Using Natural Remedies for Gout

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Gout can be treated with medication, but people with the condition may also look for natural gout remedies to help relieve their symptoms faster. So far, however, scientific support for the claim that any natural remedy can treat gout is limited.

This article looks at some of the natural remedies for gout. It also discusses whether scientific research supports the use of natural remedies as a gout treatment.

A pile of cherries in a bowl
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What Causes Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by sudden, intense pain, redness, heat, swelling, and tenderness in the joints. It usually affects the large joint of the big toe, but symptoms can also occur in:

  • Feet
  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Hands
  • Wrists

Attacks typically last about five to 10 days. Gout is more common in men than in women.

Gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals. Uric acid is a waste product that’s formed from the breakdown of purines, substances found naturally in the body and in certain foods. Foods that are high in purines include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Red meat
  • Organ meats
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Vegetables including asparagus, cauliflower, and spinach
  • Mushrooms

Home Remedies

Vitamin C and cherries are two home remedies that are often used to treat gout. So far, the research supporting the use of these remedies has been limited.

Vitamin C

Some evidence suggests vitamin C may help reduce uric acid levels, but there doesn’t seem to be strong evidence that it protects against gout. The American College of Rheumatology concluded that “data on vitamin C were insufficient to support continued recommendation for its use in patients with gout.”

It’s worth noting that vitamin C supplements aren’t right for everyone. People with kidney disease should consult a healthcare provider before taking vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C increases the absorption of some types of iron from foods, so people with hemochromatosis should not take vitamin C supplements.

Vitamin C in doses over 2,000 mg per day may cause diarrhea, gas, digestive upset, or interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12. Vitamin C supplements may also raise blood levels of aspirin and acetaminophen. Additionally, there have been rare reports of vitamin C interfering with the effectiveness of the medication Coumadin (warfarin).

Vitamin C may also interfere with some medications, such as cancer chemotherapy drugs and statins.

Speak with your healthcare provider first before combining any medications with vitamin C supplements.

Cherries

Cherries are a popular home remedy for gout. The amount usually recommended is anywhere between half a cup and one pound of cherries a day.

As a gout remedy, cherries are either eaten or blended and then diluted with water to make a juice. Cherry extracts are also available at some health food stores.

Although cherries are a fairly well-known remedy for gout, evidence is very limited.

A 2012 study found that consumption of cherries or cherry extract was associated with a decreased risk of gout attacks. However, this study relied on self-report of consumption, which isn’t a reliable measure, and didn’t evaluate the effect of long-term consumption.

Diet

Most uric acid in the body is made from the metabolism of naturally occurring purine, but eating foods rich in purines may also contribute to gout.

The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which used data from 14,809 people in the United States, found increased uric acid levels in people who ate large amounts of meat and seafood.

More recent research has supported the connection between meat and seafood consumption and gout.

By contrast, research has found that dairy consumption is associated with lower uric acid levels. For instance, people who consume milk or yogurt regularly have lower uric acid levels than people who don’t consume yogurt or milk, and a lower risk of gout.

Total protein intake is not associated with increased uric acid levels. Eating purine-rich vegetables like asparagus also does not seem to increase risk.

Using Natural Remedies for Gout

Due to a lack of supporting research, it’s too soon to recommend any alternative medicine for gout.

Supplements haven’t been tested for safety. Because dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label.

Also keep in mind that the safety of alternative medicine in certain people hasn’t been established. This includes pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, those with medical conditions, and people taking medication.

You can get tips on using supplements, but if you’re considering the use of any form of alternative medicine, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

For some guidance on talking with a medical professional about your gout, use our Doctor Discussion Guide below. It can help you start a conversation with your healthcare provider about symptoms, treatment options, and more.

Gout Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Doctor Discussion Guide Woman

Summary

Gout is a potentially painful condition caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints. A number of home remedies are said to help improve gout symptoms, but the evidence that they work is limited.

Vitamin C and cherries are two popular home remedies people use to treat gout. It may also help to avoid foods high in purines, such as fish and organ meats. Eating dairy may also help lower your uric acid levels.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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