Baking Soda used in other fields to reduce system acidity
It is somewhat of a semi-urban myth that some top athletes take baking soda to help with training, which reduces lactic acid and improves recovery from very strenuous exercise. Elevated lactic acid has been linked to reduction in the capacity of your kidneys to flush uric acid out the system.
Baking soda has also been reccommended to me by my dentist, to reduce buildup of "chalk" on my teeth (despite brushing regularly). From memory, I've always had a very acidic system: poor, acidic skin (corroding metal frames of my glasses), and often over productive sebaceous glands, with at least one sebaceous cyst in the past.
At 32, I have recently increased my exercise to trim up (10% overweight): some resistance training, but mostly cardio on a stepper machine (I'm a bit of a mountaineering nut). A 3 week programme of my own devising - no long lectures about exercising on your own; moot point: I know what I'm doing and didn't begin excessively. I eat a high fiber diet; oats, whole grains, lots of veg, fish, red meat; medium carbs, low fat, high protein. Zero alcohol. Lots of coffee (3 cups a day). All not-so-great things for gout.
Recently I have experienced extremely stiff "sticky" knee and shoulder joints at night. After waking up, it is exceedingly painful to move. Minimal "classic" symptoms (a mildly sore big toe once in a blue moon). I also experience continual tingling and numbness in my hands (thumb, index and small finger), but not at night. Similar to carpal-tunnel or ulnar nerve syndrome, but not diagnostic. I seem to have somewhat poor circulation in my arms for some reason.
I went for a battery of blood tests (covering everything from testing for diabetes; liver function; thyroid function; iron loading; cholesterol; hepatitis; heavy metals). Results were healthy for everything except: high uric acid levels in the blood, elevated hemoglobin levels, accumulation of iron and slight copper deficiency. Everything points to gout-like symptoms and high system acidity. With the moderate "shock" of starting to exercise, I've tipped the scales and precipitated uric acid crystal formation.
The advice from the doctor was it is 70% likely that I (and the majority of other sufferers) am under-excreting uric acid, rather than over-producing it. Instead of jumping in with drugs-drugs-drugs a regimented changes in diet (less purines: less red meats, legumes, whole grain stuff, and especially a lot of water intake etc) were recommended to somewhat reduce existing production and encourage the kidneys to work a bit harder. Slacking off on exercise was advised (in my case, less anaerobic, more aerobic, less resistance i.e. do not overload on lactic acid), change in diet to reduce purines. Advised to come back in 3 weeks and again in 3 weeks after that for uric acid testing.
From another front, it was recommended that I have a unwanted waste products in my system. Activated charcoal was advised. A copper band (placebo, but can't hurt), lots of berry products and other off the shelf nutrient based products (gout-eeze) were recommended. Apple cider or lemon juice after meals.
After a week of using the above, plus the use of baking soda, I still have some residual tingling in my hands. No joint pain though.
I guess my point is that by attempting to improve my lifestyle with a combination of perceived beneficial diet and exercise, I have precipitated unwanted results. Consulting a specialist beforehand I think would not have predicted nor prevented gout, but I am better off knowing that I am susceptible to gout and can take appropriate action to reduce future symptoms. As a general term "Gout" is one of the worlds oldest diagnosed maladies and will often point to other system imbalances that need addressing.