Too Much Salt Should Be Avoided in a Gout Diet

Although little research has been done on the subject of salt and/or sodium in regards to gout, it is important to discuss this popular ingredient that is in almost all of our foods. What sodium does in the body is it binds water and maintains intracellular and extracellular fluids in the right balance. The truth of the matter is we humans can’t live without salt but the fact is that most fruits and vegetables have all the sodium we need in them already.

All we really need is about 500 mg of sodium daily, although the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1500 milligrams a day. Yet the average intake of sodium in North America is about 3400 mg, most of it coming from processed foods. Yes I know some of you can’t eat certain foods if they are not salted but again don’t be a glutton, add salt in moderation and make sure it is not table salt but sea salt; salt that comes from the sea.

Table salt has been heated up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and is refined and removed from its’ most healthy and natural elements, 84 natural minerals to be exact. Table salt found in grocery stores is mostly chemical sodium chloride, a man-made substance produced from crude oil flake leftovers, so do me the favor and only use sea salt from now on; you’re simply poisoning yourself with table salt.

I like to sprinkle some sea salt in my salad and steamed vegetables like broccoli but other than that I barely use any salt. I get most of my sodium intake naturally through fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I noticed with time if you cut out the salt in your diet, your taste buds eventually get used to it and you don’t crave it or want it.

Tart Cherry Extract for Gout

Studies on Gout and Salt Consumption

A study published online June 18, 2012 in Circulation did indeed conclude that salt consumption including sea salt is directly linked to uric acid levels. Serum uric acid and urine albumin excretion tend to rise over time, as people get older. Albumin is a protein and should be reabsorbed in your blood and not be passed out in your urine. If your kidneys are damaged or diseased, albumin may leak into your urine.

This is one of the earliest signs of kidney damage is albumin in your urine. “Those who had a high salt intake compared with low salt intake were at a higher risk of hypertension if they had higher levels of urine albumin excretion and serum uric acid,” lead author of the study Dr. John P Forman. As the body cannot dispose of uric acid, it binds itself with the sodium chloride to form new crystals that are deposited directly in the bones and joints.

This is the cause of different kinds of rheumatism such as arthritis, gout, and kidney and gall bladder stones. Research published in the January 2002 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine states that lowering salt intake significantly reduces the recurrence of kidney stones in gout sufferers. For those who have a health issue like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and kidney stones which may be related with gout too, a low sodium diet is very important not to worsen those conditions.

Processed salt may also cause you to gain weight by constipating you and causing you to retain water. Furthermore, the chemical compounds in refined table salt are designed to be addictive. The taste of table salt fools your body into believing it’s getting minerals and nutrition. When it realizes it still lacks these minerals, you crave it even more! I recommend you only consume sea salt, Himalayan sea salt or NoSalt which is a salt substitute made of potassium but tastes just like salt. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how important potassium is to the gout sufferer in lowering uric acid levels.

Gout and the Dash Diet

A recent 2016 study from the American College of Rheumatology which appeared in Arthritis & Rheumatology found that a high-sodium based salt intake effectively lowered uric acid levels. What? The DASH diet as it is called emphasizes a diet high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, no saturated fat, no sugary beverages and low consumption of meats, like red meat, poultry etc…

Now let me ask you this? You’ve been reading this site for a while now. What do you think the real reason the subjects of this study dropped their uric acid levels? What is really the higher salt intake? Come on man! It was the other stuff, the reduction in meat intake and the increase in complex carbohydrates like vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts etc…So one must be careful not to be deceived. The salt here takes too much credit, in my opinion, and if you start eating more sodium/salt in your diet, you may end up with other health problems like high blood pressure, so don’t do it! There is more then enough natural salt in vegetables for example for your body’s ideal intake. You don’t really need more salt then that and unfortunately this study gives salt all the credit. Too bad… now many will be led astray.

Gout and Epsom salt

Finally, many gout sufferers have used this popular natural remedy to treat the pain and inflammation of a gout attack with Epsom salt (not to be used in food) which gets its name from a town in England called Epsom. It is distilled from a bitter saline spring and is not actually salt but rather a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulphate.

