Gout is a form of arthritis that belongs to musculoskeletal diseases. It is caused by the deposition of crystals in the joints due to elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, which is called hyperuricemia.
What is uric acid and gout?
Uric acid results from the metabolism of a group of compounds called purines found naturally in food and produced by the body. As normal uric acid values in the blood are 3.5-7.2mg / dl for men and 2.6-6.0mg / dl for women. Increased levels of uric acid in the blood result in hyperuricemia which can, in turn, cause gout or even nephrolithiasis. Elevated levels of uric acid lead to the creation of uric acid crystals, which are deposited in tendons, synovial fluid, ligaments and other parts of the body, causing inflammation and pain. As with other types of arthritis, there are also periods of exacerbations and remissions of gout.
Risk factors for gout include:
- High levels of uric acid
- High intake of foods rich in purines, such as red meat, cold cuts, fish, shellfish
- Alcohol, mainly beer and wine
- Increased weight – obesity
- Genetic predisposition
People suffering from hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, kidney disease or having kidney stones have also increased the risk of having gout.
Elevated uric acid levels have no symptoms, so biochemical testing is required at regular intervals. In contrast, gout is characterized by severe pain due to inflammation, edema and redness of the joints, especially in the acute stages of the disease.
Treatment of hyperuricemia
Lifestyle and nutrition
It is recommended abundant water consumption (> 3lt per day), restricting foods rich in purines and fats, such as red meat and cold cuts, as well as avoiding alcohol and sugary drinks. In addition, it is recommended to increase physical activity with daily exercise and to obtain a normal body weight, as excess fat is associated with increased levels of uric acid.
Gout is an inflammatory condition characterized by pain, swelling and increased oxidative stress. Normally, almost 70% of the uric acid in the body is excreted via the kidneys in the urine. Many dietary supplements have been studied to reduce uric acid levels and are categorized as follows:
- Diuretic action (Blackcurrant, Celery, Nettle, Black Cherry). Herbs with diuretic action that help in the urinary excretion of uric acid, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Anti-inflammatory action (Omega 3, Turmeric, Bromelain). They help fight inflammation and they have antioxidant properties.
Vitamin C (Vitamin C)
Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin which can reduce uric acid levels by inhibiting the responsible enzyme for its production, xanthine oxidase and possibly increasing the rate of glomerular filtration.
They have traditionally been used to treat gout. Black grape juice is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. They may reduce the acute attacks of gout by reducing uric acid levels, increasing its urinary excretion, and lowering inflammation levels.
Omega 3 and turmeric
Although it seems reasonable to assume that anti-inflammatory compounds may have some benefit in treating acute gout, there is not much research so far to prove it. However, it has generally been shown that omega 3 fatty acids and turmeric reduce inflammation of the joints, caused by pro-inflammatory cytokines.