What is Gout?

What is Gout - Arthritis Health


Gout is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis. It is usually a sudden, severe joint pain that involves swelling and redness. Gout can affect multiple joints including hands, wrists, knees, and most classic is great toes. .


Gout is caused by increased levels of uric acid that create urate crystals and deposit in joints. Uric acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is produced when your body breaks down purines. Purines are found in certain foods and drinks such as seafood, alcohol, and organ meats.

Gout typically affects men more often however women’s uric acid levels increase after menopause. Men are more likely to develop gout earlier in life, usually between the age of 30-50 and women typically develop gout symptoms after menopause.


Gout can be effectively managed by lowering uric acid level to below 6 for long enough to dissolve uric acid deposits. This is accomplished through medications, avoidance of high purine foods and alcohol, regular exercise, and weight loss. Medications commonly used to lower uric acid include Allopurinol and Febuxostat both which lower the amount of uric acid the body produces.

High purine foods that could trigger a gout attack include organ meats such as liver, seafood and especially shellfish such as shrimp, lobsters, anchovies, and sardines. Other foods that can trigger an attack include alcohol, beer, and high-fructose corn syrup which is in a number of processed foods and drinks.

Weight loss is another way to reduce risk of gout attacks. If you are overweight, your body produces more uric acid. An obese person is 3 times more likely to develop gout. Other key lifestyle factors include regular exercise and staying hydrated with water.


There are multiple OTC supplements you can take to help prevent gout and help lower uric acid levels. Vitamin C has been shown to help prevent gout and lowers uric acid. A 2011 meta-analysis found that taking vitamin C supplement reduced blood uric acid. Usual dosing for vitamin C is 500mg-1000mg daily.

The American Academy of pain management recommends using methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) to help lower inflammation. MSM is an organic sulfur compound that helps form connective tissue.

Folic acid is another supplement that can help with uric acid levels. Folic acid is thought to break down high levels of homocysteine which are often high in people who have high uric acid levels.

Anthocyanins found in cherries have an anti-inflammatory property that can decrease the amount of uric acid. One study as cited by the Arthritis Foundation, found a 50% reduction in flares when patients took 1 tablespoon of tart cherry extract twice a day for 4 months – 1 tablespoon of tart extract is the equivalent of 45-60 cherries.


Please talk to your doctor first before starting any new supplements.