When you are diagnosed with gout, it is common to embark on dietary changes to prevent gout attacks. However, the foods you eat may not be the only cause of your discomfort. Sometimes the supplements you take, such as creatine, can add to your pain. For this reason, inform your doctor of all of the supplements you take to prevent complications.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a chemical that is created naturally in your muscles and appears in many of the meats and fish you eat. Creatine is also a popular supplement used by body builders to bulk up. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that people in the United States spend more than $14 million a year on creatine supplements. Aside from being a potential athletic performance enhancer, it may also be helpful in slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease, improving symptoms of McArdle's disease and improving strength in heart failure patients and people with muscle disorders.
Gout is a condition that occurs when you consume a high amount of purines. These purines, found in many organ meats, mushrooms and small fish, increase your body’s level of uric acid. The increased levels of uric acid are unable to dissolve properly into your bloodstream and crystallize in your joints. This causes painful arthritis and visible joint inflammation. Gout occurs in flares and is treated through dietary changes, pain medications and, if frequently reoccurring bouts are a problem, medications that increase uric acid removal and prevent uric acid buildup.
Are They Related?
A study that appeared in a 1992 issue of the “Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases” showed a positive correlation between increased uric acid levels and creatine levels in men with and without gout. Researchers suggest that high creatine levels may be to blame for high uric acid levels and gout. Commonly, foods high in creatine are also high in purines and should be limited or avoided. However, if you are taking a creatine supplement and experience frequent gout attacks, cease supplementation until you can further discuss your options with a physician.
Both creatine and gout can increase your risk of developing renal complications. Kidney stones, caused by gout, can be limited with medication. However, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, kidney damage caused by creatine supplements may be amplified through the use of diuretics, cimetidine or probenicid. Probenicid is particularly worrisome for people taking creatine supplements because probenicid is used to treat gout, further emphasizing the need to disclose your creatine usage to your doctor.