September 29, 2012
Eating Cherries Could Be Good For Gout
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Eating cherries may lower your risk of a certain type of inflammatory arthritis attack, according to a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism.Researchers found that patients with gout who consumed cherries over a two-day period showed a 35 percent lower risk of having attacks compared to those who did not eat the fruit.
The scientists recruited 633 gout patients for the study, and followed them for a one year period. Participants were asked about the date of gout onset, symptoms, medications and risk factors.
The participants had an average age of 54-years-old, and 88 percent of them were white and 78 percent were male.
Of the subjects who reported cherry intake, 35 percent ate fresh cherries, 2 percent ingested cherry extract, and 5 percent consumed both cherry fruit and cherry extract.
Researchers documented 1,247 gout attacks during the one-year follow-up period, with 92 percent occurring in the joint at the base of the big toe.
"Our findings indicate that consuming cherries or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack," said lead author Dr. Yuqing Zhang, Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Boston University. "The gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days."
The researchers found that further cherry intake did not provide any additional benefit, but its affects depended on a patients' sex, body mass, purine intake, alcohol intake, diuretics and anti-gout medications.
Prior studies have shown that cherry products have urate-lowering effects and anti-inflammatory properties. Gout is an inflammatory arthritis triggered by a crystallization of uric acid within the joints that causes pain and swelling.
The study found that the risk of gout flares was 75 percent lower when cherry intake was combined with uric-acid reducing drug, allopurinol.
Although the findings are promising, researchers wrote in an editorial that they would not advise patients who suffer from gout attack to abandon standard therapies.
The authors say that randomized clinical trials are still necessary to confirm that consumption of cherry products could prevent gout attacks.