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Gout, Natural Remedies and the FDA

Gout, Natural Remedies and the FDA

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Published by Nathan Mylott
Many people never find a safe and effective treatment for their ailments because they rely on prescription drugs. These drugs make them sick or kill them, and rarely solve the problem. Yet the FDA tells us these chemicals are safe to put in our bodies. There are safe alternatives that will treat or cure the illness, but many people will never know because the FDA pretends they don't exist, and the makers of these treatments aren't allowed to tell you that they can help you.
Many people never find a safe and effective treatment for their ailments because they rely on prescription drugs. These drugs make them sick or kill them, and rarely solve the problem. Yet the FDA tells us these chemicals are safe to put in our bodies. There are safe alternatives that will treat or cure the illness, but many people will never know because the FDA pretends they don't exist, and the makers of these treatments aren't allowed to tell you that they can help you.

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Published by: Nathan Mylott on Aug 03, 2009
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Gout, Prescription Drugs and the FDAbyNathan Mylott
At the young age of 30, a severe attack of gout had rendered me a helplessinvalid dependent on another person to take care of me. The excruciating pain of moving my toes or touching my foot to the floor was simply too great for me towalk. This malady had afflicted me for over two years and the attacks were gettingmore severe and more frequent. My doctor had told me there was no cure and theonly treatment involved daily doses of drugs with harmful side effects and there wasno way to be sure they would work for me. So I did my own research and found ahealthy, natural cure that could virtually eliminate gout attacks. If I had done asmost people do and simply trusted the medical profession without question, I wouldhave faced a life of terrible pain and disability. Nature has provided a safe andeffective cure for most ailments and yet millions of Americans suffer through theirillnesses because they believe that their doctor and the pharmaceutical companiesare the final word on their health. Millions more become more ill or die because theyblindly trust their doctor to give them drugs that are safe. The Food and DrugAdministration (FDA), that is supposed to be protecting us from unsafe drugs, hasproven that it is either unable or unwilling to do the the job it was created for. TheFDA only protects the interests of pharmaceutical companies and ignores the besttreatments for the people it is supposed to protect.Gout is caused by underperforming kidneys that are unable to adequatelymetabolize uric acid. This naturally occurring chemical is the end product of the breakdown of purines found in aplethora of foods and drinks. It is normally flushed out in the urine but when thebody cannot dissolve it and pass it through to the bladder, it crystallizes intomicroscopic needles. The uric acid crystals collect around the joints, almost alwaysin the foot, and send searing pain through the tissues like little invisible needles.Uric acid needles in joint fluidImages viaWikipedia To prevent attacks, I could try to avoid foods that contain high amounts of purines. However, it is not clearly known what foods are high in purines, what levelsthey have, or what levels it takes to cause an attack. For example, even if I were toeat a bag of shrimp, which is known to have a high purine content, there is nocertainty that it would cause an attack. On the other hand, I may not consume anypurines at all and still have an attack. The list of foods containing purines variesdepending on the source because it is not known for certain so some sources simplyname every food or drink a person has ever reported consuming before an attack.Even if I wanted to cut these foods out of my diet entirely, eat healthy and lose
 
