What causes gout exactly?

Gout is developed once there is too much uric acid in the blood, a condition known as hyperuricemia. Uric acid is a waste product that comes about when the body breaks down chemicals in the cells known as purines. If your kidneys can’t fully remove all excess uric acid passed out through your urine to leave your body, then you got a problem.

That problem is the uric acid will crystallize into microscopic crystals into your joints or surrounding tissue and voila! You have a gout attack! The affected joint is inflamed and you suffer from intense pain. Gout attacks often hit you in the joints of your feet or hands because that’s where the temperature is often lower than the rest of your body.

Usually it strikes the big toe but sometimes it may include your knees, elbows, ankles, thumbs or fingers. Because men’s uric acid levels rise during puberty and remain higher than women throughout adulthood, gout occurs about three to four times more often in men than in women. Women are more prone to gout after menopause, and it is rare that gout occurs in children and young adults.

So what are some of the risk factors?

Some of the factors that can increase your risk of developing gout are usually medical conditions, lifestyle factors and your genes! Medical conditions that can increase uric acid levels in your body and that have been discussed in previous posts in this website include high blood pressure (hypertension) so make sure to keep low at all times and eat foods that raise your HDL (good cholesterol).

Having high levels of fat and cholesterol in your bloodstream (hyperlipidemia) can wreak havoc to your health. Diabetes both types 1 and 2 increases your risk of developing gout, again watch your sugar intake and completely eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet. Suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis in your feet, knees or hands may increase the likelihood of the development of gout later on.

Tart Cherry Extract for Gout

What you have to do dear beloved is watch what you eat, follow a good diet. You can learn what a good diet should consist of in my ebook Gout and You: The Ultimate Gout Diet & Cookbook where I discuss the philosophy of what has consisted of a good diet and I back it up as always with studies from the medical community, no latest fly-by-night diets like Paleo or Atkins that will kill you before your time!

Furthermore, gout may also occur in the presence of some tumours or cancers. Chemotherapy can trigger a gout attack! So can leukemia and did you also know that exposure to lead in the environment may also cause gout? Lastly, a joint injury or even a surgery may cause uric acid levels to rise out of nowhere and cause you a gout attack.

Finally, people who suffer from blood conditions and thalassemia like I do (I suffer from a mild form of thalassemia and is the cause of my gout) are also at risk of developing gout. It’s a big list of potential people that can develop gout, let me tell you!

Medications that can cause gout

Next up you got a long list of medications that can increase your risk of developing gout and a lot of these medications are related to the medical conditions mentioned above. First up, diuretics or water pills which are used to treat high blood pressure can trigger gout as well as other drugs used to treat high blood pressure like beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors.

Niacin which is used to treat high cholesterol is on the list as well. For those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and take the drug cyclosporine are at risk of gout too! Levodopa which is used to treat patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease has also show to increase the risk of developing gout. Even taking a low dose of aspirin often may lead to gout. Those patients that have heart issues and their doctor advises they take aspirin on a daily basis, tread carefully.

Diet can cause gout

Next up is diet and boy is it important. Why do you think gout has been rising so fast since the 1970s and is even moving faster in the past few years? One word only. Diet. We are eating more meat than ever, we are eating more sugar than ever and we are eating more refined carbs more than ever!

Eventually something has to give and your health begins deteriorating. Check out my ebook for a more extensive conversation about diet and list of foods to avoid but foods that are high in purines include meat such as beef, lamb and pork; seafood such as any type of shellfish and organ meats like liver, kidneys and heart.

The list includes sugary drinks which include high fructose corn syrup in them. Now you understand why obesity increases the risk of developing gout. I was obese when I first developed gout, I was 50 pounds overweight! I used to drink Coca-Cola like it was water! Did you know that crash diets and fasting may also trigger a gout attack? Doing this may suddenly spike your uric acid levels in the blood. Dehydration may also be a cause of gout, so make sure to always drink plenty of water and stay hydrated during hot days or when physically active.

Alcohol is also a widely known cause of gout since it interferes with the excretion of uric acid and alcohol also contain purines, especially beer!

Finally, genetics also plays a role in causing you gout. Roughly 1 in 5 gout sufferers have a family member who also has the condition. There you have it; a comprehensive list of gout causes.

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    8 replies to "Causes of Gout"

    • Hans Bakker

      Dear Spiro,

      Thank you for your extended site on gout. I’m a 57 year old man and gout sufferer since 1.5 years. I’m a nurse anesthesiologist but refuses to take medicine. I’m convinced urate levels are not the cause of gout they merely are the signs of it. However one study under japanese men showed high levels of urate don’t occur in japanese men with gout underlining my statement.

