Gout is a type of arthritis that can affect the joints of different body parts, most commonly the ears, hands, wrists, ankles and knees.
The prevalence of gout worldwide ranges from 0.1 percent to approximately 10 percent, and the incidence from 0.3 to 6 cases per 1,000 person-years, according to a 2015 report by Nature Reviews Rheumatology (1).
The main reason for gout is the excess accumulation of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid then collects at the joints, forming crystals that lead to inflammation and swelling.
This excess may result from the body either producing too much or excreting too little uric acid.
Uric acid is produced in the body by the degradation of purines, chemical compounds that are a main component of genetic material. Hence, high intake of purine-rich foods can be a risk factor for developing gout.
Also, high alcohol intake, obesity, too much stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, high aspirin intake, menopause and family history increase the chances of developing gout. It’s also more common in men than women.
Common symptoms of gout include acute pain, swelling, intense tenderness and inflammation in the joints. One usually experiences sudden bouts of unbearable pain usually at night or early in the morning.
Living a life with gout is not easy. The pain and inflammation in the joints can affect your daily activities. Also, gout is linked to other types of health problems, such as hypertension, diabetes and uric acid kidney stones, so it is important to treat it as quickly as possible.
Gout attacks can be controlled by including the health tonic – APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – in your diet.
How Apple Cider Vinegar is Beneficial for Gout
Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples and obtaining the juice, after which it is treated with yeast and allowed to ferment. The long fermentation process allows for the accumulation of a layer of slime composed of yeast and acetic acid. This collection of enzymes and protein molecules is known as the “mother” of vinegar.
Acetic acid forms the main component of apple cider vinegar, and it has the power of increasing the absorption of vital minerals from the diet. It also contains vitamins C and B, enzymes and potassium.
It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can be useful for gout.
Here are some of the ways apple cider vinegar is beneficial for gout.
1. Aids Detoxification
Being a natural cleanser and detoxifier, apple cider vinegar can help remove waste like uric acid from the body. A high uric acid level is the main cause of gout and can also cause oxidative stress.
The malic acid in apple cider vinegar helps break down and eliminate uric acid.
At the same time, the vitamin C in it is known to be a powerful antioxidant. It can be used to reduce the antioxidant enzyme and free radical imbalance.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Membrane Biology reports that apple cider vinegar induced a protective effect against erythrocyte, kidney and liver oxidative injury, and lowered the serum lipid levels in mice fed high cholesterol, thus suggesting that it possesses oxidative stress scavenging effects (2).
2. Increases Urine pH Level
Urine pH is normally slightly acidic in nature and, under such conditions, uric acid excretion from the body through urine is low. So, alkalizing the urine is a simple way to increase the amount of uric acid removed from the body.
The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar makes it effective at increasing the pH level of urine.
A 2010 study published in the Nutrition Journal reports that alkalization of urine by eating nutritionally well-designed food is effective for removing uric acid from the body (3).
3. Fights Obesity
Obesity can increase the chances of developing gout, and weight loss can help reduce the uric acid level.
A 2010 study published in Rheumatology followed more than 12,000 men between the ages of 35 and 57 for seven years. Researchers found that compared to those with no weight change, those who lost a significant amount of weight (around 22 points) were four times more likely to have decreased their uric acid levels (4).
To lose weight, apple cider vinegar is effective. It can help reduce body weight and body fat mass effectively.
In a 2016 study published in the Annales de Cardiologie et d’Angéiologie, researchers studied the effects of apple cider vinegar in rats eating a high-fat diet and found that the vinegar made the rats feel full more quickly, leading to weight loss (5).
4. Has Anti-Inflammatory Action
Increased inflammation in the body can worsen the symptoms of gout. So, a treatment plan should include steps to reduce the inflammation level in the body.
Apple cider vinegar is an effective anti-inflammatory agent, and hence can fight gout symptoms.
Animal studies have highlighted the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of apple cider vinegar. However, studies on humans are still lacking.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Gout
Well, apple cider vinegar is an effective natural treatment for gout and you can use it in different ways. But to reap the benefits, one must always buy raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar can be used both internally and externally to fight the symptoms of gout.
For Internal Use:
Apple cider vinegar with water
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of lukewarm water.
- Add a little honey and lemon juice and mix well.
- Drink it 2 or 3 times a day.
Here, taking the apple cider vinegar with water is important, as it works as a simple step to prevent dehydration. Dehydration makes pain worse. Drinking more fluids also helps the body flush out toxins and uric acid.
You can also add apple cider vinegar to cherry juice, which is effective at fighting inflammation.
Apple cider vinegar with baking soda
When used with baking soda, apple cider vinegar helps alkalize the body by balancing the pH levels. This in turn provides relief from the pain and irritation caused by gout.
- Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
- Stir well and drink it 30 minutes before your meal.
- Repeat once or twice daily.
Note: Be sure not to take it on an empty stomach if you won’t be eating soon, as it can cause stomach upset or other uncomfortable side effects.
For External Use:
Apple cider vinegar wrap
- Soak a cloth in warm apple cider vinegar and wring out the excess liquid.
- Wrap the cloth around the painful area.
- Cover it with plastic wrap and an ACE bandage.
- Do this every night before going to bed.
Apple cider vinegar spray
You can fill a spray bottle with raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, then spray it onto the gout-affected area. To make the treatment more effective, keep the spray bottle in the refrigerator. The cold temperature will numb the nerves of the affected area, which in turn will help reduce the pain.
Apple cider vinegar frozen cubes
- Fill an ice cube tray with raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and freeze it.
- Wrap the frozen cubes in a thin towel
- Apply the compress on the gouty area for 5 minutes at a time.
- Repeat as needed.
Apple cider vinegar soak
The enzymes and acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can relieve the pain and swelling when used as a soak.
- Pour 1 cup of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 4 cups of hot water into a large bowl.
- Stir well and soak the affected joint in this water for about 30 minutes.
- Do this once or twice a day.
Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar for Gout
Anything taken in excess all of a sudden can lead to certain side effects, and apple cider vinegar is not an exception. If you are not used to taking apple cider vinegar, then it is recommended to start with a lower dose like 1 or 2 teaspoons and gradually increase up to 2 tablespoons a day.
Do not take apple cider vinegar in excess as it can lead to side effects like lowering blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, headaches, nausea, dizziness and an overall unwell feeling. If you experience such side effects, reduce the amount of apple cider vinegar you are taking internally and put more focus on external application.
- To manage the pain, you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, steroids and the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine.
Prevent future flare-ups by losing weight. Excess weight is one of the risk factors for gout.
- Avoid foods that may trigger gout like foods high in purines that include red meat, organ meat and seafood.
- Limit alcohol intake, particularly beer and hard liquor.
- Get physically active. Walk, swim or bike 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
- Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Limit sweetened beverages, especially those sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.
- Get your protein from low-fat dairy products.
- Supplements containing vitamin C may reduce the levels of uric acid in your blood.
- Always consult your doctor before taking supplements.
- Include cherries in your diet, as cherries have been reported to lower levels of uric acid as well as reduce the number of gout attacks.