their pills. Independent testing revealed the brands using filler products instead of the listed ingredients. When in doubt, do your research and go with a brand that you trust.
The second thing to consider is an appointment with your doctor. Bring your research and a list of questions with you to the appointment. Let your doctor know that you’d like to start taking the supplements, and get an opinion.
This will do several things for you. First, if you have any allergy or negative reaction, your doctor will know where it’s coming from. Secondly, you can track your progress medically through tests, which lets your assess your progress scientifically to tailor the best program for you.
Homeopathy should always be used alongside the medical advice and treatment of your doctor. You should also use it with the same care you use when your doctor gives you instructions. If you have a prescription that tells you how much and when to take a medicine, you follow those instructions. Homeopathic supplements should be taken with the same care and discipline to be effective.
With supplements, consider dosage and efficacy when choosing a product. Also remember that dried cherry in a supplement will take longer to digest than cherry juice, and you should allow for that time.
Combining Homeopathic Medicine And Traditional Medicine For Gout
There is not one simple magic pill to cure your gout. Different things help in different amounts. It varies person to person. You want to attack the cause of the problem, the symptoms, and the disease itself. Cherries help a lot with these things, but they may not be enough for you.
I want to warn against adding things to your routine without thought, research, or discipline. Just pouring some cherry juice now and again will not help you, and it will likely put you off of finding help for your gout. Anything you take, use a measured dose at regular intervals. Use the same discipline you’d apply to traditional medication.
Your doctor can test the uric acid buildup in your blood. If your doctor knows that you are going to start a line of treatment like cherries, they can test your baseline uric acid levels.
They can also provide regular testing to see how much the cherries are helping. This allows you and your doctor to work as a team, adjust your dosages, and find exactly what works for you.
Your doctor can also provide Cox-2 inhibitors via certain NSAIDS. Cox 1 and 2 are enzymes that promote inflammation. An inhibitor, found in some NSAIDS, can reduce the inflammation and keep it down.
There are many things you can use to help manage pain and inflammation. Use cherries, apple cider vinegar, eliminate alcohol and as much sugar as you can from your diet and you will see marked improvements.
Your Diet Is The Number 1 Way To Stop Gout Attacks Before They Start
It’s really strange that most do not take diet seriously, but given the crap that is out there, even main stream science based medicine is full of hogwash.
You really don’t need a cookbook that gives you what you need to eat and how to prepare it. Too many of those out there and they’re all telling you the same thing!
Let’s be frank, most will not change their diet if it taste like 20 year old cracker that was lost in the pantry… but you don’t have to. My long research into gout and what causes it made it easy for me to not only change my diet, it made me change my mind about food in general.
You can find my book here. I promise, you’ll thank me later.