Principal Proposed Natural Treatments
Other Proposed Natural Treatments
• Aspartic Acid; Bromelain; Celery Juice; Cherry Juice; Devil's Claw; Fish Oil; Folate; Olive Leaf; Selenium; Vitamin A; Vitamin C; Vitamin E
Gout is an inflammatory condition that is caused by the deposit of uric acid crystals in joints (most famously the big toe), as well as other tissues. Typically, attacks of fierce pain, redness, swelling, and heat punctuate pain-free intervals.
Medical treatment consists of anti-inflammatory drugs for acute attacks and of uric acid-lowering drugs for prevention.
Proposed Treatments for Gout
The following herbs and supplements are widely recommended for gout, but as yet they have no reliable scientific support.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 184 people without gout, use of vitamin C at a daily dose of 500 mg significantly reduced uric acid levels. 7 This suggests, but falls far short of proving, that vitamin C might be helpful for preventing or treating gout.
For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full Vitamin C article.
Folate has been recommended as a preventive treatment for gout for at least 20 years. Some clinicians report that it can be highly effective. However, what little scientific evidence we have on the method is contradictory. 1,2,3 It has been suggested that a contaminant found in folate, pterin-6-aldehyde, may actually be responsible for the positive effects observed by some clinicians.
For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full Folate article.
The herb devil's claw is sometimes recommended as a pain-relieving treatment for gout based on evidence for its effectiveness in various forms of arthritis. 4 However, it has not been tested in gout.
For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full Devil's Claw article .
On the basis of interesting reasoning but no concrete evidence of effectiveness, fish oil , olive leaf , vitamin E , selenium , bromelain , vitamin A , and aspartic acid have also been recommended for both prevention and treatment of gout. 5
Celery juice is another folk remedy for gout that is said to be widely used in Australia.
Herbs and Supplements to Use Only With Caution
Various herbs and supplements may interact adversely with drugs used to treat gout. For more information on these potential risks, see the individual drug article in the Drug Interactions section of this database.
1. Lewis AS, Murphy L, McCalla C, et al. Inhibition of mammalian xanthine oxidase by folate compounds and amethopterin. J Biol Chem . 1984;259:12-15.
2. Flouvier B, Duvulder B. Folic acid, xanthine oxidase, and uric acid [letter]. Ann Intern Med . 1978;88:269.
3. Boss GR, Ragsdale RA, Zettner A, et al. Failure of folic acid (pteroylglutamic acid) to affect hyperuricemia. J Lab Clin Med. 1980;96:783-789.
4. European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Harpagophyti radix . Exeter, UK: ESCOP; 1996-1997:4. Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs, Fascicule 2.
5. Murray MT, Pizzorno JE. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine . 2nd ed. Rocklin, Calif: Prima Publishing; 1998:493-494.
6. Blau LW. Cherry diet control for gout and arthritis. Tex Rep Biol Med . 1950;8:309-311.
7. Huang HY, Appel LJ, Choi MJ, et al. The effects of vitamin C supplementation on serum concentrations of uric acid: results of a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum . 2005 June 2. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed August 2013 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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