Friday, May 21, 2010

Gout, Kidney Stones and Uric Acid

Do you suffer from bouts with Gout or Kidney Stones?

These symptoms are caused mainly by an excess of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid can crystallize and form painful deposits in the joints or in the kidneys. Anyone who has suffered from this will tell you that it can be excruciating.

Often diet can be used to combat excess uric acid, but frequently nutrient supplementation is needed to alleviate symptoms and prevent future attacks. Food allergies can contribute to symptoms, and being overweight is a known factor in people who suffer from gout. Dieting, because of certain dietary changes can also trigger a gout attack. These are things which can be controlled, but in some cases a change in the weather or barometric pressure or stress can also trigger an attack of gout. Lets focus on what we can control.

Managing uric acid levels

Potassium is a key nutrient for helping the body balance uric acid levels. Fasting, diuretics and surgery are all known to deplete blood levels of potassium. Below are some foods that are high in potassium.

  • Baked Potatoes with the skin on. (Baked potatoes are not recommended for people who are watching their weight)

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Avocado

  • Cantaloupe

  • Bananas

  • Orange Juice

  • Kidney Beans

  • Broccoli

  • Beets

  • Almonds

  • Walnuts

Depleted Vitamin B5 is also a concern for uric acid levels. You may take a supplement of Pantothenic acid (B5), or eat canned cherries to help fight off an attack of gout. You can also eat foods high in vitamin B5 to help prevent future attacks such as; Strawberries, Broccoli, Boiled Eggs, Sunflower Seeds or Winter Squash. Keep in mind that B5 does need other B vitamins to be utilized properly by the body, which is why getting it from food sources in addition to supplementation is the best plan. Vitamin C also helps the body with B vitamins. Quercetin has also been found to be beneficial. It is a potent antioxidant!

Uric acid is an ash left from protein metabolism. If the liver can not rid the body of this ash it accumulates, leading to gout. Some prescription drugs can cause uric acid to rise along with causing nutrient depletion of key nutrients like potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium.

If your kidneys are not functioning properly it can also cause a build up of uric acid. Drinking soda, alcohol, caffeinated beverages and eating large amounts of protein will also add to uric acid production.

Foods to avoid

  • Organ Meats

  • Veal

  • Bacon

  • Sweetbreads, Baked Goods, Beer

  • Gravies

  • Broths and Bouillon

  • Turkey and Goose

  • Salmon, Mackerel, Trout, Cod, Herring, Sardines Crab and Shrimp

  • Peas, Beans, Lentils, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Cooked Spinach, Rhubarb and Cauliflower

  • Alcohol

  • Coffee - Caffeine impairs kidney function

  • Soda and simple sugars such as simple carbohydrates and saturated fats

  • Oatmeal

Some more great foods to include in your diet are:

  • Grapes (aid in elimination of uric acid)

  • Cherries ( Fresh is best, eat 6-8 between meals)

  • Garlic (minced and added to black cherry juice is useful)

  • Parsley (natural diuretic)

  • Strawberries (they neutralize uric acid)

  • Blueberries ( eases pain for gout)

  • Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed lemon juice is great for reducing uric acid also) Drinking the juice of one lemon in lukewarm water neutralizes acid.

For kidney stone relief you can drink lemon juice as the first option. Magnesium is also important for these attacks.

For a severe gout attack we recommend that you eat a can of cherries as soon as you feel it coming, but not marachino cherries. They have too much sugar! Cherries are high in vitamin B5 which helps to bring uric acid levels back to normal quickly.

We also have B5 available in supplement form at our office, which is beneficial for kidney stones and gout.

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