Alive Advisor: Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils reduce inflammation in gout

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Dear Dr Rona:

My husband was having a problem with his leg, swelling mainly in the knee area and some down to his ankle, It got to the point where he could not get his work boots on.

The doctor put him in the hospital immediately saying he was sure it was a blood clot. The first diagnosis was gout. He was given pills and things were fine until they were all gone. All tests for a blood clot showed nothing. He was in the hospital for four days. They just say it was gout caused by a high amount of acid in his body. He was told to cut down on red meat and definitely no liver

DS

Dear DS:

Gout is the name given to a condition that results from too much uric acid in the blood, joints, kidneys or other body tissues. When uric acid accumulates it forms crystals and causes pain and swelling in the joints. If uric acid crystallizes in the kidney, stones may be produced. There are many causes of gout, including a long list of metabolic conditions (cancer, psoriasis, hemolytic anemia, specific enzyme defects like Lesch-Nyhan syndrome) and several kidney diseases. Some cytotoxic drugs, chronic lead poisoning and high fructose (sugar) consumption can also lead to gout. Make sure your doctor determines the source of the problem before you embark on any natural therapy.

In uncomplicated cases, diet is very important in the prevention and treatment of gout. Weight reduction in obese individuals reduces uric acid levels significantly. Drink at least eight glasses of distilled water daily. For short term relief, raw fruits, vegetables and their juices (especially celery, liquid chlorophyll, carrot, spinach and parsley) are recommended in large amounts. Whole grains, seeds and nuts can also be included in a uric acid-lowering diet. Cherries strawberries should be eaten in large amounts because of their ability to neutralize uric acid. One published study demonstrated that consuming half a pound of fresh or canned, unsweetened cherries per day lowers uric acid and prevents gout attacks. When cherries are not in season, alternatives include hawthorn berries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Rich foods, coffee, sugar and white flour products aggravate gout. Avoidance of purine-rich foods and alcohol will help prevent the accumulation of uric acid. Purine-rich foods include red meats, sweetbreads, shellfish, anchovies, herring, sardines, meat gravies, consommé, mussels, all organ meats, asparagus and yeast products. Other foods which increase uric acid are fish, poultry, dried beans, lentils, peas, spinach, cauliflower, oatmeal and mushrooms. These latter foods may be added back to the diet in small amounts once the acute attack is under control. Vitamin B[3] (niacin) in large doses may also elevate uric acid and must be avoided in anything other than a B complex supplement.

Supplements which help in the treatment of gout include vitamin B complex (100-200mgs daily), folic acid (25-75rags daily), vitamin C (3000-6000 mgs daily), vitamin E (800 IU daily) and magnesium chelate (500 mgs daily). Folic acid inhibits the enzyme xanthine oxidase which is responsible for producing uric acid.

Omega-3 and omega-6 EPA oils (flax seed oil and oil of evening primrose or borage) are important for their role in limiting inflammation.

Recommended reading:

Joy of Health by Zoltan Rona, MD, MSc (sc) 252 pp $16.95

Available at your health food store or from alive Books PO Box 80055 Burnaby BC V5H 3X1. Please include $1.50 p&h plus 7% GST.

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By Zoltan Rona

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