Out with Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when too much uric acid builds up. It causes glass like crystals to form in joints, aggravates the kidneys (acid urine and stone formation) and potentiates high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Hyperuricemia (gout) is diagnosed with a blood test of serum uric acid (SUA) above 420 μM (70 μg/ml). 

It can be hereditary in nature, or the result of another condition. Gout usually affects men over forty with a family history of gout. Certain foods, alcohol, surgery, infection, physical or emotional stress, various drugs can contribute to the development of gout symptoms.


note: This post is not intended for individual medical advice. See medical disclaimer.

  • extreme pain in a single joint, usually the base of the big toe, but can also affect the feet, fingers, wrists, elbows, knees or ankles
  • joint becomes shiny red, purple, swollen, hot and stiff
  • fever high as 39 °C (102.2 °F), could have chills
  • rapid onset, usually comes at night, relieves in 5-10 days, with potential to return.
  • Acid, burning urine, cramping (stone formation); at a urine pH of 5.3, 50% of uric acid will be stone forming
  • Symptoms of a kidney stone mimic appendicitis. Signs to watch for are nausea, vomiting, blood in the urine, sudden, severe pain that gets worse in waves. Stones may cause intense pain in the back, side, abdomen, groin, or genitals.
  • As disease progress, may see uric acid crystals come to surface; lumps under skin at outer ear, hands, feet, elbow, knee

Eliminating all forms of alcohol is often all it takes to prevent gouty arthritis in many people. Alcohol increases uric acid production and reduces uric acid excretion. As alcohol is digested it breaks down accelerates purine nucleotide production (increases uric acid). Drinking or storing alcohol from leaded crystal may contribute to the build of uric acid because the lead consumed will impair the kidney’s ability to eliminate uric acid.

How diet can help

Purines are a type of protein that gets metabolized into uric acid. A low-purine diet has long been known to alleviate the symptoms of gout.  However, with the advent of potent drugs that lower uric acid levels, many physicians lower the serum urate levels without the inconvenience and deprivation associated with a purine-free diet. Furthermore, there are naturopathic remedies to help ease the strain of hyperuricemia. Regardless, dietary restriction of purines is recommended to reduce metabolic stress.

Naturopathic Treatment Options

Lifestyle, dietary, genetic, metabolic, and gut health related factors all contribute to joint pain. This means there is plenty of natural opportunity to assist the return to reduced pain in regular activities of daily living. Assessment includes imaging, various blood tests, physical exam, and comprehensive stool analysis. Food sensitivities, gut microbiota and lumen health, genetic risk factors, and immune modulation are all important considerations in a wholistic individualized treatment plan.

Naturopathic medicine is powerful and unique to the individual and design to remove obstacles to healing and support that body’s natural mechanisms of health. Types of therapies vary and can include:

  • Dietary and lifestyle guidelines
  • Botanical (plant based medicine)
  • Acupuncture
  • Natural anti-inflammatories
  • Homeopathy

Questions about what might contribute to your joint pain? Email drlaura@southendguelph.ca

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