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Hi Dave,

Searching for information on gout? Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

I am probably the only person in West Virginia who does not have gout.

(I once thought I did, when my big toe got incredibly inflamed and sore to even the slightest touch, but it turned out that I had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. So, my first advice is: shake out your boots and shoes before putting them on!)

Anyway, although not a sufferer myself, I have access to a vast data base of anecdotal information about gout. In particular, my neighbor Willie had it terribly, for a long time, and he swears by the information at this web site, which he believes led to a quick and permanent cure:

Basically, Willie’s approach is a mixture of diet, behavior, cult-like tricks, and drugs (and by that I mean legitimate, prescribed drugs – Willie has also been known to cut the tops off of his little cactus plants, dry them and chew them, so take what he says with a grain of – well, after Wendy’s post, I guess with a grain of artfully spiced potassium chloride).

Anyway, here it is, straight from Willie, who has met the gout monster in its lair and slain it in fair battle:

1. Gout comes from an excess of uric acid crystals in the blood, which get deposited in joints and act like tiny little daggers that trigger terrible inflammatory defensive reactions by your body.

2. The excess uric acid can be the result of (i) diet (eating too much purine) – not usually a huge factor, (ii) too much bodily production of uric acid – usually the main problem, and (iii) diet again, but this time involving the ingestion of substances that trigger over-production – Willie thinks this is the biggest factor, but then he also thinks that the way you line furniture up in a room controls the energy flow in the room (the science of feng-hooey).

3. The gout sufferer should:

a. First make sure he has gout, not a mimicking ailment. This is best done by a simple medical procedure where blood is drawn from the joint and viewed through a microscope. Willie says (i) beware of a form of gout-like problem that acts like an infection – because that condition, if not treated aggressively, can lead to quick and permanent joint damage, and (ii) especially beware of gout-like symptoms that are symmetric (left knee and right knee, e.g.), which can be a sign of the very dangerous condition known as rheumatoid arthritis.

b. Second get the level of uric acid in your blood down ASAP. This process almost certainly will make things get worse before they start to get better, since it generally involves the “dumping” of uric acid out of the blood and into joints.

c. Try to get your blood chemistry to the point where uric acid crystals in your joint are not merely coated and thus insulated, but are in fact reabsorbed into the blood and excreted in the urine.

4. Willie asserts the hocus-pocus-sounding claim that HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is a huge trigger of gout, and in fact that gout is a warning sign of far worse consequences of over-indulgence in HFCS. So Willie’s biggest advice is to dodge HFCS in all of its many and nasty forms.

Other, less pernicious triggers are (i) alcoholic beverages, (ii) all forms of soy, especially soy milk, the number one culprit in triggering gout attacks, according to Willie, (iii) purine-containing foods, and (iv) acidic foods.

So, avoid:

Soy in all its forms
Nucleated proteins (fish, meat, poultry, beans, etc.) -- but eggs, milk and whey are OK
Other stuff that fits the description above (see web site for details)

5. Willie says the following advice is probably the most important of all: take allopurinol in whatever quantity is required to end your gout. Allopurinol will get the excess uric acid out of your system, which is critical for many larger reasons than gout. But it is also the best cure by far for gout.

6. During gout attacks, do not let your doctor trick you into relying on ibuprofen. Get the good stuff – steroid stuff (cortisone kin).

7. Add two effective home remedies to the above diet modifications and Allopurinol: (i) eat sour cherries – maybe 30 a day (Willie uses frozen ones), and (ii) take baking soda mixed with water as recommended in the link above.

NOTE that the baking soda is loaded with sodium, which is the part of salt that is especially bad for you. So be careful – watch your blood pressure and try to keep burps under fifteen seconds in duration (a parenting tip -- if you have a young daughter, take your baking soda then wander into the area where she is hanging out texting and say, "Oh, man, I was just yawning and a small toad hopped down into my throat. Yuck!" Then let loose with your best acid/base belch.)

8. Lose weight; be a wraith, gliding silently from glade to hollow, sylvan form shrouded in shadow and secret.*

Personally, I am not sure that all of Willie’s views about things like blood pH make sense. But he did lick the Big G.

Good luck to your father!


A Drumlin Daisy

*I put my own spin on this one.
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