Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MY STRUGGLE WITH GOUT

My first experience with gout was in Hawaii where I came yearly to escape Northern California’s dreary winters. I ate mostly fish and fruit and tended to lose weight due to getting more exercise and eating a lower carbohydrate diet. At first I thought my sandals were responsible for my foot pain, but replacing them didn’t solve the problem. Each year the pain in my foot returned and worsened. My doctor on the mainland diagnosed me with having inadequate arch support and gave me inserts for my shoes. After that, whenever I had an attack I assumed I was not being good enough about wearing my arch support. It never occurred to me that I had gout.

After moving to Hilo, Hawaii my foot pain episodes occurred more frequently. I learned that lots of people in Hilo had similar symptoms and they told me it was gout. After researching the ailment, I was convinced my painful foot episodes were the result of gout attacks and not due to me being flat footed. Just to be sure, I had a blood test which confirmed that I had high levels of euric acid in my blood.

Gout is caused by high levels of euric acid in the blood that forms crystals, usually in or near joints. Feet and hands are the most common place that the crystals form and in my case, they formed next to my big toe making walking nearly impossible. The long thin crystals act like needles and cut into the tissue and bone so that even touching the spot can cause intense pain. Since euric acid is not very soluble in water, it is hard to get the crystals to dissolve. Repeated attacks can cause long term damage to the joints and tissue.

The prevalence of gout in Hilo meant that everyone had a lot of sympathy for me and they shared their favorite remedy for the problem. Some of their recommendations were very helpful. They suggested I drink lots of water to flush out the acid, but it didn’t help once an attack had started. They suggested I drink unsweetened black cherry juice or eat cherries which has a chemical that dissolves euric acid. Drinking cherry juice did help, especially the concentrated juice, but it didn’t stop me from having attacks.

The most popular cure I found on the internet was taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily that contained the “mother”. The “mother” turned out to be the bacteria that created the vinegar in the form of a cloud of brown stuff at the bottom of the jar. People on the internet had reported substantial relief in a matter of hours after taking this and so I choked down three tablespoons. It reduced the swelling and the pain within a few hours and so I kept taking it several times a day. Though it helped shorten the attack, it didn’t stop my attacks.

My doctor gave me a list of foods to avoid, but I was already eating foods that were considered okay. I added more cheese to my diet since many people claim that cheese it is an anti-gout food. Chicken, turkey, and fish were not considered problem foods though many people claim that eating any meat can be a problem. But I heard stories in Hilo of vegetarians that had terrible gout attacks, so I questioned how related eating meat was to the problem.

One of the ways I learned more about gout was by creating a gout Google alert so that I could quickly find out about new gout related content on the web. From the alerts I learned that gout is big problem and becoming more prevalent. Many health professionals speculate that the increase in gout is being caused by Americans’ diet making their bodies highly acidic. They claim that coffee, high protein diets, alcohol, soft drinks, and other highly acidic foods contribute to the problem and that gout is just one of the many negative health outcomes that result from it.

The volcanic activity on the Big Island has created a highly acidic environment where heavy VOG (volcanic gas emissions) coats everything with sulfuric acid. My gout attacks often started on heavy VOG days and others seemed to have attacks at the same time. In order to keep my body more ph neutral, I started eating foods that were high in alkaline, like agave syrup (instead in sugar), bananas, and papayas. I drank alkaline bottled water from the local health food store and noticed that it made me feel better. People at the health food store in Hilo told me to make sure to keep the cap on during voggy days because the air was so acidic it would turn the alkaline water acidic in just a few hours.

Water on the Big Island contains high levels of calcium due to it leaching out from lava. I read some claims that high levels of calcium in drinking water can cause gout attacks because the high mineral content makes it harder to dissolve and remove euric acid from the body. In California I had a reverse osmosis water system which may have helped protect me from attacks. So I started drinking bottled water created by the reverse osmosis process which removes most of the minerals in the water.

While researching high euric acid foods, I was surprised to see Canola oil show up. Canola (Canada oil low acid) is a hybrid of rapeseed oil which has been considered inedible by humans due to its large percentage of euric acid. Several versions of the rapeseed were propagated within the last ten years and it has now become a huge crop worldwide. The seed oil is now one of the most common oils used in food and the remaining plant is used as animal feed for cows, chickens, and turkeys. Canola oil is used to baste turkeys and chickens and much of the meat from Asian and American animals are fed feed created from rapeseed. Canola oil is considered the new “good” oil and recently replaced hydrogenated and safflower oils in most manufactured foods.



