More than 8 million Americans suffer from gout—about 4% of the nation’s population.
The buildup of urate crystals in the joints can cause inflammation and intense pain in the hands, feet, ankles, and wrists.
Since there’s no cure, there’s also no shortage of remedies—some medical, some homemade—that people suffering from gout have been willing to try.
One popular home remedy is cranberry juice.
It’s long been rumored to alleviate the pain associated with gout.
But does it really work?
The evidence is scarce.
In this article, I’ll explain whether cranberry juice can help with gout, and outline some home remedies that may be more helpful in reducing gout flare-ups.
I’ll also talk about when you should see a doctor about your gout symptoms.
How Cranberry Juice Affects Gout
Gout attacks are caused by the buildup of uric acid in the joints, often beginning with the big toe.
When uric acid cannot be passed through the kidneys and the urine, it accumulates as crystals in the joints.
This buildup leads to painful swelling, redness, irritation, and limited mobility in the joints.
There are many treatments for gout, including diet and lifestyle changes.
Cranberry juice has been rumored to help with gout, but there are no clear-cut studies supporting the use of cranberry juice to reduce gout attacks.
Cranberry juice does have health benefits for other conditions, such as boosting the effectiveness of kidneys.
Cranberry pills have been recommended to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Gout sufferers might see better results from a different red fruit: Cherries.
A study found that cherry intake resulted in a 35% lower risk of gout attacks compared to no intake at all.
When the fruit was combined with allopurinol (Zyloprim), the risk of flare-up was down 75%.
Scientists believe this could be because eating cherries is associated with lower levels of uric acid in the body.
However, this was a small study that was not randomized so it does not conclusively prove that eating cherries prevents or reduces gout, and does not confirm the amount of cherry that should be added into your diet.
Different At-Home Treatments for Gout
Many of the at-home remedies that have been used to alleviate gout for centuries are still recommended by doctors and healthcare professionals today.
Don’t discount these dietary and lifestyle changes to effectively treat or prevent your gout attacks.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Your overall health and lifestyle can contribute to gout flares.
Joining a gym, walking, or doing YouTube workouts may help alleviate your gout, by decreasing uric acid levels in the blood
Diet has been blamed for gout attacks for centuries.
A diet that’s high in purines, the chemicals that are metabolized into uric acid, can cause gout flares.
Historically, gout was referred to as “the disease of kings” because a diet heavy in foods that contain purines一alcohol, organ meats, sugar一could only be afforded by the wealthy.
Carrying extra weight, especially around the belly, can exacerbate gout attacks.
Excessive fat is associated with insulin resistance, making it harder for your body to excrete uric acid.
One study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology found that overweight people are 3.5 times more likely to have extra uric acid than people of a normal weight.
Extra weight makes it more difficult for your kidneys to release waste products, like uric acid.
Choosing a low-purine diet can lower uric acid levels and prevent a gout attack.
However, a fast or detox diet is not recommended.
There is no scientific evidence for fasting or detox diets and they will not help clear uric acid from your diet more effectively.
When you’re dehydrated, uric acid cannot be diluted and excreted through your kidneys.
Water can effectively help flush out uric acid from your body.
In addition to drinking more water, stay away from sugary drinks, fruit juices,, or soda.
Stress causes your body to produce less pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
Pantothenic acid helps to break down food into energy and may help in the metabolism of uric acid as well.
Even if minor daily stresses may not trigger an attack, long-term stress may contribute to gout flare-ups.
Structure some natural stress relievers into your daily routine.
Guided meditations, yoga routines, and deep breathing exercises can all alleviate stress.
Getting extra sleep may also have a positive effect on your gout attacks.
When to See a Doctor
You should see a doctor or healthcare professional at the first sign of gout.
Gout can advance to other joints in the body if not treated early on.
Gout can also develop into tophi bumps, which are hard bumps found underneath the skin.
If your gout pain becomes severe or lasts longer than 10 days, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia in the US general population: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2008. (2011).
Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. (2012).
Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women. (2003).
Effect of cranberry juice consumption on urinary stone risk factors. (2005).
Obesity, Drinking & Unhealthy Diet Add to Gout Risk. (2019).
Population Impact Attributable to Modifiable Risk Factors for Hyperuricemia. (2019).