Reduce Uric Acid to Prevent Gout: Details on the Gout Diet

We’ve always known you can reduce uric acid levels, prevent gout and improve your health with diet. But recent evidence clarifies what is worse in a gout diet.

Gout sucks.  In school we were taught that the textbook presentation of gout is when the big toe is so painful that merely the weight of the sheet is too much to bear.

Rarely do the “textbook” descriptions fit in clinical practice.  But, with gout, it seems that every patient I have seen in the middle of a flare up give some variation of this scenario.

For those of you who don’t know, gout is a condition where the levels of uric acid in the bloodstream accumulate to a saturation point.  At this point, the uric acid crystallizes into sharp little shards to broken glass texture that sit in between the surfaces of the joint.

Every movement of that joint grinds those crystals into the soft surface of the joint.  Just thinking about it makes me cringe.

In the long run, gout can destroy a joint and lead to a very, very painful arthritis.

Certainly there are medications that help to lower uric acid levels. Allopurinol and colchicine are some of the most common (although there were some changes with colchicine that recently occurred that have driven the costs up 12,000% because of a single drug company taking advantage of a FDA loophole).

But the reality is that gout IS prediabetes.  One of the things that will drive up uric acid levels is the elevated insulin levels that we see in prediabetes.  (Certain blood pressure meds, ironically, will also increase your risk of developing gout)

This also means that elimination of gout and prevention of flare ups is entirely within your control.

Besides a anti-diabetic lifestyle, lowered intakes of purine rich foods has been known to lower the risk of a gout flare up.  Purine is a portion of a DNA molecule that is found in much higher in certain animal based proteins like

herring, mussels, yeast, smelt, sardines and sweetbreads.

This particular article begins to show just how much of an impact lifestyle plays on gouty flare ups.  Researchers looked at the dietary choices for 2 days prior in patients who had a flare up of gout.  They found:

  1. In those with the highest levels of purine intake (when compared to the lowest levels, they had a 476% increased risk of a gout flare up (Tweet this)
  2. In those with the highest levels of purine intake from animal sources, there was a 241% increased risk of a flare up
  3. When compared to an increased intake of purine from plant based sources, this increased risk shrunk to 39%

Clearly, if you have a history of gout and you’d have some sick desire for self-abuse, you can, quite easily, initiate a flare up.

For the rest of you who don’t particularly like the exquisite pain associated with a gout flare up, you know that an anti-diabetic lifestyle and a diet low in purines (animal sources in particular) will go a long way towards preventing a flare up.

If you suffer from gout, are there any foods or drinks that you have identified as almost guaranteeing a flare up?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.