weight, that sudden change in diet could cause an attack. Not drinking enoughwater can cause an attack, with or without a high purine intake. Not all goutsufferers have the same triggers. A food that causes me to have an acute attack,may not be a problem for somebody else. The alternative to this uncertain experimentation with diet, was to take a dailydrug called Allopurinol that would reduce the uric acid levels in my blood. But thedoctor advised against this treatment unless the attacks became too frequent totolerate because he said Allopurinol can cause severe liver damage over a longperiod of regular use. What’s worse, in the first few months of using Allopurinol, thedrug can actually cause an increase in gout attacks. To counter this increase inattacks, another drug is given on top of it, called Colchicine, which has its own set of side effects. For all of these ill effects on my body, there was still no guarantee thatthe Allopurinol would reduce my attacks.Unwilling to simply accept a future of debilitating illness without a fight, I didmy own research on alternative cures. I found dozens of natural remedies thateither prevent attacks, or reduce the severity of them. The most important of thesecures was cherries. Cherries and many other berries get their color pigment fromanthocyanins. According to all of the information I found, anthocyanins havetremendous health benefits. One website reported that, “anthocyanins areantioxidant flavonoids that protect many body systems. They have some of thestrongest physiological effects of any plant compounds”(http://chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Anthocyanins.shtml). The anthocyanins break downthe uric acid crystals and reduce inflammation, which are the two causes of painwith gout.In 1950 Dr. Ludwig W. Blau Ph.D discovered the benefits of cherries for goutby serendipity and reported it in Prevention magazine. His gout was so severe thathe was confined to a wheelchair. He ate a bowl of cherries one day and the nextday, his pain was gone. He continued eating at least 6 cherries a day and soon wasable to walk. This sparked his research and that of many others in the decadessince. Cheries have been linked to benefits for diabetes, colon cancer, heart healthand other muscular diseases.So I began a daily regimen of organic apple cider vinegar, an herb calleddevil’s claw, powdered cherry extract and pure black cherry juice along with eatingcherries as often as I could. I also kept on hand other remedies that lessen theseverity of an attack, should one arise. Since gout attacks sometimes come once ayear and sometimes every two months, only time would tell how well thesetreatments work.Four months after beginning this regimen, I had a gout attack. It lasted aweek and a half and was painful, requiring the use of some pain medication. But itwas the least severe attack I had ever had. I was able to walk for the entire durationof the attack. I walked with a limp but I did not miss any work or school. That wasthe first time I had ever had a gout attack and been able to walk. It is difficult to saywith certainty that these remedies are the reason this attack was so mild, but itwould be an odd coincidence if they were not the reason. Then a month after this attack had subsided, I had the start of another. I wokeup one day with pain bad enough that I borrowed my mother’s walker to get aroundmy apartment. I took an extra cherry capsule and drank extra cherry juice and
 
vinegar, and by the end of that day, the attack had completely subsided. Comparedto every other gout flare I had ever had, that was downright miraculous. This raises obvious questions: why didn’t the doctor tell me about cherries? Why dodoctors prescribe drugs that make us sick when there are perfectly safe and moreeffective treatments at the grocery store? Why isn’t there more public awareness of natural remedies?Although only doctors can explain their choices in treatments for theirpatients, it is doctors’ choices that explain public awareness. The majority of peopleblindly trust what their doctors tell them. They assume that their doctor knows whathe or she is talking about and that they have their best interest at heart. It is alsoassumed that if there is a cure for something, the doctor will tell them. The firstassumption is probably true most of the time, but it is readily apparent that thereare many cures our doctors aren’t telling us about. Thus most people never find thetreatment that is best for them.Another factor leading people away from effective treatment is, ironically, theFDA. Most people also blindly trust FDA approval without question. It is after all, agovernment body that exists with only one purpose: to watch out for the health andsafety of the public. This too, is misguided trust. The FDA approves all manner of drugs with as many side effects as benefits. It even approves drugs that aredangerous and ineffective. It also completely ignores natural remedies. It ismotivated more by the interests of the wealthy pharmaceutical companies than of the public.Pharmaceutical companies are allowed to make any claims they please about thebenefits of their drugs. Yet herbalists and marketers of natural remedies are noteven allowed to directly state what their products are good for on the packaging,nor are they allowed to promote it for that purpose. People have to do their ownresearch and seek out these products with knowledge in hand of what they do. The FDA does not approve natural remedies, nor regulate them at all. Becauseof this, many people assume they are not safe. They equate a lack of approval witha disapproval. Even if they disregard the FDA’s policy of ignoring natural remedies,it is difficult for people to choose a natural product because the quality of theproducts is not regulated. Since there is no standard, there is no real way to knowthe potency or effectiveness of the brand of a supplement you are buying. The FDA says it cannot regulate or approve natural products because their potencyis determined by nature. It cannot be precisely created in a laboratory so the theagency simply ignores them.Most people seem to forget that the FDA is comprised of imperfect humans. Through biased research and lobbyists, the pharmaceutical companies have fargreater resources to sway the opinions of FDA members than vitamin companies orthe general public. Pharmaceuticals is one of the largest and wealthiest industries inthe country, and much of the cost of drugs goes toward marketing and lobbyists. The imperfect humans that make up the FDA are perfectly capable of makingmistakes, as evidenced in the case of Ketek. In 2004, the FDA approved this drug,“lauding it as the first of a new class of antimicrobial agents that circumventantibiotic resistance” (Ross, 2007). However the FDA based its approval upon data itknew to be suspect. The FDA had paid doctors $400 per patient to recruit patientsto test the drug. It was discovered that several doctors had provided information on

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