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What is Gout?

Gout is a common form of arthritis that is associated with a raised blood level of uric acid, as well as high leukotriene levels and neutrophil accumulation in the inflamed area. In 50% of cases, it is manifested as an inflammation in the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe.

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Men mainly suffer from gout

95% of sufferers are men with an incidence of 3 in 1000 adults having the symptoms.  Having said this, 10-20% of the population have elevated serum uric acid level.

Gout and uric acid

The inflammation and pain of gout is attributed to the aggregated deposits of monosodium urate monohydrate (tophi) in and around the joints of the extremities.  As well as this, these acid deposits can accumulate in the kidneys, tendons and bone. 

Causes of high uric acid levels in gout

High uric acid levels may be attributed to:

  • Increased uric acid synthesis from purine metabolism
  • Reduced ability to excrete uric acid.  Drugs such as diuretics and aspirin may contribute to this.  Alcohol decreases excretion from the kidney as well as increasing synthesis of uric acid.

Gout attacks in cold weather

Uric acid is a highly water insoluble molecule and deposits easily in cold temperatures, which explains the increased attacks in cold weather.  The inflammation caused by this precipitation is associated with an activation of the inflammatory pathways i.e. prostaglandin & leukotriene release.

Uric acid causing eye problems

In patients with gout, urate crystals may precipitate in the eye and cause conjunctivitis, or scleritis.

What to avoid in your diet when you have gout

People with gout should avoid foods rich in purines, alcohol, tea, coffee, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Xanthines & theophylline (both used in asthma), theobromine & caffeine can all aggravate gouty arthritis.

Purines and gout

Foods which contain high levels of purine's must be avoided by those with an attack of gout.  If you are trying to avoid an attack of gout, then your intake of high purine foods should be reduced. Animal proteins contain larger amounts of purines than most other foods; which generally contain much smaller amounts.  Purine rich foods include caffeine, yeast, shell fish, fish like sardines, herrings and mackerel and organ meats and offal.

Dehydration and gout

It is common to find that those with gout are poor fluid consumers.  If they do have a drink, it will commonly be tea, coffee, alcohol or some caffeinated beverage.  The consumption of these beverages contributes to dehydration in the body, allowing uric acid levels to accumulate, usually in the big toe, but also the muscles, tendons and joints.  By simply increasing the daily water intake, this can assist the kidneys to flush out this acid, rather than accumulating it.

As adults we all need around 2 litres of water a day.  Black and green tea, coffee, chocolate based drinks and alcohol cannot be counted as part of this water intake.  Herb teas can, but not if they contain green tea, which has a diuretic effect in the body. Water should ideally be sipped on, rather than sculling large amounts all at once.  This allows the water to be better utilized and will help the kidneys to flush the uric acid out of the body more efficiently.

It is suggested that those with gout drink 2 to 3 litres of water a day. You can read more about the importance of drinking more water here.

Natural pain relief for gout

There are many natural products that can help with gout and with the better removal of uric acid from the body.  These include celery, cherries and the natural anti inflammatories turmeric and ginger. 

Gouch for gout. Gouch! contains a potent blend of antioxidants and herbs which help to promote normal kidney function, support healthy uric acid levels, and encourage a healthy inflammatory response.  It contains Cherry fruit extract, ginger, a kidney supporting herbal blend and couch grass. 

Joint Nurse from Malcolm Harker is a New Zealand made herbal liquid formula, specifically for help with arthritis and to offer an anti inflammatory action. This formula is made mainly for those suffering from hard-calcic disorders, as well as joint inflammation, such as rheumatism and gout. It works by offering an anti inflammatory effect, as well as a detoxifying effect in the body.  This product is alcohol free.

Celery 8,000 is a high potency one a day dose to help support healthy uric acid levels in the body and healthy kidney function. Celery also supports fluid management. It is promoted specifically to help with Gout, Fluid retention, Rheumatism and Arthritis.

Pain Relief is our best natural anti inflammatory and contains herbs such as turmeric and boswellia, for reducing pain and temporarily relieve joint and muscle pain and to relieve arthritic pain. Pain relief contains patented forms of turmeric and boswellia, for enhanced absorption. BCM-95 and Bospure. It has been specifically formulated with gut friendly herbs.

We also suggest increasing the consumption of cherries, blueberries and ginger in the diet and to use turmeric in cooking. 

Gout and pH balance

Trying to consume a diet that is higher in alkaline forming foods as opposed to a high acid forming diet is advisable.  This is easier said than done though, considering that most of us have a diet that consists of over 80% acid forming foods and only 20% alkaline (if that in many cases). 

pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14.  The lower the pH, the more acidic the solution is; where the higher the pH the more alkaline (or base) the solution is.  When a solution is neither acid nor alkaline it has a pH of 7, which is neutral.

You can test your pH levels using these pH test strips. The higher your can get your pH level (over 7 is ideal), the more alkaline your body is and the more uric acid you will flush out, helping to reduce symptoms of gout.  

Here is our Acid and Alkaline Chart, to help you identify better which foods are which. 

Other important factors with gout...

  • These are some other important considerations for those with gout.
  • Reduce your weight, if necessary.
  • Supplement with essential fatty acids (GLA/EFA) These can offer an anti inflammatory effect.
  • Avoid a high intake of Vitamin C and Niacin, as these nutrients can aggravate symptoms
  • Increase consumption of cherries, blueberries and ginger.  Use turmeric in cooking.
  • Check for lead toxicity
  • Alkalize urine to reduce kidney uric acid stone production
  • Xanthine oxidase is the enzyme that converts Xanthine to uric acid and if inhibited, lowers the production of serum uric acid.  Quercetin and Folic Acid are powerful inhibitors of this enzyme.  The amino acids alanine and glycine increase uric acid excretion.

Recommended Supplementation for Gout

Iron, folate & B12

Xanthine oxidase inhibitor


Xanthine oxidase inhibitor




Reduces free radicals


Promotes cartilage proteo glycan synthesis




Increased excretion of uric acid production

B Complex

Overall wellbeing

Tuna Oil


Natural Vitamin E

Decreases inflammation


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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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