Ouch! Have you ever experienced a gout attack? They are nothing to mess around with and can cause intense pain. Gout flares can disrupt a person’s everyday life due to the pain they cause.
According to a survey completed by the Alliance for Gout Awareness, 1 in 4 gout sufferers looks for a natural remedy for gout 4. One of the remedies that people with gout may hear about is cranberry juice, but does it work and is cranberry juice good for gout?
Unfortunately, there is no scientific research to prove that cranberry juice will help manage gout. Let’s dive into what is gout, why cranberry juice isn’t a proven gout treatment, and what treatments are proven to work for gout.
What is Gout?
Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis. It is caused by too much uric acid in the body which is referred to as hyperuricemia. Uric acid is produced by the body and used to break down purines found in the body and in food. When hyperuricemia occurs and there is too much uric acid. These crystals made of uric acid accumulate in the body’s joints, fluids, and tissues; and are what causes gout.
Gout affects the joints and causes pain in the affected joint. The big toe joint is the most commonly affected joint but gout can also affect the joints of the knees, ankles, feet, hands, wrists, and elbows. Signs and symptoms of gout include pain, swelling, redness, and/or heat in the affected joint.
Gout Prevalence, Statistics, and Risk Factors
The prevalence of gout is 1 – 4% worldwide 1. In the United States, approximately 8.3 million people are living with gout 2. It is more prevalent in men, the elderly, and racial minorities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several factors could increase your chances of developing gout such as,
- Being Male
- Congestive Heart Failure
- High Blood Pressure
- Diabetes / Insulin Resistance
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Poor Kidney Function
- Certain Medications (example: diuretics)
- Drinking Alcohol
- Consuming Food and Drinks High in Fructose
- Consuming a Diet High in Purines (red meat, organ meat, anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, tuna) 3
Is Cranberry Juice Good for Gout?
Currently, there is no evidence that consuming cranberry juice is good for gout. There has not been enough scientific research that cranberry juice is an effective method to help manage gout. More research is needed to be able to determine if cranberry juice is a good option for gout sufferers.
Although cranberry juice has not been proven to help with gout, some research studies loosely link cherries and cherry juice to aiding in the management of gout. There is not an abundance of evidence to support the use of cherries and cherry juice but there is some 7,8,9. More research is needed to investigate the association between cherries and gout.
How Does Cranberry Juice Affect Gout?
At this time there is no research as to how cranberry juice affects gout. There have been studies related to the effectiveness of cranberry juice on uric acid production related to kidney stones. In 2005, a small research study concluded that cranberry juice increased the risk of uric acid stone formation 5.
In 2019, another small study found that cranberry supplements caused participants to have greater levels of oxalate and increased the risk of kidney stones 6. Although these studies were focused on people who suffer from kidney stones, there could be a connection to gout.
How to Treat Gout?
Even though cranberry juice has not been proven to aid in gout management, there are other treatment options available. Treatment options will depend on if you are currently having a gout attack or if you need everyday gout management and prevention. Medication and lifestyle changes are the most recommended treatments for gout.
1. Medication to Prevent Gout Attacks
Using a daily gout prevention medication may be your best option. These medications help by either decreasing uric acid production or improving uric acid removal. Common gout prevention medications are allopurinol and uloric. These medications require a doctor’s prescription.
2. Medications to Help While You are Having a Gout Attack
Taking prevention medication will not help if you are currently having a gout flare. If you are having a flare there are a few medication options that your healthcare provider may recommend.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be recommended to help reduce pain. Colchicine or Corticosteroids may be recommended to aid in decreasing inflammation and pain. Both Colchicine and corticosteroids require a doctor’s prescription.
3. Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent Gout
There are lifestyle changes that can help prevent gout attacks. Limiting beverages with alcohol and/or fructose is recommended. Drinking plenty of water helps the body flush out excess toxins. Avoid consuming foods high in purines such as red meat, organ meats, anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna. Exercising and losing weight will also help reduce the risk of gout.
When Should You Consult a Doctor?
If you think you may be having a gout attack make an appointment with a healthcare provider right away. Don’t hesitate because once a gout attack is in full gear it can be very difficult to treat. Make sure to reach out to a healthcare provider at the first signs of a gout attack.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
Technology has now allowed patients to connect with healthcare providers quicker than ever before. At DrHouse you can connect with a board-certified doctor in as little as 15 minutes.
This is convenient when it comes to getting medical treatment faster. You need fast medical treatment when it comes to a gout attack.
With DrHouse you could see an online doctor in less time than it takes you to cook a meal or take a shower. You won’t even have to leave your house. This will save you time and allow you to get quick treatment for your symptoms and medical concerns.
Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis and is caused by too much uric acid in the body. Gout can cause intense pain.
There is no strong scientific evidence that cranberry juice helps with gout. The gout treatment will depend on if you are currently in a gout attack or not. There are prevention medications and medications to help during a gout flare-up.
Make sure to seek medical treatment at the first signs of a gout attack because they can get worse and can be difficult to treat as they proceed.
- 1. Singh, J. A., & Gaffo, A. (2020). Gout epidemiology and Comorbidities. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, 50(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.semarthrit.2020.04.008
- 2. Zhu Y, Pandya BJ, Choi HK. Prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia in the US general population: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2008. Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Oct;63(10):3136-41. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/art.30520. PMID: 21800283.
- 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, July 27). Gout. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved June 30, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html
- 4. National Survey of Patients’ Attitudes Toward Gout. Alliance for Gout Awareness. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2022, from https://www.goutalliance.org/gout-guides
- 5. Gettman, O. Kenneth, L. Brinkley, M. Pearle (2005). Effect of cranberry juice consumption on urinary stone risk factors. Journal of Urology, 174(2), 590–594. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ju.0000165168.68054.f8
- 6. Redmond, E.J., Murphy, C.F., Leonard, J. et al. The influence of dietary supplementation with cranberry tablets on the urinary risk factors for nephrolithiasis. World J Urol 37, 561–566 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00345-018-2344-1
- 7. Pei-En Chen, Chia-Yu Liu, Wu-Hsiung Chien, Ching-Wen Chien, Tao-Hsin Tung, “Effectiveness of Cherries in Reducing Uric Acid and Gout: A Systematic Review”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2019, Article ID 9896757, 7 pages, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/9896757
- 8. Singh JA, Bharat A, Edwards NL. An internet survey of common treatments used by patients with gout including cherry extract and juice and other dietary supplements. J Clin Rheumatol. 2015 Jun;21(4):225-6. doi: https://doi.org/10.1097/RHU.0000000000000246. PMID: 26010189; PMCID: PMC4974079.
- 9. Zhang Y, Neogi T, Chen C, Chaisson C, Hunter DJ, Choi HK. Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Dec;64(12):4004-11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/art.34677. PMID: 23023818; PMCID: PMC3510330.
- 10. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, March 6). Gout. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 30, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372903