You probably know that inflammation is part of dealing with arthritis. Most arthritis treatments focus on relieving inflammation and pain. But they don't get to the root cause of either the inflammation or the pain. Fortunately, researchers may have found a way to reduce the inflammation by getting at its root cause. And, in the process, they found a way to help with gout as well.
I first wrote about gout over 20 years ago, hardly anyone knew about the “disease of kings.” If I mentioned it to someone, they would look at me like I had lost my mind. “Major pain in your big toe? Never heard of something so silly.” But today, there are commercials on TV about gout.
Like arthritis, gout is a highly painful and often disabling condition. It hits when uric acid crystals form in your joints. This creates an intense immune reaction, as your white blood cells rush to the area to try to wipe out the invading crystals. This immune reaction can cause a lot of damage to your joints. Uric acid crystals also can accumulate in your kidneys creating stones.
Most people don't associate arthritis and gout. But they have very similar symptoms. And this gives us some insight into how we should treat both of them.
If you have gout, your doctor likely has told you to cut way back on meat. That's because meat and other rich foods contain chemicals called purines. Normal metabolism converts these purines into uric acid. But in gout, the process accelerates. So it's vital you slow this process down. And, according to a recent study, it's quite easy to do so.
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The fact that meat is involved in gout gives us a clue as to how we should treat gout. And, no, you don't have to avoid meat. There's a lot of research out that suggests meat is bad for you. They say it can cause colon cancer (and other cancers), heart problems, and even dementia. But I've written before that meat isn't the problem. The problem is a lack of fiber. Fiber helps keep the meat moving through your digestive tract, keeping it from causing these health problems.
But fiber does something even more important. It also feeds the good bacteria in your gut. So if you're not eating enough fiber, your gut bacteria is starving. And your digestive tract isn't working properly. It doesn't digest meat well enough, allowing it to cause trouble – including gout and arthritis.
This means that if you suffer from arthritis or gout, check your fiber intake. Researchers confirmed that fiber can help when they studied its effect on mice. They injected the knees of mice with monosodium urate crystals. Then they fed the mice a high-fiber diet. The researchers found that the fiber was able to keep the crystals from damaging the knees of the mice, keeping their inflammation low, and their knee function normal.
What I love about this information is that it helps you treat inflammation, arthritis pain, and gout without a pill. All you have to do is eat more fiber. I try to include fiber in my morning smoothie, but there's another great tasting way to add more fiber. I love snack bars. Most of them either don't have enough fiber or they have too much sugar or they taste terrible. But I've finally found a tasty snack bar that's low in sugar and has lots of fiber. Bhu Bars give you extra fiber to help keep your gut bacteria healthy. They taste great. And, they fill you up. I asked a friend to try them and he said he was surprised at how well they satisfied his appetite. So if you have any joint pain, give Bhu Bars a try. They won't fix the pain and inflammation overnight. Over time, though, they might just ease both.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND