Where Do Supplements Fit In, In a Gout Diet?
Dietary Supplements are defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 11994 as “a product taken by mouth that contains a “dietary ingredient” intended to supplement the diet. Dietary ingredients can consist of the following substances: vitamin, mineral, herb or other botanical, concentrate, metabolite, amino acid or an extract. Dietary supplements are typically comprised of natural ingredients which obviously makes them less likely to cause any negative side effects compared to gout medications like allopurinol or colchicine for example.
I take plenty of dietary supplements every single day, from vitamin D, mostly in the winters and because I live in Canada where the sun rarely shines in wintertime, Milk Thistle for my liver, Apple Cider Vinegar to balance pH and avoid heartburn, Digestive Enzymes to aid the digestion process, Tart Cherry Extract to keep uric acid levels healthy ( because we don’t have fresh cherries year-round) and some other supplements that help supplement my gout diet.
And that is the key my dear gout sufferers! Gout diet and food should be first. Supplements should never replace a good healthy gout diet and be a food substitute. Supplements will never replace all of the nutrients and health benefits of whole foods. Think of supplements basically as plugins for your nutrition gaps in your gout diet. Food contains not only vitamins and minerals but fiber, phytochemicals that work together to promote good health that simply cannot be duplicated with a pill or cocktail of supplements!
But when you have a condition like we gout sufferers do and food sometimes falls short and doesn’t include essential nutrients then a supplement can help close the gap and provide the nutrition your body and/or condition like gout requires. Truth is supplements can help prevent deficiencies that can contribute to chronic conditions. Furthermore, plenty of studies have shown the health benefits of supplementing missing nutrients in the diet with dietary supplements. But the key is always to think food first and then supplement the gaps!
What Supplement to Choose for Gout?
At the end you need to take note of your dietary habits and see if you are avoiding any entire food groups. Take dairy for example, if you are not eating any dairy then it’s wise to supplement with a calcium and vitamin D for your shortfall on dairy. We gout sufferers need to supplement on fighting to get those uric acid levels healthy, so naturally a cherry supplement can help maintain healthy uric acid levels for many, some more than others, of course the severity of one’s gout plays a big role as well.
Tart cherries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins which is what gives cherries that distinct red color. In addition, tart cherries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins 1 and 2, which help to block pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. For more evidence and studies on gout and cherries make sure to read my post on the subject. Cherries have been shown in studies that they may lower levels of uric acid, as well they may reduce the number of gout attacks. There have also been other gout studies examining dietary supplements like vitamin C and skim milk powder that you can check out.
When choosing a supplement there some things to consider. Firstly, try to pick a supplement that has been manufactured in a FDA compliant facility that follows “Current Good Manufacturing Practices”, you may notice the little logo on a bottle “cGMP”, this means that your supplement has been inspected and approved by the FDA. It also means that the supplement has gone through many tests for accuracy, potency and make sure the product is free from any contamination.
When buying supplements it is always best to choose vegetarian capsules made from cellulose instead of gelatin which are actually made from the organs and tissues of animals. Yuk! Besides gelatin may raise uric acid levels since it’s animal-based. Make sure that the supplement bottle clearly indicates the manufacturer name and contact info. Usually the ones that hide their contact info, are hiding something else as well! Make sure the labels are informative and provide accurate information.
Like any prescribed drugs, sometimes dietary supplements can also have side-effects but they are rarely as severe as medications. If you do experience a negative reaction to dietary supplements be sure to stop taking it immediately and contact your doctor. Dietary supplements, which are not regulated by the FDA, are marketed as a solution or preventative measure for a number of disorders including uric acid, or to supplement nutrients lacking in your diet. To safely receive the health benefits of taking dietary supplements, always consult with a physician before taking any supplement to help avoid negative side effects.