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There was a time when people were reassured by the swelling and red-hot pain of a gouty foot. Since the pain zeroed in on a distant extremity, the big toe, it seemed to signify that all the nerves in the far reaches of the body were working well. Therefore, people surmised, maybe all was perfectly well with everything in between. Gout is no all-clear signal, however. "That pain in the joint is the end result of a long breakdown process," says Luc Maes, D.C., N.D., a chiropractor and naturopathic doctor in Santa Barbara, California. It means that the kidneys are not doing a good job. Your blood transports the chief troublemaker, uric acid. Like a traveler toting a heavy suitcase through an airport, blood that has a burden of excess uric acid begins looking for a dump site, says Dr. Maes. Down around the big toe, circulation is sluggish, and it’s easy for the blood to drop its load. The uric acid deposited in the joint forms needleshaped crystals that can trigger an inflammation so severe that even the weight of a bedsheet causes pain. Purine-rich foods just make matters worse. Purines are chemicals found in foods such as alcohol, seafood, and organ meats. Normally, they don’t do any damage, but if you’re prone to gout, these foods can cause crystal formation. It helps to drink as much water as possible to help flush purines and uric acid from your system—and by all means, eliminate purine-rich foods from your diet. It also helps to limit your intake of animal fats and refined carbohydrates, which increase the production of uric acid. Along with those measures, nutritional and herbal supplements are good allies, say alternative medicine experts. Many can help improve the kidney, the liver, and the blood, according to Dr. Maes. Others can help fight inflammation. But he emphasizes that supplements can’t make amends for a diet that includes lots of animal fats and refined carbohydrates. "If you eat a poor diet for a long time, your body gets too much of certain nutrients and not enough of others," he says. Fight the Flame with EPA When you eat saturated fats—the kind that come from meat and dairy foods —you’re inviting the overproduction of inflammatory chemical. "Gout is a state of inflammation," says Dr. Maes. "Things are on fire." Studies have shown that you can help reverse this pattern and correct the nutritional imbalance by taking fish oil or flaxseed oil. Fish-oil supplements are particularly rich in an omega-3 fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which discourages inflammation, says Priscilla Evans, N.D., a naturopathic doctor at the Community Wholistic Health Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. EPA is also available from flaxseed oil. Like throwing a track switch to reroute a train, EPA reroutes the chemicals in your body early in the inflammation process. With the flick of that switch, the chemicals start to fight inflammation. Supplements can’t do the whole job, Dr. Evans emphasizes. "It’s very important to cut back on vegetable oils and saturated fats that promote inflammation. Just adding fish oil is not enough if you’re still eating a lot of red meat and fat." Dr. Maes advises people with gout to take 1,500 milligrams of fish oil a day, but not all at once. Divide the doses and take the supplements with meals.

Celery Seed Extract: A Natural Diuretic. If you’re a vegetarian or don’t like fish. there was less constriction of blood vessels. with more than 100 calories an ounce. These tiny. the animals’ blood pressures dropped an average of 12 to 14 percent. Although an attack of gout can last as long as a few weeks. you’ll probably want to start out with a smaller dose. phosphorus. Evans. It kind of digests the products of inflammation. When you do. some herbalists also use celery seed for its sedative and tranquilizing effect and prescribe the extract for treating insomnia and anxiety. Evans. advises Dr. Within a week. if the gout lingers.You should also take 400 to 1.200 international units of vitamin E a day with the fish oil. a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild in Washington. not the more valuable EPA. Maes. magnesium. bromelain. take 125 to 250 milligrams three times a day to control inflammation. Celery has been used for centuries in Asia as a folk remedy for high blood pressure. you may be able to get similar benefits by taking one to two tablespoons of flaxseed oil every day. the oil helps clean out the organs that carry urine. New Jersey. Because it’s an enzyme and enzymes help with digestion. To test it. For milder cases of gout. is nature’s antiinflammatory medicine. and zinc. Dr. you can take it with meals. The Bromelain Benefit An enzyme with an appetite. it works as an anti-inflammatory agent. You can buy the extract in capsules or tablets that are