The acid test - Gout treatment
by George Glasser
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.