The acid test - Gout treatment

by George Glasser
(United Kingdom)

As an old investigative environmental writer, when the first thing I did when I discovered I had gout was hit the Internet. Quite frankly, I was astounded at the shear volume of information on gout. Not only, did the volumes of information take me aback, but also the amount of advertising for “cures.”

There are so many different things that people around the world use to manage gout, I couldn’t believe it.

For the pharmaceutical companies, it gout is a multibillion dollar a year industry.

I even came across this while doing research: “Many patients with chronic gout would be willing to pay money every month in perpetuity to be cured of their gout. Younger patients, patients whose main health concern is gout, and patients with frequent attacks are willing to pay the most.” (Willingness to Pay for a Cure in Patients with Chronic Gout; Dinesh Khanna, MD, MS: Medical Decision Making, Vol. 28, No. 4, 606-613 (2008).

In that study, the author said that the average person afflicted with gout was willing to pay on average $63 a month to be pain free. To me, that seemed more like how to extort money out of gout suffers, and long-term profits for pharmaceutical company shareholders than akin to the Hippocratic Oath. At that point, I decided to look at old generation-in and generation-out remedies.

I always have a great respect for time-honored home remedies and started checking around. The one I found with the most positive testimonials from gout suffers was apple cider vinegar. However, when I did research on that, all I came up that in the dosages recommended would do anything was acetic acid.

Being in pain, and desperate for relief, I tried some distilled vinegar sitting in my pantry, and it worked with in hours.

Most of the expert, Internet doctors scoffed at vinegar saying that all that’s in it is acetic acid good for salad dressing or on fish and chips. Upon investigating acetic acid, I fastly became aware of how poorly informed and poorly educated in human physiology the doctors were.

Well, at that point, I wanted to know why vinegar worked and worked so fast.

Despite what the doctors may believe, there is actually science behind the use of vinegar to treat and manage gout. Unfortunately, finding the science is not as straightforward as typing ‘Vinegar and Gout’ into an Internet search to discover a horde of credible scientific research papers. There are no peer-reviewed studies in medical journals about the use of vinegar as a gout treatment. As a matter of fact, there are very little research about vinegar and health.

The reason being: To scientific researchers, vinegar is condiment, a mixture of flavonoid chemicals in diluted acetic acid sitting on the kitchen shelf. When doing experimental research, scientists reach for the bottle of glacial acetic acid or use a salt made from acetic acid such as potassium, sodium, or calcium acetates.

In the human body, scientists use the words acetate or acetyl. Consequently, if you’re looking for scientific papers on vinegar or even acetic acid and gout, you won’t find any, and you will only find a few mentions about acetate salts directly relating to gout.

However, when it comes to scientific research done on acetate’s essentiality to the biochemistry of virtually all living things, there are more studies than a person can count. In fact, acetate is so important to every aspect of our being, not only do we find some form of it in our everyday diet, but also, our liver produces it by enzymatic action on fatty acids. Even in our large intestine, a family of bacteria called acetobacter produces acetic acid that enters the blood.

Acetate is essential to all our body’s enzyme functions from the brain function to DNA repair.

So, how does vinegar help gout?

There is a function that called the "alkaline tide" that happens when we eat. When the stomach produces acid for digestion, the blood becomes alkaline. This function keeps the blood acid/alkalinity level in balance. However, if for some reason, the blood becomes too acid or a metabolic disorder disrupts this function, the alkaline tide can’t make the right adjustment, and the blood remains acid.

Acidic blood tends to retain uric acid – makes it difficult for the kidneys to eliminate.

Ingesting diluted vinegar before eating will help raise the blood alkalinity. The acetate in vinegar is absorbed directly through the stomach lining and into the blood stream where the acetate converts into bicarbonate (an antacid). This increases blood alkalinity. Once the blood acid/alkalinity is normalized, the “alkaline tide” function works properly.

The “alkaline tide” in also important to normal kidney functions the elimination of uric acid.

People, for whom vinegar/acetic acid works, report relief from gout symptoms with in hours after ingestion due to the rapid rise in blood alkalinity.

The alkaline blood takes up the uric acid in a soluble form, and holds it in solution until eliminated in perspiration and urine.

Some studies done using acetate based hemodialysis show that blood acetate has a dilating effect on blood vessels, which would also aid in dissolving sodium urate crystals via increased blood flow to the affected areas.

The fact of the matter is that any old vinegar will do the trick; however, unpasteurized, naturally fermented vinegar may be more beneficial in the long-term. The reason for this being that if someone suffers with lower digestive tract problems, they might be lacking in the population of acetobacter necessary to produce acetic acid. The unpasteurized vinegar will help in the recolonization of acetobacter.

To maintain a bustling colony of symbiotic acetobacter, it is best to introduce some whole grain products/fiber into your diet, as the acetobacter love to devour fiber. The acetobacter need an adequate supply of food to produce the acetic acid that supplements our system with acetate to regulate blood acid/alkali levels and make other essential metabolic functions occur.

Once you have and maintain a thriving acetobacter colony in your intestines, you may never have another problem with gout again.