I decided to eradicate Canola oil and meats that might have been fed rapeseed feed from my diet. I now eat only local Hawaii grass-fed beef and fish. I don’t eat any prepared foods with Canola oil and I use rice bran oil and unrefined olive oil for cooking. It is a constant process to check the labels to make sure that a product that didn’t have Canola oil in it previously, still does not contain it. I am surprised at, how difficult it has been to remove chicken and turkey from my diet; they seem to be in everything.

Since I began avoiding all rapeseed based meat and foods and switched to alkaline and reverse osmosis drinking water, I have not had a gout attack in 8 months. I continue to drink cherry juice concentrate and minimize foods and drinks in my diet that increase my acidity level (though I do drink coffee and dry red wine). I feel that my health has improved and I am finally feeling comfortable taking long walks and increasing my exercise.

I believe my gout was not caused by any one thing but a combination of changes in the worldwide food supply, high acidity in Hawaii, my genetic predisposition, my diet, my age, and my overall health. I hope that the many changes I have made will continue to keep me gout free while also allowing me to lose weight and get into shape.

23 comments:

Victoria Hokulani said...

Very interesting stuff about the canola oil. I had no idea. Although, I don't have gout, I can see how easy it would be to develope this condition.
We eat a lot of grass fed beef and I feel so fortunate to have this at an affordable price.
Also, have been watching some of those documentaries about our food system on PBS. It really inspires me to eat more and more local and it certainly got me motivated to get my garden going.
Good going winning the battle with the gout. I know this blog will be a huge inspiration to many sufferers of this condition.
I feel that when we are afflicted with health conditions having faith and perseverance in our own bodies ability to heal itself has a lot of merit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the follow up article on gout. I too suffer and was dismayed to find that amongst alcohol beer is a main culprit. Darn!

Lose weight said...

One of my dear friends did WW after she'd had her second child. She put a photo of herself on the fridge (at her largest) and it gave her the incentive to stick with it. I loved her just as she was, and so did her husband, but she was unhappy and that's why she did it - not to please anyone, just for herself. It cost her an absolute fortune, she knew the points value of every blessed eatable substance on the planet and there was never any 'decent' bread to be found in her kitchen, but she managed to get to a weight she was happy with, and so WW has worked for her.Some people find using a smaller dinner plate helps. So you can't overload it with yumminess.I'm a big food lover so the smaller plate wouldn't work for me, I'd just go and get seconds!Best of luck with it all, but if it makes you unhappy - STOP.

Grif Frost said...

Aloha Tyler! Last gout attack was June 29, 2009...began drinking 8 glasses of alkaline water per day plus cut out alcohol for two weeks.

Then lost 20 pounds over the next three months.

No reoccurence of gout since...

The rapeseed angle is fascinating...thank you for sharing your research!

heidi said...

read a book called "alkalize or die" terrible title but great information on foods to eat,not eat, etc. I suggest an ionic foot bath to remove the uric acid and other toxins. Some say they're a hoax, but worked for a Dr. and we used it all the time on patients with gout and other toxicity. I bought an inexpensive one ( price ranges vary, but they all do the same thing) one at: Whateverworks.com for 99.00..give it a try once a week. Drink water during the soak and it's suggested that collodial minerals be taken after to replenish. The 'red orange'water when soaking is said to be the uric acid..as more comes from the foot soak it gets a black/green color, don't let it alarm you. It's said to be simply more toxins being removed.
May want to give it a try, it sure can't hurt.
Young Living has a product called
"ALKALIME" may want to give that a go also. It's about keeping the body more alkaline..deep inhalations and exhalations will do that also. SO STAND STRAIGHT and BREATH DEEP

myamas said...

Aloha! We have something that is helping a lot of people with Gout and other things affecting the body. Please check out http://myamas.goyoli.com. There are some great articles and also a way to get free trials. Questions? myamas53@gmail.com Thanks, Marc Yamasaki

JohnMcDee3 said...

Thanks for the tip on apple cider - just guzzled some. I have been taking herbal capsules from goutcure.com for a couple of years along with probiotics but ran out of capsules a few weeks ago - and sure enough I have a swollen right foot. I reordered some more capsules which arrived FedEx yesterday, but too late for this attack apparently. I also drank some cherry concentrate mixed with Kombucha which seems to be helping. I also ice my foot as if it were sprained which helps me sleep.

Sputnick said...

Enjoyed reading your post but I'm not enjoying the fact you are a gout sufferer as am I. I have also read about apple cider vinager but it's difficult for me to drink and it's not good for your teeth. I too have had to limit/change my diet. I strongly believe that my "magic potion" to prevent attacks and to treat mild cases of flare-ups is drinking strawberry/blueberry smoothies made with milk, yogurt, and I add a protein powder for taste and nutrition. I tend to have one bad attack a year and it's always in July when it's hot out. I sweat a lot and I do think the severity of these attacks is due to dehydration. Despite the occassional painful attack, I do look at gout as a blessing because it has motivated me to no end to eat soooo much better and I do feel better. I am now accustomed to my diet but I always look for new things and your canola story is an eye opener...thank you.

ness said...

