Most people think gout is a man’s disease, but women can be affected too. The painful arthritic condition tends to strike women mostly after menopause. But a new study shows cherries are good medicine for gout; especially when combined with medications that lower uric acid levels.
In the new study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, people who ate cherries over a two-day period were 35% less likely to have a gout attack, compared to those who didn’t enjoy the fruit.
One of the reasons cherries help with inflammation of gout that stems from higher levels of uric acid in the body is because they inhibit COX2 – a chemical in the body that is released in response to inflammation that causes pain.
Past studies have shown sour cherries eaten whole or taken as juice can quell pain, making them a great choice for helping ease arthritis pain. The study is the first to explore whether cherries could reduce gout flare-ups.
For the study, 633 patients with gout were followed online for one year. Twenty-two percent of the participants were women. The average age of the study group was 54.
The study group was asked to track gout attack. Among the participants that consumed some form of cherries, 35% ate fresh fruit; 2% took cherry extract and 5% used both.
There were 1,247 gout attacks during year follow-up, with most occurring in the joint at the bottom of the big toe.
Cherry extract or cherries was associated with 75% lower chances of having a gout attack combined with the medication allopurinol.
“Our findings indicate that consuming cherries or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack,” said lead study author Dr. Yuqing Zhang Zhang who is Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Boston University in a press release.
“The gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days.” The authors found that further cherry intake did not provide any additional benefit. However, the protective effect of cherry intake persisted after taking into account patients’ sex, body mass (obesity), purine intake, along with use of alcohol, diuretics and anti-gout medications.
For the study, a serving was one half cup or 10 to 12 cherries. More research is needed to confirm cherries definitely prevent gout attack. The very painful form of arthritis affects 8.2 million people in the United States, and not just men. Clinicians can review the newest gout guidelines released by the American College of Rheumatology here.
“Cherry Consumption and the Risk of Recurrent Gout Attacks.”
Yuqing Zhang, Tuhina Neogi, Clara Chen, Christine Chaisson, David Hunter, Hyon K. Choi
September 28, 2012
“Women get Gout too”