You don’t have to go to the health food store and buy expensive ‘organic vinegar’ suggested by many advocates. It’s easy enough to make your own unpasteurized vinegar. Simply open the top on a bottle of cheap wine and let it sit a few weeks – acetobacter also love alcohol.

The homemade fruit vinegar is more pleasant tasting. You can make your own by letting the fruit juice ferment in a glass, stainless steel, or food-grade plastic container for three weeks to a month. The secret is to give it a stir every few days as oxygenation makes the process happen faster.

There are plenty of wild acetobacter floating around in the air to make vinegar fermentation happen naturally; all you have to do is sit back and let nature take its course.

Then all you have to do is dilute a tablespoon or two in fluid and drink before each meal to stabilize your blood and urine acid/alkali balance throughout the day.

There are also some simple methods to get an idea whether your urine is acidic or alkaline.

One is to take about a tablespoon sample of urine and a tablespoon of water and add a pinch of baking soda to each. If the baking soda dissolves faster in the urine, it’s acidic. Also if you see bubbles forming on the baking soda, you can be assured that your urine is acidic and probably on the way to an attack of gout in the near future.

You can also buy litmus paper very cheap which will give you a more accurate reading.

If your urine is going acid, it is a good predictor of a gout attack.

I haven’t had a problem with gout for months and several large trophi on my fingers are disappearing. I’m sold on vinegar.

Right now, I figure that gout is good for a few more articles before I get bored and move on to something else.

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Mar 15, 2016
Molybdenum and Gout
by: Georgie

Although perhaps not as well known as other minerals that we profile on our website, molybdenum is a key mineral nutrient found in a variety of WHFoods and known to play important roles in many different body systems.

Our understanding of molybdenum and human health did not begin with research on humans, but on soil, water, and microorganisms. Molybdenum has long been known to play a central role in soil chemistry, and in ocean chemistry as well. Some of the most fundamental components in soil and water chemistry—including basic interactions involving carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur—are significantly impacted by molybdenum and its role in chemical events. Not surprisingly, the molybdenum content of our food is significantly dependent on the soil in which foods are grown and the water supplied during the raising of the plants (or animals).

Like all nutrients, molybdenum needs to be consumed in amounts that fall within a healthy range, and it can be problematic to consume either too much or too little.

This information came from

Mar 08, 2016
Molybdenum vs Gout
by: Anonymous

I am 79 and have had gout since my twenties. When Dr Richard Passwater Ph.D and Dr Elmer M Cranston M.D. published "Trace Elements,Hair analysis and Nutrition" in 1993 I found some very illuminating information about the potential of molybdenum (pages 209 and 210)in addressing gout. Having a lot of respect for any opinion offered by Passwater I tried Moly immediately and was able to start eating purine foods as I was really bored with white meat of chicken. The only high enough dose per tablet I have ever found is Moly-B by Carlson Labs. Very small tablets and very portable.

Aug 25, 2015
Gout sufferer but also drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Daily
by: Anonymous

I have been consuming Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) daily for at least 25 years (cheapest version from super market). I developed Gout about 10 years ago, the first time very painful, returned year after, equally painful, lasted several days. It did return occasionally, but did not last long, last few times about 1 day or so and not very painful, not like the first 2 times.
I also suffered from hypertension, when I was in Hong Kong, I did not keep up with ACV, I found my blood pressure had gone up from 140/90 to 220 over something, I forgot what was the bottom figure. I was scared and consult the doctor there and put on a pill of calcium blocker. The blood pressure was downed to just over 100/70 or figure around that. I cut down my intake of ACV from 3 table spoonful with 1/2 tea spoonful of honey to just 2 table spoonful, now my blood pressure has gone back up to 140/70 and left arm measurement sometimes was over 15 over the right arm measurement. I will increase my ACV back to 3 table spoonful again. I will probably search out for the unpasteurized version too.

Jun 12, 2014
potassium bicarbonte to cure gout
by: Charles Weber

Potassium deficiency is deeply involved in gout and high uric acid as an accentuating factor because uric acid is less soluble in acidic urine. Potassium bicarbonate supplements will reverse this. In view of the fact that this is not considered by current rheumatologists, it would be very valuable for you to bring it into your future writing. It is not only that potassium is not considered by physicians in regard to gout, many of them do not even believe that a potassium deficiency is likely. This even though many of them prescribe what are actually supplements, but prescribed under euphemistic terms such as salt substitutes, sodium free baking powder, ORT salts (oral rehydration therapy for diarrhea), polarizing solutions, GIK (glucose, insulin, potassium) salts, vegetables, or glucosamine. A deficiency is further defined out of existence by defining the blood serum content normal as 4.2 when the actual figure is 4.8. For gout, though, the chloride is not acceptable. But potassium bicarbonate powder dissolved in fruit juice or half teaspoon sprinkled on cereal will work very well. It may be obtained from businesses which add it to wine. You may see an article on this concept in . If you supplement potassium, be very certain that vitamin B-1 is adequate, because otherwise heart disease can be triggered

May 01, 2014
great research
by: Anonymous

Thanks for good research!
I am going back to the apple cider vinegar!!!