      Moreover the first occurence with me was a red swollen shining skin of the big toe but no arthritis occurred. So I thought the doctor was making a joke, but it was inflammation and passed away after 24 hours. Urate was risen 1 point above normal.
      This skin issue puzzled me and after reading some articles about gout and hormones my attention was drawn toward Testosterone. This is lowered in all patients with gout also in the japanese men. Testosterone genes are in part junk DNA and form a system together with ALPK1 gene comorbidity with ABCG2 and Q141K genes which promote urate transport.

      If APLK1 expression rises , testosterone lowers and vice versa. Testosterone levels lower inflammation and leukopenia in Gout , it lowers proinflammatoir cytokines and inhibit the activity of Th1 cells, monocytes that might grow into granulocytes producing chemotaxis seen in Gout.

      If ALPK1 is more active, the positive effect of testosterone is lowered , inflammation cytokines will rise Th1 Cell s will be more active TNFalpha rises, as well as TGFbeta giving rise to Chronic kidney disease, Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes . Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

      So I was closing in. Another factor in Gout is also risen: homocystein. Higher levels of this substance for a longer period of time damages all kind of cellular systems and has become a significant marker for Chronic Kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. The levels of homocystein are also higher in all gout patients.

      Alcohol is metabolized to ethanol using huge amounts of vitamin B6 , B 12 and folic acid which are lowered in most Gout patients and essential in the Homocystein cycle. This is why alcohol use increase the risk for having an attack.

      Now I don’t want to use medicine due to their very Yang effects and lack of inhibiting factors which is important because every biological system is using them.
      I have the philosophy that the ocurrence of a disease is the result of disturbing homeostatic balances changing epigenetic factors to consolidate it into a new homeostasis. Medicine will not improve this situation and fort hat the pharmaceutical industry will benefit of not curing patients. They earn a lot of money on chronically ill patients.

      So I started a survey on naturally herbs:
      One in particular was very interesting and is used in Aryurvedic medicine it is called indian Ginger or Ashwagandha. It was used in arthritis which you will end to, if you have badly treated gout.

      But the benefits are far more and the latest studies provide anti-gout properties, a little less effect in lowering uric-acid then with allopurinol ( 72% instead of 91%) as well as protective kidney properties by lowering inflammation , lesser atherosclerotic effects etc. It also rises testosterone levels improves ATP producting which lowers fat percentage and improves homocystein levels.

      I am now starting my treatment with 3x a day 400mg of Aswagandha, vitamin B-100 ( 100 x the MBD) daily, CuZnSOD , and a diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids.

      I’m really curious about this and will let you know if any attack occurs.

      Friendly regards,
      Hans Bakker

      • Spiro Koulouris

        It’s all very interesting Hans, please keep me updated and thank you for your feedback!


    • […] Different causes of Gout […]

    • Gio850

      I have a theory of why going vegan may help people to lose weight but may cause gout in doing so.
      Going vegan helps people to lose weight because they are eating “low calorie dense foods” which means they get full on less calories.
      Gout is a condition of too much uric acid in the blood where the kidneys can’t remove it fast enough.
      The logic behind traditional gout diets is that if you eat “low purine dense foods”, you will not consume as much purine.
      But what if you eat more often on a vegan diet so as to consume as much energy from veggies as you would get with meat? Then how much purine are you consuming compared to if you were not vegan?
      Perhaps what counts is how much purine you need to ingest to obtain the amount of energy you need. In other words, purine per calorie density instead of purine per food volume !!!
      For me, bakers yeast or tuna fish will create a gradual buildup of uric acid in my blood over several days before I feel gout pain. But since I turned vegan, I lost weight for a while but then started eating more so that my weight hit a plateau. And now I have chronic boarderline gout levels of uric acid in my blood so that many foods that I could eat occasionally before, will now trigger gout pain.
      So I’m thinking that I may need to either start eating mostly fruit, or go back to a balance of meat and veggies, instead of this strict vegan diet.

      • Spiro Koulouris

        The evidence from what studies I present to my audience on different posts clearly shows that the best diet for a gout sufferer is a diet where the majority of your daily calories are consumed as complex carbohydrates or vegan as you say. The more meat/protein you consume the more you will suffer, the scientific evidence is clear about that. See my posts on Gout Diet, the Chinese Singapore Study and many more.

    • […] What are the causes of gout? […]

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