Gout and Dairy
Researchers have known for years that dairy foods may help increase the excretion of uric acid in the body. Dairy foods include everyday goods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Orotic, a chemical found in milk, may aid in the removal of uric acid by the kidneys.
In addition, it has been suggested that dairy products may help to prevent the development of gout. This is because the milk proteins casein and lactalbumin have a “uricosuric impact.”
Because of this, milk products have recently gained recognition from the medical community. They are thought to play a significant nutritional role in lowering the likelihood of developing gout.
Existing gout sufferers should also consume dairy products to regulate their illness.
Gout is a kind of inflammatory arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. These crystals commonly cause redness, discomfort, and swelling in the joints and tissues around them, particularly in the lower limbs.
While some foods are thought to make gout worse, others, like dairy products, may help lower the chance of getting gout and lessen the number of “attacks” that occur.
What Is Orotic Acid?
Orotic acid is a dietary supplement ingredient that has been shown to boost vitamin B12 and folic acid absorption and metabolism. The chemical is a metabolite that may raise muscle carnosine levels, speed up workout recovery, and boost muscle mass development in athletes and bodybuilders.
Orotic Acid was once thought to be a component of the Vitamin B complex and was known as Vitamin B13. However, contemporary clinical research has revealed that Orotic Acid serves an important role as a vitamin and mineral carrier, hence it is no longer classified as a vitamin. Along with Xanthine, the chemical is utilized in the treatment of liver dysfunction.
Some research suggests that milk ingredients such as orotic acid, casein, and lactalbumin may help minimize gout flare-ups by boosting the amount of uric acid excreted by the kidneys.
Other substances found in milk products may also aid in the reduction of acute gout inflammation and flare-ups. One review paper’s authors advised eating low-fat or nonfat dairy products like yogurt and skim milk.
Milk and Milk Product Varieties
The health aspects of milk are dependent on the individual and the type of milk consumed. Many people can benefit from pasteurized milk that is high in protein, low in fat, and free of needless additives.
Some flavored milk, on the other hand, has the same amount of sugar as a can of soda. These are not healthy options.
Cow’s milk today is not just one thing. There are various options, including fresh or long-life, fat-free, lactose-free, fortified with extra omega-3s, hormone-free, organic, or raw.
The Health Benefits of Milk
The minerals in milk have numerous health benefits for the body. The unique health advantages of milk are covered in further detail in the sections below.
- Bone Health: Milk is good for your bones because it includes calcium and vitamin D. In fact, it may help prevent osteoporosis.
- Heart Health and Blood Pressure: According to the American Heart Association (AHA), higher potassium consumption and a lower salt intake help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Depression: Adequate vitamin D levels promote the synthesis of serotonin, a hormone linked to mood, hunger, and sleep.
- Brain Health: According to several studies, older persons who consume more dairy products have higher levels of glutathione, a strong antioxidant, in their brains. Adults who drank three servings of milk and milk products per day had antioxidant levels that were roughly 30% greater than those who drank less than half a serving per day.
- Weight Loss and Muscle-Building: Milk is a good source of protein, with roughly 8 g per cup, which is required for repairing body structures and maintaining or building lean muscle mass. People who want to lose weight should drink skim or low-fat milk and keep track of their overall daily calorie consumption if they drink full-fat milk.
Examining Milk’s Effects on Urate Levels
In observational studies, consumption of dairy products has been linked to a decreased risk of gout. The mechanism underlying this protective effect, however, is unclear.
Furthermore, the link could be related to health behaviors associated with milk consumption. This includes factors such as improved overall health and less consumption of alcohol and red meat, as opposed to milk itself.
To address these concerns, researchers undertook a study to examine the effects of a randomized controlled trial of milk consumption on serum urate levels.
The following milk types were given to healthy male volunteers at random:
- soy milk (control group);
- early season skim milk;
- late season skim milk;
- or ultrafiltered MPC 85 skim milk.
The participants were all healthy male volunteers with normal renal function and no history of gout.
Late-season skim milk was chosen because ultrafiltered milk has low levels of orotic acid, which is thought to be a uricosuric. The protein content of the products was similar (80g).
Blood and urine samples were collected before intake as well as 60, 120, and 180 minutes thereafter. Each study subject returned for four total study visits, during which time each remaining milk product, which was randomly assigned, was consumed.
Soy had the highest quantity of purines and the lowest concentration of xanthine oxidase among milk products. The enzyme xanthine oxidase catalyzes the conversion of insoluble urate to more soluble compounds. Late-season skim milk had the lowest uric acid and the greatest orotic acid levels.
Soy milk consumption was linked to a 10% increase in serum urate. In contrast, all the kinds of milk were linked to a 10% decrease in serum urate across the three-hour trial interval.
Overall, the uricosuric action of intact milk may mediate the finding of a gout-preventive benefit of dairy consumption.
Drinking Milk to Help Fight Gout
According to the Arthritis Foundation, drinking low-fat milk not only lowers uric acid levels and the risk of a gout flare but also promotes uric acid elimination in your urine. This is true for all low-fat dairy products, so you can enjoy a refreshing frozen yogurt as well.
