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Natural Gout Treatment – The Results Of A Gout Diet That Had A Lot Of Success
This study based on the Zone diet had a positive effect on markers of insulin resistance: triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) decreased. HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) did not decrease. But my goal in this article is primarily to describe its direct effect on uric acid levels and gout attacks.
After four months of this diet, the effects on uric acid levels and gout attacks were quite impressive.
Weight loss and uric acid levels The weight loss over this period was almost 17 pounds (7.7 kg), i.e. at a rate of about 1 lb per week. All but one patient lost weight. The mean decrease in uric acid (UA) was 1.7 mg/dL. Another very interesting finding was that a higher blood uric acid level at the beginning of the study meant a large drop in blood uric acid at the end of the study. Uric acid levels normalized in 7 of 12 patients who had elevated uric acid (UA) levels before the study.
One participant did not have an elevated UA level before the start. It was about 5.9 mg/dL. But we already know that gout can occur in people with normal uric acid levels, so it wasn’t unusual.
And gout attacks? Overall results were expressed as median. Before the study, participants had at least two attacks in the previous four months. The median monthly attacks before the study was 2.1. After that, the attacks dropped to 0.6. A decrease in the number of gout attacks occurred in all but one patient. The exception participant had shorter and less severe attacks. Eight of the 13 did not have a gout attack during the four-month study period, although, as mentioned, all had at least two in the previous four months, and as noted above, the median was 2.1 per month, or one attack per fortnight (each two weeks).
AFTER ONE YEAR
About a year later, five of the nine patients no longer had any gout attacks, and three had only one attack. Overall, there was a further reduction in the frequency of attacks. One patient gained weight after completing the study. He must have given up on the diet. He suffered three attacks in three months. His blood uric acid level rose with his weight.
Note in particular that the mean decrease in uric acid (UA) was 1.7 mg/dL. In several cases it fell
2.2 mg/dL and 2.5 mg/dL respectively. Hyperuricemia (excess uric acid), which can lead to gout, is considered if UA levels exceed 7.2 mg/dL (men) and 6.0 mg/dL (women). The usual UA target for gout treatment is 6.0 mg/dL (slightly less in women) because at this level the MSU crystals, made up mostly of uric acid, can dissolve. (It is the immune system’s response to these crystals, which it considers foreign bodies, that causes gout pain and inflammation).
So a drop of 1.7 mg/dL, given these numbers, is quite significant, although you should be aware that many people with gout have UA levels much higher than 7.2 mg/dL, and some people with gout do not have an excess uric acid.
Were the patients in the gout study on long-term medications such as Allopurinol? They weren’t. They only took medicine for gout attacks. The study report did not say how much water they drank. Most gout sufferers know that drinking plenty of water helps flush out uric acid.
Unfortunately, there are always caveats to gout treatment. The study was small. Only 13 men suffer from gout. The study lasted just four months, although results were followed up after one year (median). In another study, researchers noted an association between weight loss and a decrease in uric acid levels and expected that the ratio of nutrients in the zone diet (40:30:30) contributed to the decrease in uric acid. They believed that the dietary intervention produced the desired improvement in insulin sensitivity.
The results were impressive enough to give hope and encouragement to any gout sufferer who tries this diet as closely as possible.
The study was conducted in 1999. Unfortunately, it was not followed up by a much larger study designed along the same lines. If such a study were to be conducted, it would expand our knowledge of natural gout treatments, possibly greatly. Natural gout treatment is what most gout sufferers want.
The study can be found online if you search for “Beneficial effects of weight loss associated with moderate caloric/carbohydrate restriction and increased protein-unsaturated fat ratio intake on serum urate and lipoprotein levels in gout: a pilot study”. Copy and paste into the search box of the search engine and press enter.
In the study report, uric acid levels were expressed as mmol/L. In this article, I have converted these mmol/L numbers to mg/dL, which is the more commonly used measurement.
Note The content of this article contains medical information, not medical advice. Always discuss remedies with your doctor or other healthcare professional before starting any treatment.
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