Apr 21, 2014
by: Anonymous

I've suffered from gout since 23 yrs old, so over 10 years now, other than the usual gout meds I've tried the following for gout:
1. Cherries (ate until I got sick)
2. Cherry supplements
3. Celery and celery seeds
4. Gout-friendly blended vegetables
5. LOW purine diet
6. Quit alcohol for 5+ years
7. Quit sugar - all soda, all packaged foods/snacks with sugar, cakes, ice cream and fruits (except 1 banana a day)
8. Baking soda

The only thing that worked were Cherries but the pain relief only lasts a few hours.

I've never tried Apple Cider Vinegar until today (Mother version) and it worked in 3 hours. Tested my urine with strip and my glucose, protein and pH levels are all at normal level. This hardly happens since 1 reading is always too low or high.

Though I hate myself I'm glad I finally found something that works.

My dosage: 2 tablespoons ACV + 1 tablespoon Manuka honey. I drank 2 glasses in 2 hours.

Jan 12, 2013
Gout and some cures
by: Anonymous

I've had gout for a year now. i didn't know i had it because it was in my Achilles tendon. i had pulled it once a few years back and thought it was just acting up again. In the past few days the pain in my heel went away and my big toe got an unbearable pain. i knew it was gout. My mom had gout attacks on and off for years. She used dried tart cherries to quell the gout. As it was a miracle cure for her, it did nothing for me. So i'm now looking into ACV. So far i've just taken 2 table spoons with honey twice today. the pain hasn't fully gone away, but it's feeling better then it did yesterday. i'll take some more and let you know what happens.

May 17, 2012
trying it right now
by: Anonymous

Just took two teaspoons of acv with honey and also did a plotice for 1/2 hr with hot water and acv. Been in agony for 24 hrs now and don't wish to take the meds as the side affects are horrendous.
Fingers crossed.

May 16, 2012
Uric Acid and Vinegar
by: David J Carter

This is really great information and ties in with a program that was on the Australian ABC radio national last year. It was a discussion between the presenter and Professor Charles Mackay Director of Immunology and Inflammation,Monash University,Melbourne.
If you go to the ABC web site you can listen to the discussion or download the transcript.

I’ve been able to lower my uric acid levels by taking apple cider vinegar every morning, my doc is very pleased.

It’s a pity info like this is not more readily available.

The discussion concludes as follows:

“Norman Swan: And you were going to talk about the Mediterranean diet.

Charles Mackay: Yes, what is it about the Mediterranean diet that could be so good that leads to longer life, lower incidence of certain diseases like cancer and even inflammatory diseases and probably it's a combination of things. It could be a higher intake of good food like higher fibre foods, or we think it could be short-chain fatty acid acetate or acidic acid, vinegar, and there's much more vinegar consumed in the Mediterranean than in other countries.

Norman Swan: And is there any evidence that vinegar has an anti-inflammatory effect in its own right?

Charles Mackay: Oh yes, vinegar goes back to ancient times as being beneficial for health but there haven't been many controlled clinical trials with vinegar or short-chain fatty acids.

Norman Swan: And where next for your research now that you've identified some of these molecules?

Charles Mackay:
We would really like to establish that short chain fatty acids are binding to this receptor that we've indentified which we show at least in the test tube and even in the mouse to be a very powerful anti-inflammatory. We'd love to translate that for use in humans.”
David J Carter, Queensland, Australia

Feb 05, 2012
Wow - Basalmic vinegar for gout
by: Anonymous

I used basalmic vinegar that was in the cupboard. 1tablespoon in a glass of water. I drank it at bedtime. A couple 3 hours I awoke sweating like never befor. To my complete and total amazement my gout had 90% disappeared. My wife won't believe me because she has seen me in agony for 2 weeks now suddenly with a glass of vinegar?? Well I'm scared because this has worked so well and I am skeptical. I'm the person who has spent thousands at the doctors office on gout. Steroids, Soma, pain killers, cocyl man what a nightmare and to tell me this simple glass of diluted vinegar is my cure. I'm absolutely excited.

Aug 15, 2009
Acid vs Acid
by: Anonymous

Where do I find the response to the question about acid vs acid to eliminate gout.

Aug 13, 2009
vinegar is acidic. acid is the cause of gout...
by: Traian

nice article George. However, uric acid is the cause of gout and we are giving our body another acid (vinegar) to cure it? This doesn't make sense to me. Can you explain a little more how we "fight fire with fire"?

Aug 08, 2009
Thank you for your research
by: 48yrOldMale

There are too many contradictory websites out there on treating gout. My gout attacks started 3 years ago and I've had some success, but can't seem to find a "SECRET" ingredient to keep the gout from re-appearing. I've eliminated beer, purines, and red meat almost completely from my diet, and have cut down on breads significantly yet still I sit here writing this with a very sore paw. I'm sure everyone has heard about "an apple a day...", I'm going out to buy apple cider vinegar and introduce this into my diet on a daily basis. I'll let you know how I make out.

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