Cherries May Challenge Gout Pain
Taking cherry extract was associated with a 45% risk reduction in gout attacks
Folk wisdom holds that gout sufferers can ward off painful attacks by eating lots of cherries or drinking cherry juice. A study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism looked into the real-world application of this wisdom and found that people with gout were indeed less likely to have a flare-up if they were eating cherries or taking a cherry extract in the days prior to the attack.
Targeting the triggers
The study included 633 people with gout who had experienced at least one flare-up within the year prior to enrolling in the study. Questionnaires about their health, diet, and activities in the previous two days were filled out at the beginning of the study and every three months for one year while they were monitored for new gout attacks. If they experienced a gout attack during the study, they answered the same questions about the two days prior to the attack to determine what they had eaten, what supplements and medications they had taken, and what activities they had engaged in.
A few cherries each day may keep gout away
As expected, gout attacks were more likely when participants ate large amounts of meats, drank alcohol, or took diuretic medications. Regarding cherries, here's what the researchers found:
The study authors concluded "...study findings suggest that cherry intake is associated with a lower risk of gout attacks," adding: "Should our findings be confirmed by randomized clinical trials, cherry products could provide a novel nonpharmacological preventive option against gout attacks."
Treat yourself to cherries
If you suffer from recurrent gout attacks, this study provides preliminary evidence that including cherries in your regular diet might help prevent them. Here are other steps that may reduce your chance of a flare-up:
(Arthritis Rheum 2012;doi: 10.1002/art.34677)
Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.