The connection between gout and your liver
In this post we will examine the importance of your liver as it relates to your gout. Your liver plays a critical role in metabolizing your uric acid before your kidneys can pass it out of your body and through the urine. If either your liver or kidneys have any problem processing the amount of uric acid produced by your body, then uric acid will build up inside causing you gout. It’s no coincidence that gout, alcohol and your liver all interrelate. Many of you first developed gout due to too much alcohol consumption and now your liver doesn’t metabolize your uric acid properly causing this problem.
Did you know that up to 30% of the adult US population have fat in their livers which is called “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease” or NAFLD for short? 5% will have fat and inflammation which is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH for short. The causes for NAFLD and NASH are not fully known but we do know that insulin resistance and oxidative stress in the liver are significant factors. And other clinical conditions that are linked to fatty liver are diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea (the usual culprits) and gout! So it’s important to have a healthy liver to properly metabolize your uric acid. There is a strong association between serum uric acid levels and chronic liver disease in the United States. Many people who never suffered from gout before but have a liver transplant are more prone to develop gout afterwards as well.
The liver’s primary role in the body is for detox by taking in blood from your digestive system and filtering out all of the toxins like alcohol as well as any byproducts of medication like allopurinol or colchicine, so they can be excreted. It also helps maintain proper blood sugar levels and energy levels throughout the entire body by breaking down fats for your body to use. Amazing stuff! Here’s some advice if you want to keep a healthy liver:
- Eat properly as outlined in my ebook making sure that the majority of your calories are complex carbohydrates like high fibre vegetables and some protein but make sure it is lean.
- Avoid alcohol completely if you can but if you want some in your diet make sure to limit it to a couple a week max. I rarely drink nowadays but you don’t want to look stupid at some wedding when raising your glass for a toast to the bride and groom.
- Don’t forget to exercise, it doesn’t only help you outside but inside as well helping your organs get rid of those toxins from your system.
- Avoid these “liver cleanse” scams where you don’t eat any food for a few days and usually just drink some disgusting beverage to supposedly rid your body of toxins. The liver is a self-cleansing organ, that’s what it does.
Which foods are good to maintain a healthy liver?
There are many foods that can help cleanse the liver by stimulating its natural ability to rid toxins from your body. Eating the following foods is the best way to keep your liver healthy and functioning properly for a long time.
- Garlic: Just a small amount of garlic can activate liver enzymes to help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also has high amounts of allicin and selenium which are two compounds that may aid in liver cleansing
- Green Tea: One of my favorite teas, it is full of antioxidants known as catechins which is a compound that may improve liver function
- Grapefruit: This fruit may help your liver flush out carcinogens and toxins. It’s also high in vitamin C and full of antioxidants which may help us gout sufferers.
- Beets: I love beets! My wife boils them and adds olive oil and some balsamic vinegar and they taste great! Try it! I love my apple cider vinegar with everything else but with beets balsamic is the way to go. Beets are high in plant flavonoids which stimulates and may improve proper liver function.
- Leafy Greens like romaine or dandelion: I eat leafy greens almost every single day. They have the ability to neutralize chemicals, metals and pesticides that can be inside our foods offering a protective mechanism for your liver. Try arugula, chicory, spinach, dandelion, lettuce, bitter gourd, kale, whatever else you can find.
- Avocados: Recently wrote an entire post about them, by adding more avocados in your diet, it will help your body produce a antioxidant called glutathione needed by our liver and may help filter out dangerous toxins.
- Lemons: My father-in-law always tells me how he squeezes a lemon every single day in a tall glass of water to aid the digestion process and you know what he’s right! But they also stimulate the liver and are high in vitamin C too!
There’s many more foods that will help keep your liver healthy and they include carrots, turmeric which stimulates the production of bile to help your body digest fats and acts as a natural form of detox for our liver. Walnuts which contain omega-3 fatty acids and glutathione help support our livers as well and there are many more.
What I recently found in my local health food store is a liver detox tea made from a local company and its ingredients consist of uva ursi leaf, horsetail herb, marigold petal, blackcurrant leaf, rosemary leaf, artichoke leaf, licorice root and milk thistle seed. I strongly recommend that you also try and find liver detox tea in your local health food store or Amazon.com and add it to your gout diet. A healthy liver is very important for us gout sufferers.