If you or someone you know has gout, you know that it’s not fun.
You’re familiar with that burning pain in the foot.
For many people, an attack can be crippling.
Luckily for people with gout, this is not a constant pain.
But it flairs up from time to time.
Unfortunately, over time, attacks become more frequent, and the intensity of pain gets worse.
Right now, the common medical theory is that too much uric acid in the blood causes gout.
So, most gout treatment involves doctors telling patients to avoid foods that cause uric acid production.
This includes avoiding meat, seafood, and alcohol.
These foods are high in a chemical called purines, and purines are what increase uric acid.
But could there be something else that causes gout, or triggers gout flare ups?
Some research suggests an alternative.
One thing to note, gout is technically a form of arthritis. Its official name is “Gouty Arthritis.”
Some researchers have noticed that patients with all forms of arthritis tend to have elevated iron stores.
And that includes gout patients.
In fact, elevated iron is common in most long-term degenerative diseases.
So, does excess iron in the blood cause gout, does it trigger attacks?
This study examined that question.
This study involved 12 patients who had active gout flare ups.
Researchers questioned them about the number of attacks they had over the previous two years.
After screening, the patients received a physical that included testing the iron levels of their bodies.
All the patients had iron levels that were considered high.
So, the researchers lowered the patient’s body iron levels.
They did this by performing blood donations.
Since blood is very rich in iron, this is a very reliable method to lower iron in the body.
Using this method, the researchers lowered iron levels to near deficiency.
This almost deficiency means the patients were not anemic, but they also did not have any extra iron in their bodies.
Lowering body iron stores to this level can take from six to twelve months, depending on how high iron levels started.
After achieving the near iron deficiency levels, researchers monitored the patients to ensure iron levels stayed at this level.
They monitored the patients for three years.
So, what effect did this have on attacks of gout?
You might be surprised to know that it reduced the number significantly.
Two years before the study, patients had 53 attacks.
The year before, 48.
In the first year of the study, that number dropped to 32.
In the second year, the number of attacks fell to 11, and in the third year, there were only SEVEN attacks.
Just on its own, this is a significant improvement.
However, patients that did have gout flare ups also noted that the attacks were less severe as time went on.
While a small study, the results suggest that reducing iron load can significantly improve symptoms and attacks of gout.
Now, how can you apply this information in your own life?
First, you can donate blood if you are eligible.
It is a great way to lower iron, is very safe, and will help someone who needs a transfusion.
You can also structure your diet to be lower in iron.
Eggs and milk are not only low in iron, but also have substances that lower iron content in the body.
Aspirin can also lower iron stores in the body.
If you have really severe gout attacks, you should talk to your doctor about your iron levels.
You want to ask for a full iron panel that includes the marker ferritin.
And remember, in the study, the patient’s iron level was kept at the low end of the normal ferritin range.
You want to keep the numbers low, but you also want to avoid anemia.
So, be sure to work with your doctor if you are aiming for this range.
Iron is a necessary mineral for the human body but too much iron can cause hemochromatosis, which can cause health issues like diabetes, heart failure and arthritis. Gout is usually caused by an increase in the uric acid in the body and is a sign of iron overload in the body. Health issues like iron overload is usually a genetic one, but sometimes is also caused by liver disease or because the individual might have had repeated blood transfusions. The inability of the human body to excrete the extra iron naturally leads the body to store the uric acid in areas like the liver, heart and sometimes, even the testicles. In time this may lead to severe conditions like joint pain, fatigue and sexual dysfunction. The rise in the uric acid in the body which is the principal reason for gout is also related to cardiovascular disease. The usual high levels of uric acid are more than 7 mg/dl in men and over 6 mg/dl in case of women.Balance of the iron levels in the body is very important since it is essential for metabolism and the flow of oxygen in the blood vessels of the body. Though this information is not too well known, anemia is a condition which is a risk factor for gout. Elevated uric acid levels in the body are also related to liver and kidney malfunction. The best ways to prevent an increase in the iron levels in the body is doing a bloodletting or in other words, think of doing a blood donation. The accumulation of iron happens more slowly in women than in men, since most levels of iron are excreted through menstruation and breastfeeding. The levels of high uric acid in the body can result from purine-rich diet such as mutton, turkey, duck, goose or veal which are too much protein oriented, so exploring more vegetarian foods in the daily diet is a great way to control uric acid levels.
2. Does iron deficiency anemia and gout affect each other?
Anaemia is a condition where the production of red blood cells falls into the body, thus causing blocks in the supply of oxygen in the body. The bone marrow also makes less of haemoglobin, which makes the body starve for oxygen. Gout is an inflammatory condition where uric acid builds up in the joints, bones and tissues. This can cause physical conditions like stiffness, swelling and pain in the body joints. The high levels of uric acid in the blood is usually caused by several factors which include a rich purine diet, genetic predisposition and any problems with the excretion of urate ( Uric acid salts). This inflammation that is caused in the joints and tissues can affect the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow, especially erythropoietin, which is usually known as the core hormone that controls the production of red blood cells. Anaemia can cause physical conditions like Headaches, pale skin, Cold hands & feet, tiredness and shortness of breath and can be fatal.The core steps to controlling the build-up of uric acid in the blood include reducing the intake of red meat and seafood and integrating more vegetarian based food into the daily diet. Vitamin C is also important in balancing the uric acid levels as well as reducing the intake of sugary or high fructose laced foods. Limiting the intake of alcohol and including exercise into the daily regimen to counter obesity are some of the simple steps that can be taken. Thus gout and Anaemia can be very much related, especially when it comes to the red blood cells production.