standardized by the percentage of volatile oil they contain. After that. . researchers at the University of Chicago injected animals with a small amount of a chemical compound that is found in celery and celery seed. The chemical injection relaxed the muscles lining the arteries that regulate blood pressure and also reduced the amount of stress hormones in the blood. This oil contains alpha-linolenic acid. but you’re more likely to use this spice-cupboard staple to add some flavor to soup. In the urinary system. iron.000 seeds.” says Betzy Bancroft. “It’s a clearing kind of herb. she says. which acts as an antiseptic. potassium. Celery seed is so tiny that one ounce contains about 72. "Bromelain inhibits those proteins that are promoting inflammation in the body. You can also take it between meals." says Dr. Evans recommends 500 milligrams of bromelain three times a day between meals to help reduce the inflammation during acute gout attacks. since bromelain sometimes causes a burning feeling in the gut. It works along with the EPA to act as an anti-inflammatory and also serves as an antioxidant. which comes from pineapple. Today. but it’s also rich in calories. and only a portion of it is converted to EPA by the body. flavorful seeds are natural diuretics and anti-inflammatories that have been used since ancient times for treating gout and arthritis as well as colds and flu. and More Medieval magicians put celery seed in their shoes in order to f ly. Each seed contains the nutrients calcium. The healing properties of celery seed are in the volatile oil. says Dr. however. With reduced stress hormones. you should take high doses of bromelain for only four to five days.

Nettle may be used long-term. the recommended dosage is 10. you need to contact your physician if you would like to try folic acid as a preventive. For gout." says Dr. Soothing with Celery When doctors prescribe a drug for gout relief. . says Dr. Boon from Berries Help in another form comes from bioflavonoid molecules. you can take a bioflavonoid supplement or 2. "Nettle works as a blood cleanser and detoxifying agent. a supplement that acts as a diuretic. Maes recommends not using it for more than two to three months at a time. also works as a diuretic to help to lower uric acid levels. They contain alcohol and may aggravate gout.. studies show. Dr.S.D. researchers discovered that cherries could decrease uric acid levels and prevent a gout attack. and author of The Green Pharmacy. "I’ve now found an herbal alternative in celery seed extract.Folic Acid at Work Folic acid also has a dampening effect on uric acid production. The best are those that have a combination of all the bioflavonoids or the extracts of several different berries. Researchers have found that they help in tissue building and can prevent the release of some compounds that promote inflammation. he advises. Maes. botanical consultant. That’s 25 to 100 times the Daily Value of 400 micrograms. so he decided to try it. The pharmaceutical and the natural supplement were tested and compared by James A. Bioflavonoids affect other body processes as well as uric acid production. take 300 to 600 milligrams of a freeze-dried extract daily. it’s often allopurinal (Zyloprim).000 to 40. which controls the levels of uric acid. Also. Department of Agriculture who specializes in medicinal plants. and other fruits." he says. Ph. Avoid tinctures of nettle. it may help ward off future attacks. You’d have to eat a lot of cherries— a half-pound a day—to make a dent in gout. Duke took two to four tablets of celery seed extract every day instead of allopurinol. which are found in cherries. Folic acid won’t resolve an acute attack. Settle on Nettle Nettle. a natural antihistamine that has long been used by old-time herbalists to treat inflammation of the joints. but in high doses. Since that’s far more than you should take without a prescription. he says. which I expect to continue taking as long as the threat of gout hangs over me. helping to flush fluids out of the system. The extract was supposed to help his body eliminate uric acid and prevent it from reaching the critical levels that induce an attack of gout. Duke. blueberries.000 milligrams of berry extract a day. After taking allopurinal prescribed by his doctor for acute gout. Duke learned that celery seed extract might help just as much. but Dr. Dr. and when that enzyme is blocked. In the 1950s. A natural alternative is celery seed extract. To get the full benefit. uric acid production takes a nosedive.000 micrograms of folic acid daily. research has shown that you need to take some vitamin C along with the folic acid in order for it to work. and his attacks of gout disappeared. This B vitamin gets in the way of the enzyme responsible for producing uric acid. former ethnobotanist with the U. Maes. For the same results.