One in fifty people will experience a painful episode of gout during their lifetime, and the incidence of this inflammatory disease is on the rise. For years doctors have prescribed prescription medications to prevent gout in people who are prone to it. Most of these medications work by lowering uric acid levels, which are usually elevated in people with gout. Unfortunately, these drugs have side effects, which make it difficult for some people to take them. Now, gout management could be as easy as reaching for a bottle of cherry juice. Are cherries good for gout?
Are Cherries Good for Gout?
The benefits of cherries are many, so it’s not surprising that they could help gout sufferers get some relief. Tart cherries and cherry juice have been used for years as a home remedy to prevent gout attacks. Only recently has there been some science behind using cherries for gout management.
A recent retrospective study involving 24 patients offered some encouraging results for people who suffer from gout but want a natural way to prevent attacks. When 24 gout sufferers took a tablespoon of tart cherry juice concentrate two times a day, most of them cut the frequency of their gout attacks by half.
Benefits of Cherries for Gout Management: How Do Cherries Prevent Gout?
Tart cherries don’t lower uric acid levels; instead they block the inflammatory response, which causes the pain, swelling, and redness that are so common with a gout attack. In fact, tart cherry juice concentrate prevented gout attacks even in people with high uric acid levels who weren’t on uric acid lowering medications. At least in the laboratory, tart cherry juice reduces tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1-beta, compounds which contribute to inflammation.
Are Cherries Good for Gout: The Bottom Line?
So far, most studies looking at tart cherries for gout management have been small, retrospective ones. Retrospective studies aren’t as good as prospective ones, because they use data collected from the past. Larger, prospective, double-blind, randomized trials are needed to say for certain whether tart cherries are good for gout. On the other hand, there’s lots of anecdotal evidence that tart cherry juice concentrate helps to prevent gout attacks.
You can purchase tart cherry juice concentrate online and at some health food stores, but talk to your doctor before doing so.
Medpage Today. “EULAR: Cherry Juice Seems to Bring Some Gout Relief”
Family Practice News. September 1, 2010. page 38.