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Natural Remedies Have Clout with Gout

Imagine that some of the liquid in your body suddenly turned into glass and the glass shattered.

That�s similar to what happen when you have a gout attack. Some of your body�s uric acid, a normal by product of protein metabolism, changes from a liquid into tiny crystals. Those crystals, sharp spikes and all, can settle in your joints. (The joint of the big toe is their favorite.) The resulting pain, redness, heat, and swelling can be so intense that you can�t even walk.

More than 2 million Americans, most of them men over 30, have gout, which is a form of arthritis. Scientists don�t know why some people develop abnormally high levels of uric acid, which is what triggers the change from liquid to crystal form. Genetics is a possible cause, and diet and overweight are risk factors. Taking thiazide diuretics for high blood pressure has also been linked to the disease.

Whatever the cause, once you�ve had one attack (which can last for days if it�s not treated), you�re more likely to have another and another. Plus, uncontrolled buildup of uric acid crystals over many years can destroy a joint and lead to the formation of stones in the kidneys and gallbladder.

WATER: Wash Away Uric Acid

After you�ve had your first gout attack in other words, after you know that you have high levels of uric acid in your system you should drink �tremendous amounts of water on a daily basis to flush the uric acid crystals out of your system and dilute the concentration of uric acid,� says Doctor. By �tremendous amounts,� he means about 1 gallon (128 ounces) of water a day.

�Water is one of the most important remedies for gout,� says Doctor. �If you don�t drink large amounts of water, no other single natural remedy will work as well.�

One year after your first gout attack, you can cut back on the amount of water, but continue drinking 2 to 3 quarts a day. Also, Doctor says to drink distilled water or water filtered by a reverse osmosis process, both of which are pure. Reverse osmosis filtration systems, which are installed under your kitchen sink, are available for between $300 and $500. Other types of water, including spring water, he says, may actually contribute to circulatory disease by depositing minerals in the blood vessels, thus leading to hardening of the arteries.

CHEERIES: To Prevent Or Even Abort A Gout Attack

For those with gout, life is just a bowl of cherries. Really. Substances in cherries, called anthocyanocides, are very effective at lowering uric acid levels, says a naturopathic doctor and director of Healing Naturally in Washington.

How many cherries should you eat? According to traditional healing lore and very preliminary research, easting anywhere from � cup to 1 pound (about 70) of cherries a day may help people with gout, says a naturopathic doctor in South Dakota.

Eating a pound a cherries a day can help prevent a gout attack or abort an attack in progress, Doctor says. But rather than eating all those cherries, he suggests that you pit them and blend them with distilled water to make juice. Avoid store bought cherry juice, since pasteurization removes anthocyanin. �We use this remedy in our clinic, and its works,� says Doctor.

Wild or black cherri4es work best to combat gout, says a physician in Alabama. Because they�re so hard to find, he recommends that you take wild or black cherry extract in either liquid or pill form, according to the dosage recommendations on the label. �Old country doctors would tell patients to eat black cherries to stop having gout attacks, and the remedy usually worked,� he says.

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