Low-fat dairy products to consider including in your diet include:
- Low-fat or fat-free milk
- Yogurt with reduced or no fat
- Cottage cheese with reduced or no fat
There are also low- or no-fat versions of popular cheeses available, such as:
- Cream cheese (Neufchatel)
When buying fat-free dairy, check the label to be sure it contains dairy and is not a substitute. Check for ingredients that may have an effect on other conditions. Some fat-free yogurt brands, for example, have more sugar. Some fat-free cheese brands have greater salt.
Dairy Consumption Has Been Associated with Decreased Gout Rates
Milk products have been related to a lower risk of gout and hyperuricemia (high levels of uric acid in the blood). A systematic review and meta-analysis published recently found that increasing dairy consumption reduced the risk of gout and hyperuricemia.
Participants in a 3-month clinical experiment observed significant reductions in gout attacks after consuming a dairy-derived product (either lactose, skim milk powder, or a customized, enriched skim milk powder).
Certain processes have been postulated to explain dairy’s anti-gout benefits.
- In addition to having a naturally low purine content, milk may help encourage the kidneys to excrete uric acid. It is thought that orotic acid and milk proteins (casein and whey) may be to blame for this advantageous characteristic.
- According to preliminary research, milk may also have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the body’s immune response that triggers the flare-up.
A Closer Look at Dairy Products
Milk and dairy products are regarded as foods that are high in nutrients. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), among other health organizations, suggests consuming dairy products on a daily basis because of this.
However, there is conflicting scientific evidence regarding whether dairy is healthy or harmful, and these labels conceal complexities.
With more than half of the world’s population experiencing difficulty digesting dairy, you may be wondering if you should continue to consume it. Let’s take a closer look at dairy products and how they may affect your health.
What Is a Dairy Product?
Dairy foods are those made from or containing the milk of mammals such as cows, sheep, goats, or buffaloes. Dairy goods such as ice cream, butter, ghee, cream, sour cream, cream cheese, whey products, and casein are included, as are foods such as conventional and lactose-free milk, yogurt, cheese, and kefir.
Dairy products are made using a variety of processes and procedures, as you might expect. This improves the attributes they want to have. Using liquid milk as an example, semi-skimmed, skimmed, evaporated, or powdered milk may be produced through processing.
To produce lower fat, condensed, or dried versions of milk, this technique entails partially or completely eliminating water or fat.
Furthermore, vitamins and minerals can be added rather than removed, as in fortified milk. Milk is frequently pasteurized due to its short shelf life. This is a heat treatment that minimizes the number of unwanted bacteria that may ruin the product or provide health risks to users.
Casein, one of milk’s primary proteins, is coagulated and separated from milk’s whey to create other products, such as cheese. On the other hand, fermented foods like yogurt and kefir are made by boosting the acidity of milk with the help of good bacteria.
Dairy Products Have Health Benefits
Makes Your Bones Stronger
Your bones mostly consist of calcium, and the best source of calcium in the human diet is dairy. Dairy hence has several benefits for bone health. In fact, health experts recommend taking 2-3 servings of dairy per day to have enough calcium for your bones.
Dairy consumption has been linked to increased bone density, a decreased risk of osteoporosis, and a decreased risk of fractures in older persons. However, dairy products are not the only food that contains calcium. Kale, leafy greens, legumes, and calcium supplements are examples of non-dairy calcium sources.
However, research shows that calcium isn’t the sole element contributing to dairy’s benefits for bone health. Protein and phosphorus are also components of dairy products. To achieve maximum bone mass during skeletal growth and to prevent bone loss as you age, some of both is necessary.
Lowers the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity
For decades, researchers have been studying the function of dairy products in human health. However, the research on dairy consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) remains contentious and inconclusive.
Around 463 million persons worldwide have type 2 diabetes (T2D), a number that is anticipated to rise to 700 million by 2045. T2D affects 1 in 11 adults worldwide, which raises serious public health concerns. T2D risk factors include advanced age, race/ethnicity, obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, and sedentary lifestyle in addition to genetic and environmental factors.
A study using data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study found that increasing total dairy intake by one serving per day reduced the incidence of T2D by 9%. As a result, they determined that dairy consumption was related to a slightly decreased incidence of T2D.
Nevertheless, dairy products have been shown to have a variety of effects on the body. Dairy products may assist improve body composition by decreasing fat mass, increasing lean body mass, and decreasing waist circumference. The benefits are multiplied when paired with a low-calorie diet.
May Help Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
To decrease saturated fat intake and lower the risk of heart disease, current dietary guidelines recommend adopting low-fat dairy products. However, new research reveals that saturated fat from dairy may not be as bad for your heart as saturated fat from meat. This is due to the fact that the fatty acid profiles of dairy and beef differ.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are examples of dairy foods that are high in calcium, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They may, however, include harmful fats such as saturated and ruminant trans fats.
