Gout attack? have some cherries!

Great information supporting use of cherry extract or just eating a bowl of cherries to prevent an attack of gout  presented by Jonathan Kay, Professor of Medicine and Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center, in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. It is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, where the uric acid crystallizes, and the crystals deposit in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues, instead of dissolving in blood and passing through kidneys and into urine as it normally does.

cherries

In the 1931 musical Scandals, Ethel Merman sang a song that began, “Life is just a bowl of cherries.” It turns out that gout might also be just a bowl of cherries. Gout is a very prevalent condition, affecting more than 8 million individuals in the United States, and is a very common reason for patients to present to the rheumatologist.

Recently, many patients have come in saying that they take cherry extract or eat cherries to prevent an attack of gout. Is there any scientific basis for this?

In December 2012, Zhang and colleagues[1] from Boston University Medical Center published a very interesting paper in Arthritis and Rheumatism. In this case/control study, patients with gout were enrolled in an Internet-based registry. Investigators picked a 2-day period just before an attack of gout and compared that period with the 2 preceding days and the 2 subsequent days as control periods unrelated to an attack of gout.

The investigators validated the diagnosis of gout in more than 550 patients by looking at medical records authorized by the patients for review, and found that this group of patients had more than 1250 attacks of gout. The investigators looked at various self-reported dietary items, including cherries and other unrelated foods. They found that the intake of cherries before an attack of gout reduced the likelihood of experiencing an acute attack of gout by one third compared with the intake of unrelated foods.

This interesting finding suggests that there may be some basis to the ingestion of cherry extract or cherries to reduce attacks of gout. What might be the scientific basis for this? Cherry extract blocks the tubular reabsorption of urate and increases urate excretion in the urine. Cherry juice may also block xanthine oxidase and reduce the production of uric acid.

Cherry extract has a synergistic effect with allopurinol. Moreover, cherries contain anthocyanins, which are somewhat anti-inflammatory. Thus, there may actually be a reason why patients are making the right decision by ingesting cherries. Future controlled clinical trials of cherry extract should help to confirm or disprove this very interesting epidemiologic observation.

Nature is our medicine cabinet indeed 🙂

To your health,

Elena

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gout/DS00090/DSECTION=causes
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/803289?nlid=31192_1521&src=wnl_edit_medp_wir&uac=199688CG&spon=17

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Showing 12 comments
  • Lovin.Life.Properly
    Reply

    “Nature is our medicine cabinet” – never a truer word spoken my dear 😀

    • Elena
      Reply

      Amazing is it not? I love using natural remedies to heal/cure ailments, so wonderful not to have to use drugs when unnecessary.

  • gardeningvix
    Reply

    Brilliant blog! My mate has started getting the dreaded gout, I will tell him! Thank you!xx

    • Elena
      Reply

      🙂 thank you for the kind words! I am super happy I may be of help! I love cherries and would love an excuse to eat them every day so I hope this will help your mate. Thank you so much for stopping by! Elena

  • adifferentcraig
    Reply

    Such an interesting read. Love the line at the very end “nature is our medicine cabinet”

    • Elena
      Reply

      Thank you, I also thought hat this was good info, nice reminder of why we should eat more fruits and vegetables – keeps up healthy 🙂

  • gaybjörnar
    Reply

    certainly like your web site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I will certainly come back again.

    • Elena
      Reply

      Thank you so much for stoping by and for the comment.
      I know….spelling issues I am sure are pretty common in my writing. I never studied English, just picked it up living in US. For me sharing is more important than worrying about grammar, I would not want that to hold me back 🙂 But I truly do apologize if it bothers you, I am doing my best 🙂 Again thank you for visiting! Elena

  • rain0021
    Reply

    But cherries are so seasonal, and expensive at least where I live. And more importantly for some of my patients, eating cherries is a poor substitute for drinking too much alcohol and an unhealthy diet.

    • Elena
      Reply

      Hello Rain0012, it seems like the study has been conducted using cherry extract as well as cherries, so cherry extract may be ia good option.
      I also think the more people hear about benefits of real foods the more likely they are to start incorporating them into their diet, I believe in crowding bad stuff out. The more good food we eat, the less bad stuff we will consume 🙂
      Thank you very much for the comment and for stopping by! Elena

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