Nearly one in four people with gout mistakenly believe that natural remedies like apple cider vinegar can treat the disease, according to the Alliance for Gout Awareness. However, there is no scientific evidence that drinking apple cider vinegar for gout can cure or eliminate the disease.
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Although some believe that apple cider vinegar can be beneficial for people with gout, there are no scientific studies evaluating the efficacy of drinking apple cider vinegar for gout treatment.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that can happen to anyone. However, nearly 44 percent of people with the illness are 65 years of age or older. The condition is characterized by sudden and severe attacks of joint swelling, pain and tenderness that often occur at night. It is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis and affects over 8 million Americans.
Gout occurs when too much uric acid accumulates in the blood, thereby causing urate crystals to form in the joints. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines, which are compounds that occur naturally in your body and are also found in foods such as beer, red and organ meats and seafood.
Read more: Foods That Will Eliminate Gout Flare Ups
Normally, your body eliminates uric acid through the blood and kidneys. When this system fails to function properly, the uric acid levels in your blood begin to rise. This can cause needle-like crystals to form in your joints, which might become inflamed, tender and swollen.
Risk Factors for Gout
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several risk factors that increase uric levels in the blood and make you more likely to develop gout. A diet rich in purines and drinking sweet beverages that contain high-fructose corn syrup increase levels of uric acid in the body. Drinking alcohol also increases your chances of developing gout.
Having overweight increases your chances of developing this form of arthritis as well. This is because if you have obesity, your body produces more uric acid. Your kidneys have a more difficult time eliminating this extra load.
Read more: 3 Types of Fruits Best for People With Gout
Family history of gout, recent surgery or trauma and certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart and kidney diseases also increase your chances of developing gout. Certain medications — such as low-dose aspirin, thiazide diuretics and drugs prescribed for those who have undergone an organ transplant — can as well.
Though gout occurs in men more often than in women, women are more likely to develop the condition after menopause, when their uric levels approach that of men's. Men are more likely to develop gout at a younger age — most often between the ages of 30 and 50.
Diet and Gout
According to the Gout Education Society, eating a healthy and balanced diet may help decrease uric levels by up to 1.0 milligrams per deciliter. When you get a uric acid blood test, it measures uric acid in milligrams and blood in deciliters. People living with gout should aim for a daily uric level of 6.0 milligrams per deciliter or below.
The Gout Education Society recommends that you make the following dietary changes if you have gout:
- Eat a plant and grain-based diet, high in low-fat or non-fat dairy products, fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts and grains.
- Limit eating purine-rich foods such as beer, red meat, lamb, pork, organ meats and seafood, especially shrimp, lobster, anchovies and sardines.
- Reduce your intake of high-fructose corn syrup, which is a common sweetener found in soft drinks, candy, cookies, cereals and baked goods.
- Drink plenty of water and exercise regularly.
- Take a vitamin C supplement in the 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day range.
Keep in mind that the potential uric level reduction brought on by a healthy diet is not enough to treat gout once a patient has been diagnosed. Even when consuming a low-purine, healthy diet, it is still important to take daily medication prescribed by your gout specialist or rheumatologist.
Read more: Foods That Reduce Uric Acid
Apple Cider Vinegar for Gout
Home remedies for gout abound on the internet and include cherry juice, tea for gout and apple cider vinegar. There are no scientific studies evaluating the efficacy of drinking apple cider vinegar for gout treatment. Though that is the case, apple cider vinegar has been shown to boost weight loss.
A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods in April 2018 found that people who drank apple cider vinegar before a meal lost more weight than people who did not supplement with apple cider vinegar. Both cohorts in the study also restricted their diets by 250 calories per day.
Read more: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar & Weight Loss
Since losing weight lowers the risk of developing gout according to the Mayo Clinic, drinking apple cider vinegar might be a good addition to your gout diet. Just remember, diet will not cure or treat gout, but it can help you manage the condition and decrease flare-ups.
Risks and Considerations
When drinking apple cider vinegar for gout, make sure to only have 1 to 2 tablespoons before each meal. Also, be sure to dilute it in a liquid such as water or juice before consuming.
Keep in mind, apple cider vinegar is mostly safe to drink, notes University of Chicago Medicine, but it can erode tooth enamel and cause nausea and acid reflux because of its high acidity. If you feel any digestive discomfort after consuming apple cider vinegar, discontinue use.
If you are hoping for instant gout relief and pain reduction through the use of apple cider vinegar, that is something it will not provide. There is a danger in relying on home remedies to treat gout, as attempting to self-cure your symptoms will not provide the relief you seek, according to the Alliance for Gout Awareness.
To ensure you get the proper treatment, find a gout specialist who can assess your condition and prescribe both a dietary plan as well as medication to help you manage your gout. If left untreated, gout can lead to more serious conditions like kidney stones and cardiovascular disease.
- Alliance for Gout Awareness: "National Survey of Patients' Attitudes Toward Gout"
- Mayo Clinic: "Gout"
- Gout Education Society: "Diet & Lifestyle"
- MedlinePlus: "Uric Acid Test"
- Mayo Clinic: "Gout Diet: What's Allowed, What's Not"
- UChicagoMedicine: "Debunking the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar"
- Journal of Functional Foods: "Beneficial Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on Weight Management, Visceral Adiposity Index and Lipid Profile in Overweight or Obese Subjects Receiving Restricted Calorie Diet: A Randomized Clinical Trial"
- Alliance for Gout Awareness: "What You Didn’t Know About Gout"