When it comes to the influence on heart health, not all dairy products are created equal. It is critical to evaluate the sorts of dairy foods you consume and the influence they may have on your health.
The Heart Foundation advises including milk, yogurt, and cheese in a heart-healthy diet, but emphasizes that the majority of the diet’s fat should come from fish, nuts, and seeds, as well as heart-healthy oils.
Limiting the amount of added sugar in your diet can also be accomplished by selecting unflavored milk, yogurt, and cheese.
The Evidence That Dairy Lowers Gout Risk
There is plenty of evidence to prove this. In a 2011 study that examined the evidence of the effects of dairy products on hyperuricemia and gout observing the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) and the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), the researchers found that in both studies the decreased risk of gout development was primarily linked with low-fat dairy products!
On the contrary, high-fat dairy products were not linked with the risk of gout. The data also suggested that dairy products may have a protective effect against gout, especially low-fat dairy products.
In a follow-up study in 2012, the researchers conducted a 3-month study with 120 gout patients who suffered from recurrent gout flares. The gout patients were divided into three groups.
The first group was given lactose powder. The second group was given skim milk powder. Finally, the third group was given skim milk powder enriched with glycomacropeptide and G600 milk fat extract.
What was observed was in all three groups there was a decrease in the frequency of gout flares. However, there was a considerable drop in group 3 compared to all other groups. The fortified skim milk powder was given to this group! The third group saw greater pain relief as well as decreased joint stiffness!
Cow’s milk has been found to have an acute urate-lowering effect since it’s low in purines and it may reduce the activity of xanthine oxidase, the enzyme involved in the production of uric acid.
Furthermore, cow’s milk has anti-inflammatory properties that may help you during a gout attack.
A 2004 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also concluded that dairy increases the excretion of uric acid and decreases the development of gout. Foods included milk, cheeses, and yogurt.
A 1991 study that studied milk and soy consumption also found that uric acid levels decreased as quickly as after 3 hours of consuming milk! Ain’t that something? Unfortunately, for soy milk lovers, it did not have the same effect and soy actually increases uric acid levels but only slightly.
Finally, drinking 4 cups of milk a day may decrease gout risk by up to 40%! Try to drink one glass of milk daily. A study of about 15,000 Americans who drank a glass of milk daily for a minimum of 6 years had a significant improvement in their uric acid level of about 25 mg/dl lower on average!
In the same study, folks who ate all kinds of cheese also experienced lower uric acid levels. Also, note yogurts with live cultures in them like probiotics are also good for your gut bacteria where up to 1/3 of uric acid is dissolved.
Whatever the case, dairy products should be included in a gout diet.
Meat and Seafood vs Dairy Products
In a previous study, US researchers monitored nearly 50,000 men over a 12-year period to investigate the link between gout and certain meals. The guys completed questionnaires about their eating habits and medical problems at regular intervals. The males who ate more meat and fish had a higher risk of gout, whereas those who ate more dairy products had a lower risk.
Those who ate more than 1.9 servings of meat per day, for example, had a 41% higher risk of gout than those who ate less than 0.8 servings per day. An extra serving of meat per day increased the risk by 21%.
In terms of dairy consumption, individuals who had more than 2.88 daily servings had a 44% lower risk of gout than those who took less than 0.88 daily servings; an extra daily dosage of dairy lowered the risk by 18%.
The Importance of Lifestyle Adjustments to Treat Gout
Gout may typically be managed, and flare-ups avoided by combining suitable medication prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional with a healthy lifestyle adjustment. Additionally, it may stop the disease from worsening, averting potential side effects such as chronic joint deterioration or kidney impairment.
Gout lifestyle guidelines include frequent physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight. Diet is very crucial for gout management since the purines in our meals affect the uric acid levels in our blood. A nutritious, well-balanced diet is recommended for overall health advantages.
In addition to broad dietary adjustments, gout prescriptions particularly target specific items. Purine-rich foods and beverages, for example, sugary beverages (particularly soft drinks), alcohol, shellfish, and some fatty fish (sardines and mackerel), red meat, and organ meat such as liver, should be avoided.
Conversely, certain foods, such as dairy, have been linked to lower gout risks and fewer gout flare-ups.
Gout and gout flare-ups may be caused by having too much uric acid in your system. Low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat milk, may help lower uric acid levels and assist uric acid excretion in your urine.
If changing your diet isn’t helping you manage your gout, consult your doctor. They may recommend drugs in addition to other lifestyle adjustments to help.
As always, I recommend you do not consume more than 10% of your daily calories as dairy. Why? Because it’s animal based and takes longer to breakdown and strains the kidneys just like meat based foods. So figure about 200 calories a day, to eat some cheese, drink a glass of milk or have some Greek yogurt. As you can see here, moderation is the key! Of course, dairy has other health benefits and should not be totally avoided.
While the jury is still out on the precise role of diet in hyperuricemia and gout, it appears that general dietary recommendations for a healthy diet may also help prevent high uric acid levels in the blood—an important risk factor for not only gout, but also kidney and cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. As always, prevention is always better than cure.