The Natural Way to Beat Gout
By Dr. Mark Stengler on 04/15/2012
I don’t know what’s worse: Gout, or the drugs prescribed to treat this painful condition.
Some of these meds can actually make the gout worse before it gets any better – assuming you even get better at all. And one common gout med comes with death as a possible side effect.
(That’s a heck of a price to pay for a little relief.)
One of these meds was just at the heart of an $800 million Big Pharma acquisition, so you can expect to see some pretty aggressive marketing for it in the coming months.
Don’t fall for it.
I’ve had great success curing this condition naturally, and the science backs up one of my favorite approaches: plain old vitamin C.
You should be increasing your C intake anyway, since most people are badly deficient. And along with the vitamin’s famous immune-boosting powers, it can also help protect you from gout.
One study of 46,994 men tracked for up to 20 years finds that those who got at least 1,500 mg a day had a 45 percent lower risk of gout than those who took in 250 mg or less.
Each 500 mg boost in C levels cut the risk of the condition by 17 percent, according to the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
It works because vitamin C can keep levels of uric acid down – and excess uric acid is what causes gout in the first place.
But if C alone doesn’t keep your gout at bay, try one of my favorite fruits – the cherry.
I still see doctors dismissing cherries for gout as a folk remedy, which only tells me they’re not keeping up with the science on this – because the studies show they work.
The pigments that give cherries their red color are high in anthocyanins, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that dissolve uric acid crystals, helping them to be excreted by the kidneys. Cherries are also high in potassium, which helps the body maintain a slightly alkaline state – and since uric acid is, as the name suggests, acidic, it has a harder time forming.
I’ve found sour cherries work best, or cherry juice. But for pure convenience, I recommend cherry extract supplements, which have proven to be just as effective and are available in any health food store.
My Gut Feeling is You Need More Stomach Acid
By Suzy Cohen, RPh on 01/05/2010
In a previous column on apple cider vinegar (ACV), you stated that “heartburn and reflux can sometimes be related to insufficient levels of stomach acid, not high levels like many of you who take acid blockers assume.” Really Suzy? I’ve been on Omeprazole for years for heartburn. My doctor says you’re nuts and got angry when I questioned him.
–T.B. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Answer: Doctors who thoroughly understand gastrointestinal function know this basic principle of physiology. A simple blood test evaluates stomach acid levels. Most physicians don’t test your “gastrin” level, they just hand you a prescription for medication. This bothers me.
Judging from the millions of pills that are dispensed from American pharmacies on a daily basis, the business of convincing you that “stomach acid is bad” is working. Don’t misunderstand, acid blocking drugs are effective and necessary for certain individuals, but they are way overprescribed. As a nation, we should spend more money educating the public on how to eat healthier, rather than drugging people up each day, and advertising double-bacon triple-bypass cheeseburgers. I’m just saying…
Anyway, the signs of low acid (termed hypochlorhydria) may be heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, burping, cramps, food sensitivities and a higher risk for autoimmune disorders, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis and cancer. Hypochlorhydria is a huge problem in this country and it’s getting more widespread, especially since the advent of acid blocking meds. Insufficient acid (whether it is drug-induced or not) can also cause:
· Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
· Elevated homocysteine
· Rosacea and acne
· Rheumatoid arthritis
· Eczema and psoriasis
· Yeast infections
· Adrenal exhaustion
Why does acid help? Many reasons, and one of them is that it keeps the tiny trap door shut between your stomach and esophagus. This sphincter is pH sensitive and in a healthy person, it stays shut because of the natural stomach acid. With acid deficiency, the stomach pH increases and this may cause the trap door to swing open, causing that familiar burn. Many people swear by the vinegar trick because it provides various acids including “acetic” acid, but gulping ACV forever is not my preference because it may be too caustic.
Digestive acids are sold at health food stores by names such as “betaine hydrochloride,” “betaine with pepsin” or “trimethylglycine.” Begin supplementation slowly and increase your dosage upward based on symptom relief. Take acid supplements at the end of each meal, not the beginning. Ask a knowledgeable physician if acid supplements are appropriate for you, especially if you take medications of any sort. Acid supplements aren’t right for everyone and should be approached with caution.
Betaine supplements work best when you eat healthy foods; you may also need to be gluten and casein free. Depending on your condition, you could also greatly benefit from probiotics, digestive enzymes, ginger, cayenne pepper, glutamine, bile salts and/or DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice).
For further information on how to self test for low stomach acid and how to supplement with Hydrochloric acid read my previous email: