Going Vegetarian Could Reduce Your Risk of Gout: Scientists Finds

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Reduce Uric Acid Gout naturally

Vegetarians face a lower risk of gout the agonizing condition that once struck Henry VIII, according to research. Scientists analyzed the diets of thousands of adults to discover those who cut out meat have the smallest odds of developing the ailment. Tests also showed the vegetarians had lower blood levels of uric acid, the substance known to cause gout.

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The findings by researchers in Taiwan add to the existing evidence that a poor diet can lead to a crippling form of arthritis. Figures suggest around two percent of people in the UK and US have gout. Experts at Fu-Jen Catholic University quizzed 13,935 participants about their diet, specifically what foods they eat and how often.

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In the hope of finding a link between gout and diet, their dietary habits were compared against their health records. The participants, who were recruited between 2005 and 2009, were followed up until the study ended in 2014. A total of 4,903 participants were from the Tzu Chi Health Study, whose levels of uric acid were almost monitored.

High levels of uric acid in the bloodstream can lead to crystals, which then build up in soft tissues and joints, causing the painful symptoms of gout. The rest, 9,032 participants, were from the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study. The study found that vegetarians had a lower risk of gout and that vegetarians who eat egg and dairy, known as Lacto-ovo vegetarians, had the lowest levels of uric acid concentration, followed by vegans and then meat-eaters.

‘We found a significant difference in uric acid concentration between Lacto-ovo vegetarians and nonvegetarians in both men and women, the authors wrote. ‘A vegetarian diet, compared with a nonvegetarian diet, was consistently associated with a lower risk of gout.’

Gout can come back every few months or years, but left untreated it can become chronic leading to kidney stones and damage to the joints, according to the NHS. What starts as excruciating pain and swelling in the big toe can move to other lower-body joints such as the ankle or knee.

The research comes after a myth-bunking study in October confirmed that the painful form of arthritis is not triggered by unhealthy eating. Overindulging in beer, wine, and red meat increases a person’s risk of gout by just one percent, University of Otago researchers found. Instead, the inflammatory condition is largely driven by genetics, the academics concluded in the British Medical Journal.

What is Gout?

A gout is a form of arthritis that can be extremely painful. Agonizing attacks come on very quickly, often during the night. It affects around two percent of people in the UK and 8.3 million in the US. Gout was once thought to be caused by overeating and drinking excessively, however, that is not the whole story.

The condition occurs due to a build-up of uric acid, which can be because a person’s kidneys cannot get rid of the substance quickly enough. Over time, uric-acid crystals can form in and around the joints, which can trigger severe inflammation that usually settles within a week.

On any day, about three-quarters of the urate in our bodies comes from the breakdown of purines produced within our body, while only about a quarter comes from the breakdown of purines in the food and drink we consume.

Foods and drinks high in purines include:

  • Alcohol
  • Red meat and offal
  • Oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon
  • Foods rich in yeast extract, like Marmite and Bovril

As well as pain, symptoms can include joints being:

  1. Red
  2. Hot
  3. Swollen
  4. Shiny

Without treatment, gout attacks can become more frequent, with more joints being affected. source daily mail

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