Cherry Juice for Gout

Using cherry juice for gout may seem like a strange treatment for such a painful and complex condition.  However, scientific research linking cherries and gout continues to demonstrate a significant beneficial relationship, especially for medical treatment and prevention of gout.  

Cherries and gout have long been connected, mostly due to the natural compounds found in cherries thought to have a variety of disease-fighting applications.  If you are experiencing painful, red, hot, swollen joints associated with gout, consider reducing this debilitating inflammation by supplementing your diet with cherry juice.

Cherries and Gout

Cherries are considered a “superfruit”, specifically because they contain naturally occurring compounds that are rich in antioxidants, including a special type called anthocyanins.  Antioxidants contain disease fighting properties demonstrated to reduce, and even prevent, uric-acid build-up in the blood, leading to the painful symptoms associated with gout.  

Interestingly, the natural compounds  in cherries, anthocyanins in particular, have demonstrated several other health benefits, including lowering risk of heart disease and stroke, colon cancer, and diabetes; cherry consumption has also been connected with increased quality of sleep, weight loss, an improved brain health.

Understanding the Gout Cherry Juice Connection

To truly understand why you would use cherries for gout, I find it helpful to first understand:

  • What gout is,
  • What antioxidants and anthocyanins are,
  • Where they are found,
  • What these compounds can do for your body, and
  • What types and mediums of cherries and cherry juice for gout are most effective.  

As you read on, you will learn how to harness the power of natural compounds found in cherry juice to treat and prevent the pain and discomfort of gout.

Gout Definition, Symptoms and Causes

As you have probably read on other parts of my website, gout is a recurring condition of painful acute arthritis caused primarily by your kidney’s reduced ability to process and excrete uric acid; this causes painful swelling and stiffness in one or more of your joints.  Symptoms of gout typically include:

  • Red, swollen joints
  • Stiffness
  • Initial mild pain that progresses to sharp, stabbing, excruciating pain in joints
  • Sudden onset

While there are many theories about the cause of gout, it basically surfaces its ugly face when uric acid builds up to high levels in the blood, typically as a result of your kidney’s inability to break down and excrete the acid.  The excess uric acid in your blood crystallizes and settles in a joint (or joints), causing the painful symptoms described above.  As I have said before, if you are experiencing this now, you are probably less concerned with the cause and more concerned with the cure; one thing you do know:  IT FRIGGIN’ HURTS!

Fortunately, there is help and relief for painful gout; the natural, healing properties of cherries and cherry juice for gout have helped a lot of people find relief from this painful condition.

Antioxidants and Cherries for Gout

Anthocyanins are one of the most potent antioxidants known.  Antioxidants, as you are well aware, are all the rage in anti-aging and disease prevention.  Antioxidants are effective in combating aging and disease because they limit the effects of free radicals.  

Free radicals are substances inside our bodies that cause damage to healthy tissues, and they are formed by exposure to toxins from the foods and drinks we consume, the air we breathe, the chemicals in our environment and even the stress hormones we manufacture when we are under duress.  These free radicals cause oxidation or damage, to the tissues in our bodies similar to a piece of fruit that browns soon after being cut, or a piece of metal that rusts when exposed to water.  In a nutshell, free radicals cause our body’s cells to become damaged. Antioxidants and the anti-dote to free radical damage.

In the case of gout, free radical damage to our kidneys makes it harder for them to do their job.  Our kidneys are working hard to filter out the toxins that end up in our blood stream, and this includes the excessive uric acid.  If our blood stream is chock-full of uric acid, and our kidneys are compromised from free radical damage at the same time . . . it’s a recipe for gout.

So it’s important for our kidneys to be in tip-top shape. Consuming ample amounts of antioxidants can help keep your kidneys, and every other organ, functioning well. Plus, eating high quality unprocessed foods, like organic cherries, contribute to a healthy overall gout diet.

But not all antioxidants are created equally.  In the case of cherries and cherry juice, it is the anthocyanin antioxidants that are specifically associated with decreased uric acid levels in the blood and with significant reductions in gout flare ups and gout-related symptoms.

Anthocyanins and Cherries for Gout

According to scientific research published in the Cherry Nutrition Report, anthocyanins are the compounds that give cherries their dark, rich colors .  These anthocyanins belong to a group of compounds called flavonoids; of the 150 identified flavonoids, anthocyanins contain the greatest amount of antioxidants.  Of all the plants and fruits, cherries, especially tart cherries, contain the highest concentration of anthocyanins; significantly more than blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries!

Essentially, what happens is the anthocyanins found in cherries, assist your body in removing uric acid from the blood, excreting a greater amount of uric acid in your urine – where it belongs!.  A study by Jacob et. al (2003) indicated that the consumption of cherry extract removed gout causing uric acid from the blood  in as little as 5 hours .  Interestingly, the same study completed with grapes, strawberries and kiwi did not show the same results.  While further research is needed to determine exactly why this happens, we know that cherries and cherry juice for gout relief is a viable option for you!

While anthocyanins demonstrate the ability to relive uric acid levels in your blood, reducing the risk of a painful gout attack, further research published in Arthritis Rheum demonstrates that consuming cherries on a regular basis reduces the risk of recurrent gout attacks .  Specifically, consuming a serving of cherries (10-12 cherries) per day over a two day period, reduced the risk of a recurrence of gout by 35%.  This research demonstrates that daily supplementation with a serving of cherries or cherry juice is associated with a reduce risk of gout attacks.  You will want to note that consuming two, three, or four servings of cherries or cherry juice did not produce greater results, stick with one serving per day!

Recommended Amounts of Cherries for Gout and Cherry Juice for Gout

While research recommends consuming one daily serving of cherries or cherry juice for gout relief, it is important to realize that not all cherries or cherry products are created equal!  You will want to pay close attention to the amount of antioxidants contained in each serving of cherries, dried cherries, cherry juice and cherry concentrate for gout relief.  Antioxidants are measured by a process called Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC; this basically tells you the antioxidant capacity of various foods.  Nutritionists and Dieticians recommend consuming between 3,000 and 5,000 ORAC units every day.  When applying this knowledge to cherries and gout relief, consider the following:

  • 3 ounces of Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate contains 12,800 units of ORAC
  • 1/4 cup of Dried Cherries contain roughly 3,000 units of ORAC
  • 1/2 cup of Frozen Cherries contains roughly 2,000 ORAC units.

Cherries and Cherry Juice for Gout Relief

With research now supporting cherry juice for gout, supplementing your diet with cherries and cherry juice is a no-brainer.  Cherries and cherry juice for gout help to relieve gout flare-ups and lower the concentration of uric acid in your blood level.  The levels of anthocyanins and antioxidants in cherries, as determined by ORAC units, far exceed the amounts found in comparable fruits, including grapes, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.  Since multiple servings, or mega-dosing, with cherries for gout relief does not demonstrate improved results, I recommend adding one daily serving of cherry or cherry juice for gout.

Resources:

Reiter, R. “Cherry Nutrition Report – Cherry Marketing Institute.” 2010
http://www.choosecherries.com/Uploads/Documents/8589194263810869558.pdf

Jacob, RA. “Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women.” 2003.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12771324

Zhang, Y. “Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks.” 2012
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23023818

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