cherries

  1. The right way to beat gout

    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.

  2. New gout 'cure' is a recipe for more pain

    If you think gout is bad, just wait 'til you see the latest "cure."

    This new drug treatment doesn't replace what's already out there. It's in addition to it -- so you have to take both bad meds, doubling your risk of side effects and other problems.

    Let's start with the old bad treatment: allopurinol, a pill that slowly -- very slowly -- lowers levels of the uric acid responsible for gout flare-ups.

    It works so slowly, in fact, that you have to wonder if it even works at all.

    But now, researchers say that adding a new bad treatment to the mix -- weekly injections of the drug rilonacept -- can slash the number of gout outbreaks. In the new study, just 15 percent of patients on the combo experiencing flare-ups over 12 weeks, versus 45 percent of those on just the allopurinol.

    Impressed? Don't be -- and not just because this was a very small study involving only 83 patients, didn't include a true control group of patients who got no treatment or only placebos, and was funded by the drug's maker.

    Don't be impressed because even if it's all true -- even if the rilonacept and allopurinol combo really can lower your risk of gout flare-ups -- the risks are insane.

    Rilonacept suppresses the immune system, putting you at risk for any number of diseases and conditions up to and including cancer. Some studies have found that more than a third of patients on this med can develop infections -- including respiratory and urinary infections.

    Allopurinol on its own is no picnic either: In the months -- yes, months -- it takes for the drug to kick in, it can actually make your gout worse than ever.

    That's more attacks -- and more pain -- caused by the very drug that's supposed to end it.

    And if that's not enough, allopurinol has also been linked to painful urination and blood in the urine, stomach problems, infection-like symptoms and more.

    Who wants to deal with all that? Not me -- and certainly not you.

    Fortunately, in this case you don't have to rely on Big Pharma's non-cures because there are natural solutions for gout out there that don't take months to kick in.

    Some of them work in days or even hours -- like cherries, which can reduce the risk of a gout flare-up by 50 percent within 48 hours. Celery stalks and celery seed extract have also been shown to help slash the risk of a gout attack.

  3. Beat the high price of beating gout

    I know the cost of everything is rising, but this is ridiculous: A common remedy for gout and other inflammatory conditions has shot up by more than 2,700 percent. The remedy is called colchicine, and it's been used for literally thousands of years.
  4. Natural solutions for gout

    Gout used to be known as "the rich man's disease" because it usually struck the wealthy -- the only ones who could afford to over-consume the foods that cause this painful form of arthritis. Today, you don't have to be rich (or even a man) to suffer from gout -- just fat. And since more people are fatter than ever before, more people are also battling the foot pain that marks this condition.
  5. Woman face rising gout risk

    New numbers show a dramatic rise in the condition called gout -- with more than 8.3 million Americans now fighting its notorious pain.

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