Bromelain, quercetin, and vitamin C eased pain and prevented flareups in gout sufferers during several studies. Gout--the sudden pain, often in the ankle, big toe, heel, or instep of the foot--is the result of a toxic build-up of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid, needle-shaped crystals that are the combination of a type of salt and ammonia, is the byproduct of digested proteins such as red meat and seafood.
Ideally, uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes out of the body through the kidneys and urine. But excess uric acid can collect in the joints and tissues, activating the inflammatory process that causes pain.
Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme derived from pinaeapples that helps alleviate pain during a gout attack. Quercetin is a plant-based antioxidant that reduces uric acid levels in the body that is most effective as a preventative. Bomelain helps the body absorb quercetin, and nutritionists suggest taking these two nutrients together. Vitamin C helps the body excrete (pass) uric acid. In a recent two-month, double-blind trial, 184 non-smokers took either 500 mg of vitamin C per day or a placebo. By the end of the study, uric acid levels were significantly lower in the vitamin C group compared to placebo group, leading reserachers to recommend vitamin C for preventing and managing gout. Although doctors do not know what causes gout, risk factors include family history, elevated triglyceride (bad fat) levels, weight-gain, consuming excess alcohol, and eating purine-rich foods such as anchovies, kidneys, liver, shellfish, and sweetbreads.
Source: Arthritis and Rheumatism: 2005, vol. 52, No. 6, 1843-7.
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