THE BLOG
05/19/2011 08:48 am ET Updated Mar 06, 2013

How Do You Get the Gout?

One of the latest drugs being advertised is for relief of the gout. Its disclaimer states that in taking the drug, "your gout may flare up when you start taking [this drug]; Do not stop taking it. Your healthcare provider may give you other medicines to help prevent your gout flares."

Are they serious?!

They want you to take a drug to relieve gout, yet it may cause gout, and if it does then you may be given an additional drug to help with that! When does it end?

This manufacturer also wants you to believe that "you aren't the cause of your gout." Well, actually, you are and you aren't; but either way, it's created by certain foods and/or substances ingested, and can simply be prevented.

Gout is an ugly sounding name for an ugly and painful affliction. It is not something you catch.

'Purines' are natural components contained in most foods, but there are certain foods that contain higher amounts, and these can get you into trouble. When the body breaks down purines, the by-product created is 'uric acid', which crystallizes like tiny pieces of salt. Gout is the term for the end result of the buildup of these crystals that tend to accumulate in joints, and eventually inflame and create pain.

Doctors can monitor a person's uric acid level by a simple blood test. The more times a person experiences gout in their life, the more permanently debilitating it can be.

I will get to the foods that contribute to gout later, but the kicker is that there are also certain prescription drugs and nutritional supplements that can then accelerate the onset of gout. Here is a list of most of them:

1. Diuretics. Diuretics are prescribed to over 12 million Americans yearly, usually for high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. They are the biggest contributor of uric acid in the system; taking the diuretic may not give you gout, but if it is taken in conjunction with other gout-causing substances, watch out.

2. Niacin. Niacin comes in many forms. The beneficial vitamin B3 found in meats, seafood, and grains, it adds to cellular energy, aids the nervous system, and good for healthy skin. But currently it is very often prescribed in very high dosages for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. The prescription drugs Niaspan and Niacor are made with niacin. These high doses elevate the levels of uric acid. Unfortunately, it may be prescribed to those also taking diuretics, and here again it becomes a problem (50 mg. is usually fine).

3. D-Ribose. A natural simple sugar created in the body works on muscle to improve endurance and stamina, and commonly used by athletes or people with heart conditions. Unfortunately a rare side effect is that it contributes to the buildup of uric acid.

4. L-Arginine. A basic amino acid that benefits heart function, and is known to produce increased nitric oxide levels in the body that dilate arteries, aiding in circulation. Because of this side effect, it is currently popular for use with erectile dysfunction. But this common amino acid also contributes to the buildup of uric acid.

5. Glycine. Another amino acid that converts to uric acid more rapidly in those prone to gout.

6. Aspirin. Common everyday aspirin can impair the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys. Many think that taking aspirin might help relieve the pain of gout, but it's just the opposite.
As for foods, there are a number of various healthful as well as unhealthful foods that have the high purine content that causes gout. By eating too many from this list within a certain period of time, along with lack of enough water to flush it out, the uric acid will find its way into the joints, and gout will flare.
7. d-Mannose
8. Chlorella
9. Cyclosporine
10. Pyrazinamide
11. Levodopa
12. Certain antibiotics

Foods to avoid if taking the above drugs or supplements are:
Shellfish
Anchovies
Sardines
Spinach
Peanuts
Caffeine
Beer/alcohol
Asparagus
Organ meats
Peas
Refined sugar
Refined flour products
Fried foods
Beans (legumes)
Cauliflower
Mushrooms
High fructose corn syrup
Cashews

An abundance of meat and fish can contribute to problems as well.

Foods to help fight off uric acid and gout are:
Celery
Green/string beans
Artichoke
Pineapple
Apple
Cherries
Nuts
Eggs
Greens (except spinach)
Strawberries
Yogurt/cheese
Tomato
Barley

Other natural substances to help relieve gout are:
Black Cherry Extract
Bicarbonate of Soda
Lemon Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar
Ginger
Taurine
Cetyl myristoleate
Malic acid
B6

If these foods are taken alone for a few days, along with a large amount of water consumption, gout most often disappears.

So don't be sold on the idea that gout cannot be naturally controlled or cured. It results from three things, and can be eliminated by controlling the intake of these three things:
1. eating too many purine rich foods within a number of days;
2. not drinking enough water daily to flush out the uric acid;
3. taking certain prescription drugs and nutritional supplements along with or without the high-purine foods.

Think about it; if you were to consume shrimp, meat, peanut butter, spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, refried beans, while taking an 800 mg. dose of niacin, and a diuretic for days at a time, gout would be most inevitable.

Once seen as an "old person's" illness, it has crept into the lives of the younger population as well, and mainly because of diets containing more processed foods, and because of the over-prescribed diuretic drug. Nature has a way of balancing the system into a good state of health; we just have to find the right path to accomplish that.

Doing so, we can check off another drug and another malady.