Very interesting post. I too had a gout attack for the first time 3 months ago. The pain and swelling of my big toes lasted for about 6 weeks. I had to call in sick off work for 2 weeks and was unable to play my favorite game of tennis for 2 months. I attributed my high uric acid from eating organ meats and mushrooms. I now follow gout home remedies to avoid future attacks.

dewdx web said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dewdx web said...

Hi!

You seem to have great success preventing your gout attacks. My father has gout and he's been having attacks frequently. Though he doesn't drink alcohol, he does little to control his diet. And with mixed advice from different sources it's hard to pinpoint which foods are harmful and which are not. I've even made a website dedicated to finding remedies for gout and high uric acid, just so my father would pay more attention.

It's very nice to see that alkaline intake and cherry juice really worked out for you. And this is the first time I've heard of Canola oil being a culprit. That's some valuable information. Would you be interested in sharing your experiences in your approach to remedy gout in my website? I would greatly appreciate it. Hit me up at How to Reduce Uric Acid

How to Reduce Uric Acid

marie0221 said...

It is really hard to have this kind of problem. However, it is good to know there can be an effective gout home treatment. It will only take some time to get relief.

Jonathan Steele of Speechmastery.com said...

You provided some info I did not know and will add to my patient teaching.

As to calcium, it will probably not be your problem. The pain would be more likely in the knee if calcium were to blame and the condition is known as pseudo-gout or chondrocalcinosis.

The solution to both gout and pseudo gout is simple. It is one more thing you can add to what your doing to keep gout symptoms away.

It is called the Water Cures Protocol. http://www.watercures.org/water-cure.html

The amount of water you drink is based on your body weight. With each glass of water you drink, you first put a pinch of salt in your mouth and let it dissolve. This helps the water get to your cells and flush out the unwanted fluids.

Rather than having my patients do it like the protocol, I suggest they only start with first thing in the AM and last thing at night.

If they like how it helps, later add other times.

The important things to remember, only use unprocessed sea salt and do not eat for 30-45 min after drinking the water. This allows the water to get past the stomach and into the gut.

I also use the other things you suggested and they are also used by the water cures coaches as well. http://www.watercures.org/gout-symptoms-and-treatment.html

Here is the best news...go ahead and have a beer once and a while. (The Water Cures folks hate it when I say this in my lectures.) Only thing, drink two glasses of water and two pinches of salt for every bottle of beer. Drink your beer or wine this afternoon and between then and bed, have two extra glasses of water. Test it out and you may be amazed, you can have your beer and drink it too.

Hope this helps.

Nurse Jon

djsaveit said...

My father has had gout for some yrs and i will tell you its been hell with him he was always in so much pain the pain killers wasnt working for him any more he got hooked on hydrocodone and it was very hard for him to get off the drugs but recently last yr he found a website that has helped him out he has not had any problems since so if you are looking to get rid of gout i would advise you check the site out for your self it worked for my father and it is a blessing to be able to be around him now because before he was a very grouchy grumpy man his gran children didnt even want to be around him but ever since he went thru this website he has been much better heres the link......cangoutbecured.com

Ryan Esparza said...

It has really wonderful information about gout problem.It is very painful problem.It is most important for those who are suffering form gout.Thanks!
Natural cures For Gout

Sarah Tyler said...

There is now a natural cure for gout known as The Gout Remedy Report, which can cure gout faster and effectively.

Meghan Howard said...

Relaxing the affected body part can somehow help in reducing the pain and swelling of the gout.

Olaf Adelt said...

As a gout sufferer, I’ve been one of the first test rabbits in a voluntary test program of adsalutem.com, 4 years ago.
They gave me a 3-weeks diet containing some today secret ingredients, removing the urate crystal deposits from my joints.
After that diet I didn’t experience any gout attack, and I started to eat and drink again … It is all about food, and not about medication.

Adrianyunah said...

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Glying Shido said...

Good sharing. I read articles title “To Those Having Gout Problem” mentioned that a special gout remedy call gout papaya green tea extract extremely good to help cure gout issue. See the article at:
http://kidbuxblog.com/to-those-having-gout-problem/

Natural Remedies said...

Activated charcoal powder acts as an excellent absorbent. It helps in absorbing the uric acid and thus relieves the pain caused by gout. More Info: https://goo.gl/WsHSNE

john alex said...

nice article. also cucumber , ginger home made juice is the best home remedy for uric acid. Uric acid home remedy

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