How to Lower Your Risk for Gout

The food pyramid and gout, natural treatments, naturopathic doctor Michigan

Many people have had an episode of gout or know someone that has. Gout is a common type of arthritis that is caused by an increase in uric acid concentration in the blood. This leads to urate crystals that are deposited in joints, tendons, kidneys, and other tissues throughout the body. Sudden, red, tender and painful joints at the base of the big toe are characteristic of gout.

 

Uric acid is a break down product of purines. Purines are found in the body as well as in certain foods. Typically, the uric acid will dissolve in your blood, be filtered through your kidneys and eliminated in your urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys do not excrete enough, then the uric acid can build up producing urate crystals in joints and/or tissues causing severe pain and discomfort known as gout.

 

Risk Factors:

  • Diet: high purine and high fructose diet
  • Low water intake
  • Obesity
  • Family history of gout
  • Age and sex: Men and postmenopausal women
  • Medical Conditions: High blood pressure, diabetes,
  • metabolic syndrome, heart and kidney disease
  • Medications: Thiazide diuretics used to treat hypertension and low dose aspirin can raise uric acid levels.
  • Recent surgery or trauma

Gout is typically diagnosed based on a joint fluid test, where fluid is aspirated from the joint and visualized under a microscope looking for urate crystals. Blood tests are frequently used but can be misleading. A high uric acid level in the blood does not mean you have gout and a normal value does not mean you do not have gout. X-rays, ultrasound, and dual energy CT can be used to visualize the presence of urate crystals in the joints. Conventional treatments for gout include NSAIDS, Colchicine, and steroids.

Even though prescription medication is a vital part in the treatment of gout, there are many holistic adjunctive ways to support the body naturally. Lifestyle modifications, botanical medicine, and nutrition can help decrease your risk for a flare. Lower the amount of alcoholic beverages and high purine foods you consume, as well as, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly will help decrease gout attacks. Coffee, Vitamin C and Cherry juice have all been researched for lowering uric acid levels. For more information on how you can decrease your risk for gout, contact Dr. Nicholas Morgan and Dr. Lanae Mullane at The Center for Integrative Wellness.

The food pyramid and gout

Foods High in Purines (According to John Hopkins)

Very High

  • Hearts
  • Herring
  • Mussels
  • Yeast
  • Smelt
  • Sardines
  • Sweetbreads

Moderately High

  • Anchovies
  • Grouse
  • Mutton
  • Veal
  • Bacon
  • Liver
  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Kidneys
  • Partridge
  • Goose
  • Haddock 
  • Pheasant 
  • Scallops

Methylation Polymorphisms are more Complicated than MTHFR

Methylation Cycle Management Michigan Naturopathic Doctor

(warning this is a very technical blog entry for those that are familiar with MTHFR)

I love reading about the methylation cycle and methyl tetrahydrofolate
reductase (MTHFR) polymorphisms. MTHFR along with some other enzymes
in your body are responsible for transferring carbons. Carbons are necessary
for building everything in your body from DNA and neurotransmitters to
proteins, fats, and cell membranes. They are also vitality important for
proper detoxification. No wonder MTHFR variations are related to diseases
like:
Autism
Addictions: smoking, drugs, alcohol
Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder
Fibromyalgia
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Atherosclerosis, Heart Attack, Stroke
Multiple Autoimmune Diseases
Unexplained Neurologic Disease
Asthma
These are only a fracture of diseases related to how well your body utilizes carbons from your food at the cellular level.

Methylation Management, Functional Medicine, Holistic, Integrative, Nauropathic

Unfortunately working with people that have MTHFR polymorphisms is often over simplified. As you can see from the picture above there is much more to it than testing for a single MTHFR variation followed by supplementation with methylated folate aka methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). Also supplementing with methylated folate is not completely benign because some of the conditions above are associated with an over abundance of carbons which is called over methylation. Therefore taking methylated folate can make some people feel worse. 5-MTHF also effects gene expression by down regulating your post synaptic neurotransmitters receptor sites.

 

Folate is not the only vitamin (co-factor) used in the Methylation Cycle. Other vitamins like B6 and B12 play vital roles as well as minerals like zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Also genes like Methionine synthase reductase (MTRR), Cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS), S-adenosylhomocysteine synthase (AHCY), and S-adenosylmethionine synthetase (MAT) all encode enzymes that effect how well your body transfers carbons.

 

The good news is that there is a test that looks at the SAM/SAH ratio to determine your methylation status. This test actually looks at what’s going on with your methylation in real time instead of trying to guess based off of symptoms and genes. What does this all mean? Treat the person and what they’re presenting with and not just genetic results. Inflammation and environmental exposures will completely disrupt methylation in a person with no polymorphisms. Meanwhile a person with multiple polymorphisms with few environmental exposures and a great diet might not need any intervention.

 

With all this said if you are chronically ill you might have disrupted methylation. Is it the chicken or the egg? It depends on the person and their clinical presentation. That is why it is important to have a knowledgeable physician working with you that says more than here take folate because you have a MTHFR polymorphism. To learn more call for a free 10 minute consult. Otherwise I recommend following researchers/clinicians like Drs. William Walsh, Amy Yasko and Benjamin Lynch.

Improving Sleep Naturally

Insomnia natural treatments, naturopathic doctor Michigan

Insomnia natural treatments, improve sleep, naturally, sleep

A peaceful night’s sleep is important for allowing the body to reset. While you are off in dreamland, your body is hard at work fixing and repairing vital functions throughout the whole system. Lack of sleep can disrupt your life in more ways than one. Your brain relays on sleep to form new pathways for learning and memory. A night of poor sleep can interfere with your ability to make decisions, cause “foggy brain”, disrupt emotions and behavior. The brain is not the only thing affected by poor sleep, obesity, immune health, hormones, blood pressure, growth and development all depend on a good night’s rest.

 

There are numerous causes that contribute to insomnia. Anxiety, sleep apnea, poor sleep hygiene, caffeine consumption, and low blood glucose levels are just a few culprits. Botanical’s such as chamomile or Valerian tea an hour before bed can help relax the nervous system for people that tend to be slightly anxious at bedtime. Physical medicine, such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) and biofeedback breathing techniques can also have overwhelming benefits to calm the body and mind. Medical interventions, such as, sleep studies and CPAP devices may also be necessary.

 

At The Center for Integrative Wellness, Dr. Morgan and Dr. Mullane take an individualized approach to all their patients. After reviewing and discussing a thorough intake form of your history, they will problem solve to find the holistic solution for getting you a good night rest.