I don't know what's worse: Gout, or the drugs prescribed to treat this painful condition.

Some of these meds can actually make the gout worse before it gets any better -- assuming you even get better at all. And one common gout med comes with death as a possible side effect.

(That's a heck of a price to pay for a little relief.)

One of these meds was just at the heart of an $800 million Big Pharma acquisition, so you can expect to see some pretty aggressive marketing for it in the coming months.

Don't fall for it.

I've had great success curing this condition naturally, and the science backs up one of my favorite approaches: plain old vitamin C.

You should be increasing your C intake anyway, since most people are badly deficient. And along with the vitamin's famous immune-boosting powers, it can also help protect you from gout.

One study of 46,994 men tracked for up to 20 years finds that those who got at least 1,500 mg a day had a 45 percent lower risk of gout than those who took in 250 mg or less.

Each 500 mg boost in C levels cut the risk of the condition by 17 percent, according to the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

It works because vitamin C can keep levels of uric acid down -- and excess uric acid is what causes gout in the first place.

But if C alone doesn't keep your gout at bay, try one of my favorite fruits -- the cherry.

I still see doctors dismissing cherries for gout as a folk remedy, which only tells me they're not keeping up with the science on this -- because the studies show they work.

The pigments that give cherries their red color are high in anthocyanins, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that dissolve uric acid crystals, helping them to be excreted by the kidneys. Cherries are also high in potassium, which helps the body maintain a slightly alkaline state -- and since uric acid is, as the name suggests, acidic, it has a harder time forming.

I've found sour cherries work best, or cherry juice. But for pure convenience, I recommend cherry extract supplements, which have proven to be just as effective and are available in any health food store.