One of the challenges of living on the Big Island of Hawaii was I often had gout attacks when emissions from the active volcano (volcanic smog or VOG) got really bad. I attributed my gout attacks during heavy VOG to two main factors. First, the VOG is always the worst when the trade winds stop. When the trade winds stop it gets really hot in Hawaii. When it is really hot it increases my chances of getting dehydrated which concentrates uric acid and makes an attack more likely. Second, VOG is mostly sulfuric acid which is highly acidic and acidity in my body increases my chances of getting a gout attack.
As I continue to research nutrition, I came across another possible explanation as to why my gout attacks were more frequent during heavy VOG events. According to Dr. Jermey E. Kaslow, gout can be caused by very low levels of molybdenum or very high levels of molybdenum.
Molybdenum is a micro nutrient that is necessary for the breakdown of ammonia and uric acid. It also is a key element in dozens of enzymes that remove toxins from the liver and the body. One of molybdenum’s critical functions is the breakdown of sulfur-based amino acids.
Shortages of molybdenum are really rare and only occurs in a few places where there is a very low amount in the soil. Since we get a lot of our nutrition locally, I wondered how much molybdenum there is in Hawaii’s soil. Apparently molybdenum is very deficient in Hawaii’s soil, so much so that some crops are hard to grow.
Even more interesting is that although there is plenty of molybdenum in Hawaii’s volcanic rocks, it is absent in the soil. It is possible that the sulfuric acid in the VOGgy rain washes the molybdenum out of the soil.