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A study by Northumbria University shows that drinking a concentrate made from tart Montmorency cherries, which possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helps clear excess uric acid from the body in just a few hours. Drinking just 30ml of the concentrate with water twice a day led to lower blood uric acid levels and reduced inflammation, the study found. Treatment options currently include keeping pressure off the affected joint, the use of ice packs during attacks, and taking anti-inflammatory drugs.

Gout occurs when excess uric acid crystallises in the joints. Medication to inhibit the formation of uric acid crystals is also prescribed but only in extreme circumstances as, again, side effects can be severe.

Some foods are high in purines, the naturally occurring chemicals that are broken down into uric acid by the body. Avoiding eating these foods – including game and oily fish – can help reduce the risk of a gout attack. Foods that contain yeast or meat extract are also high in purines.

In the study, published 2014 in the Journal of Functional Foods, 12 volunteers were given a brand of Montmorency cherry concentrate called “CherryActive”, which was mixed with 100ml of water twice a day.

Over the next few days, their urine and blood were tested for markers of inflammation and uric acid before and after taking the cherry supplement. Researchers found that when participants drank “CherryActive”, it acted as a catalyst for the body to eliminate excess uric acid through the urine.

Over the last 40 years, the burden of gout, a painful inflammatory arthritis, has risen considerably, now affecting millions of Americans. In fact, gout is now the most common inflammatory arthritis in men and older women.

A research shows that even as few as a half of a cup of cherries a day may significantly lower the risk of gout attacks. Fresh cherries aren’t always in season, though. There are some alternatives. Frozen cherries appeared second-best and cherry juice concentrate is the runner-up.

gout

But does concentrated cherry juice actually help prevent attacks of gout?

The first study was a randomized controlled trial cherry juice concentrate with pomegranate juice concentrate as a control for the prevention of attacks in gout sufferers who were having as many as four attacks a month. The cherry group got a tablespoon of cherry juice concentrate twice a day for four months, and the control group got a tablespoon of pomegranate juice concentrate twice a day for four months.

The number of gout flares in the cherry group dropped from an average of five down to two, better than the pomegranate group, which only dropped from about five to four. And about half of those in the cherry group who were on prescription anti-inflammatory drugs were able to stop their medications within two months after starting the cherry juice, as opposed to none of the patients in the pomegranate group.

The second study, Treating Gout with Cherry Juice, was a retrospective investigation over a longer term. Twenty-four gout patients went from having about seven attacks a year, down to two. The researchers concluded that cherry juice concentrate is efficacious for the prevention of gout flares. Large, long-term randomized controlled trials are needed to further evaluate the usefulness of cherries and cherry juice concentrate for gout flare prophylaxis.

Another way to help treat gout is to drink lots of water and keep one’s urine alkaline by eating lots of dark green leafy vegetables.

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A study by Northumbria University shows that drinking a concentrate made from tart Montmorency cherries, which possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helps clear excess uric acid from the body in just a few hours. Drinking just 30ml of the concentrate with water twice a day led to lower blood...