How many times have you said or heard someone say they can’t participate in a certain activity because of bad knees or a bad back or shoulder?

Probably more times than you can count.

While most people associate joint pain and stiffness with age-related inflammation and cartilage breakdown, otherwise known as arthritis, there’s another cause of these discomforts that isn’t nearly as well known — gout.

What is Gout?

Gout occurs when you have high levels of uric acid that causes crystals to deposit in joints and tissues, resulting in swelling, stiffness, and pain.

Uric acid is made during your body’s metabolism of purines, which are made by the body. Purines are needed, as they’re the building blocks of your DNA. However, some people make too much purine or their kidneys can’t get rid of it efficiently.

In addition to being made by your body, there are also food sources of purines that many people eat on a daily basis. Foods and drinks that are high in purine content are organ meats, bacon, beef, pork and lamb, anchovies, scallops, and beer.1 Purines from your diet are converted into uric acid.

Should You be Concerned about Gout?

You’re almost 10 times more likely to have gout if your blood uric acid levels are above 9 mg/dL.2 Increased uric acid can be genetic,3 but men and post-menopausal women produce more uric acid so they’re at a higher risk.

So even if you don’t have high uric acid levels, but you have a family history or fit one of the two high-risk groups, it’s best to take precautions.

Natural Strategies to Lower Uric Acid

It’s highly encouraged that you first change your diet and lifestyle — limit meats, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages, drink more water, consume low-fat dairy products, and exercise daily. These changes are necessary for managing uric acid levels, but they might not be enough, so you may benefit from adding the following:

Terminalia bellerica

Recent research has shown the ability of a fruit extract called T. bellerica to support uric acid balance. It works by inhibiting two enzymes that play a role in the metabolism of uric acid, xanthine oxidase (which converts xanthine into uric acid) and iNOS (which causes joint inflammation). Subjects who had high blood uric acid who took 500 mg of T. bellerica twice daily reduced their uric acid levels by an average of 27.59% without any of the side effects associated with drug therapy.4

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has also shown to block the enzyme xanthine oxidase5 and may help support kidney function6 (which is essential for getting rid of excess uric acid). A review of 13 studies showed that taking an average of 500 mg vitamin C per day resulted in a 0.35 mg/dL decrease in blood uric acid levels.7

Tart Cherry

Tart cherry has been growing in popularity as it has been shown to help with exercise recovery and ease post-workout soreness. However, cherry extract has also exhibited the ability to protect against gout attacks by lowering uric acid and inflammation.8


As if you need another reason to enjoy your daily cup (or cups) of “joe”— coffee contains polyphenol antioxidants that may play a role in its ability to reduce gout risk. Two large studies, one with 89,433 women and the other with 45,869 men showed that those who consumed more than four cups of coffee a day had the largest reductions in gout risk. Women had a larger decrease when they consumed caffeinated coffee, but both women and men also showed uric acid improvements with decaffeinated coffee.9,10

The Bottom Line

Elevated uric acid can cause gout-related joint pain, but it’s also associated with other health issues like cardiovascular disease,11 diabetes,12 and stroke.13

As such, there’s no better time than now to start making lifestyle changes or supplementing with nutrients likeTerminalia bellerica, vitamin C, and cherry extract!

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  1. Available at: Accessed February 22, 2016.
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  4. Rani U, Kishan P, Chandrasekhar N. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, parallel-group study to evaluate the effect of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellerica and Febuxostat in patients with hyperuricemia. Publication pending.
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