A Natural Remedy for Gout?

A natural remedy for gout, if it could be proved to work consistently, would be a great breakthrough for sufferers, but so far, nothing seems to really work on a sustainable and consistent basis.

My post on natural remedies, went back to grass roots for this blog and dealt with some of the issues surrounding their use and some of the potential consequences to watch out for.

I've also been asked what is the difference between arthritis and gout?

Here in this post, I want to revisit where I left off in my article about treating gout, by talking about a personal discovery that might be useful in examining the length of gout attacks and gout lasting months in stead of just a few days.

Not Drugs

After many years (15 to be exact) of suffering attacks of gout at irregular intervals I've read up on and educated myself about just about every aspect of this painful, frustrating and infuriating disease.

I started, like most people on my then doctor's recommendation of allopurinol tablets which I would have to have taken for the rest of my life. That didn't go down well with me, a person who views the drugs industry with a very suspicious eye.

Down the toilet they went and I started looking for alternatives!

I found many that had some affect, such as a drastic change in my diet and lifestyle, losing weight and taking a daily dose of cider vinegar and molasses (gleaned from a book written by Margaret Hills called "Curing Arthritis the Drug Free Way"). This was truly effective at clearing out the arthritis I was suffering from in the early days, but it did not prevent further sporadic attacks of gout.

Change of Lifestyle

When I moved from the UK to Spain several years ago, my first two years here were completely gout free, which I put down to a better diet, slower pace of life, less stress etc. But it came back and recently the attacks had started getting worse and lasting much longer, the last bad one lasted nearly 3 months.

Yes, three bloody months!

It was in both feet, toes and ankles making walking almost impossible on many days. Nothing I had or could do seemed to get rid of it. I tried most every natural gout treatment I knew to bring it down. Ice packs to take down the swelling. Increasing my water intake (which is already quite high at 2 litres plus a day).

Not daring to touch alcohol. Cutting my diet down to almost nothing with any food remotely high in purines off the menu. Eating cherries, cranberries, pineapple, bananas and everything else I could think of that might help.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Then I had no option than to resort to anti-inflammatory pills. You can get some damn strong ones here in Spain over the counter so Voltaren and Indonillo got taken. Forget ibuprofen, it doesn't touch gout!

In the early days, I consumed a whole packet of the damn things one day with absolutely no affect!

Well, these strong pills helped, but of course they only treat the symptom and not the cause, so it was only delaying and not curing the problem.

I have a very good Spanish doctor here, who is dead against prescribing any drugs unless there really are no other options. He recommended I try what he called soda water to help reduce the body's over-acidity.

Sodium Bicarbonate

At first I didn't understand what he meant by this, but soon realised that he meant water with some bicarbonate of soda dissolved into it.

Now this is an old fix for heartburn that I used to get many years ago when my lifestyle was, shall we say, more in keeping with the affluent City of London commercial culture, which is where I worked and enjoyed far too many "liquid lunches" with my colleagues.

Well, with nothing to lose, I tried this mixture that I admit I hadn't thought of as it was only good for countering excess stomach acid, right? Well, only partially right, it seems.

I took it and saw the rapid appearance of the end of that gout attack. I was not immediately convinced, as so much time had elapsed and its end could simply have been a coincidence. But my curiosity was sufficiently aroused to keep a tub of bicarbonate of soda handy, just in case.

Well, only a couple of months later, gout returned. I immediately started taking bicarbonate of soda (or Sodium Bicarbonate) three times a day and it seemed to prevent the obtuse swelling that I normally suffer with and only got a mild swelling instead.


A marked improvement straight away. I kept taking it and I'm convinced it has cut down the length of time I get the swelling typical of a gout attack. In fact, it cut down the overall length of the attack from what could potentially have been weeks to just a few days.

So what happened?

I think it must have something to do with lowering the body's overall acidity.

We know that when uric acid levels in the blood go over 7 ppm, that's when crystallization occurs in the joints and BAM! Gout attack. Get that level back below 7 ppm and the uric acid in the blood starts to clean out the crystals from the joints. Kind of role reversal!

So I guess that getting that level down as fast as possible is the main aim and taking sodium bicarbonate 3 times a day seems to be working for me. That doesn't mean it will work for someone else, though. I know people who swear by cherries to take the swelling down, but they don't work for me. As the saying goes: "One man's meat is another man's poison."

What was the next step?

Self Testing

I tested this on myself 2 weeks ago while gout free. I did this by deliberately eating some known bad stuff for me: prawns, salmon and mushrooms with asparagus! Man, that together is a guaranteed gout attack in the making! That night I took a glass of bicarbonate of soda before going to bed and again in the morning, no attack!

OK, it's not a very scientific test, but 2 weeks later still not sign of gout. I'll still shy away from all the bad foods, as I don't like to tempt fate. It's also important to stick with known prevention methods by keeping up the good, partially vegetarian Mediterranean diet and laying off alcohol.

But maybe, just maybe I now have a weapon in my arsenal that might just work in those times when everything I do to prevent gout is still not enough.

Only time will tell.

Written by: Terry Didcott

Footnote: I recently dicovered the many healing properties of lemons. One of these is the ability to become alkaline after digestion. Regular ingestion of fresh lemon juice is said to help with digestion, detoxification of the liver and helps in reducing the instance of excess uric acid, also reducing the possibility of the formation of kidney stones.


Posted on Tue, 16 Dec 2008 in Remedies | 5 Comments

5 thoughts on "A Natural Remedy for Gout?"

Donis Fylaktou says:
7 Jul 2011

I have had gout for years, and tried just about everything without success.I reduced meat to, minimum once a week, stopped alcohol altogether.I was having LOTS of fruit and vegetables and my gout was worsening. Finally I have read something about Excessive fructose increasing uric acid.I experimented reducing my fruit intake to 2 a day, and bingo within days I saw a dramatic improvement.Cherries are the only exception. I eat a lot of them when in season, with no ill effects.

Terry says:
13 Oct 2010

Yep, I find bicarb is about the only thing to stop gout in its tracks. Only problem is you have to be careful not to take too much cause it raises blood pressure and too much sodium is linked with Alzheimer's... oh great!

I also heard about lemon juice actually lowering the body's overall acidity levels. Totally the opposite to orange/grapefruit which raises it.

Vic says:
13 Oct 2010

For Gout I swear by Bicarb of Soda....I usually get an attack after overindulgence in beer.

At the Onset of an attack I take 1 level teaspoon in water 3x per day...the attack invariably begins to subside the following day ..whereas before...it just got worse ..sometimes for 2-3 weeks.

When I don't have gout I drink plenty of water with half a lemon or Lime mixed in....I have read that the Citric Acid in Lemons actually dissolves Uric Acid and Indeed my attacks are becoming far less frequent and less severe.......oh yeah avoid alcohol when possible LOL

Medic says:
18 Dec 2008


Thanks for the visit. Good article. Cherries work for me. That would be a real bugger if they didn't. I'll have to try the soda water some time. Makes sense with lowering the acidity

Terry says:
18 Dec 2008

One thing I recently read about allopurinol is that it knocks out your immune system which is totally out of order. But in a way, I can see how that might help during a gout attack as the swelling is caused by the immune response.

My own attacks are so severe probably because my immune system is very strong - always has been. I almost never get colds or flu even when those around me are coughing and sneezing! So maybe my immune response is the main reason why the swelling I get is so aggressive, severe and long lasting.

And maybe that's why cherries don't work for me. Come to think of it, anti-inflammatories don't work very well on me either, even the strongest ones only partially take the swelling down for a few hours at best.