Both magnesium and sulphate can be absorbed through the skin. Epsom salt has the ability to relax muscles, reduce swelling, relieve pain, fade bruises, remove toxins, softens the skin and for gout sufferers it also increases the secretion of uric acid through the skin according to those who’ve experimented with Epsom salt.

You can find Epsom salt at Costco or online. As a foot bath for the gout affected joint, add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water. Relax and soak feet for 20 minutes. You can do this once a day until the gout symptoms fade away. Some people add a cup of apple cider vinegar too.

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    15 replies to "Gout and Salt"

    • Joseph

      I personally often need to take more Real salt. When I quit salt and drank only distilled water, my BP got too low and I felt woozy. After taking some real salt, this went away in minutes. When I stopped over eating fruit, I lost water weight, and with it, I lost sodium and potassium, and for weeks I had to take 1 to 2 or more teaspoons of real salt in my food. I still salt my whole unprocessed foods freely with real salt, and couldn’t see stopping that. Real salt when mixed with whole foods, is very healthy and it makes my BP normal.

    • Bonnie

      Dehydration & too much protein is the reason for gout. Get any book by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj.
      Im 200lbs it took 3 days of drinking 12cups of water with apx 1/4 teas of sea salt before I even started to pee it out. If salt doesn’t take away gout pain its because your extremely dehydrated!

    • Jean-Pierre Roy

      Je ne sais où vous avez pris le fait que le sel de table était un sel de pétrole… mais aucune documentation d’aucune sorte n’existe à cet effet. Oui ce sel est fait par forage, pas de de forage de puits de pétrole, mais de forage de mines de sel d’anciennes mers : le sel gemme. Oui il est transformé en usine, mais aucun sel n’est créé en usine. Si vous avez une telle documentation, dites-le-moi , ça me fera plaisir de la lire.

    • Dustin

      I can attest to the salt intake causing problems. and a warning I recently signed up for freshly food delivery in it says on the box that it’s about 600 mg of salt per meal, which turns out to be about 28% of your recommended daily allowance. Even though they explain this away that it’s only a percentage of your daily allowance, this seems to affect my gout issues and causes more issues with peripheral neuropathy. Just wanted to warn everybody that salt is not your friend.

    • Rebecca Eveland

      To my best knowledge, my first attack occurred exactly one week ago. My husband thought I was faking pain. **Onto Sea Salt: I will never go near sea salt. Depending on where it is collected, there can be up to 78 different “elements” contained within it, some of them quite toxic. Sea Salt is on the Top-5 list to avoid if one has migraines. I have chronic migraine – same headache since 1984, with huge pain spikes – so avoid sea salt like the plague. I use kosher salt and table salt. (Table salt for Iodine to avoid goiter, which my mother suffered from.) Thank you for the plethora of information.

    • Dalibor Pavlík

      Oh yes! The same happened to me this morning. I am using chicken meat stock to heal my gut. But this morning i had a severe gout attack. I started to have problems to walk. I can hardly manage my life without the stock. But now I think I know think i know the cause. Thank you Nicola, thank Spiro.

    • Patsy Goodnough

      I recently ate a whole pound of Boiled shrimp. About a week later I had (first time ever)Gout in my right big toe. I love shrimp but will give it up if this caused the Gout. Will you tell me if shrimp caused the Gout?

      Bye the way, I am 77 years old with many health issues.

      • Spiro Koulouris

        Hi Patsy!

        Yes shrimp and all seafood are one of the main culprits that cause gout and elevate uric acid. Avoid them at all costs!

    • Nicolas

      I usually put hardly any salt at all on my food (barely a pinch)
      Last night I got a huge craving and ate a lot (As much as McDonald’s put on their chips to make you drink more)

      24Hrs later my big toe joint started to hurt and I’ve had no purines at all since about 5 days – and very little before that.

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    • Andrew

      is iodied salt best for gout, as it has potassium

      • Spiro Koulouris

        Hi Andrew!

        Sea salt is the preferred choice. If you are eating a healthy, balanced, varied diet, you’re probably getting enough iodine and don’t need to use iodized salt.

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