Transcript: Treating Gout with Cherry Juice
Over the last 40 years, the burden of gout, a painful inflammatory arthritis, has risen considerably, now affecting millions of Americans. Gout is now the most common inflammatory arthritis in men and older women.
In my video, Gout Treatment with a Cherry on Top, I profiled new research, suggesting that even as little as a half a cup of cherries a day may significantly lower the risk of gout attacks. Fresh cherries aren’t always in season, though, so I listed a few alternatives, and frozen appeared second-best, with cherry juice concentrate the runner-up. But does concentrated cherry juice actually help prevent attacks of gout? We didn’t know, until now.
The first pilot study was a randomized controlled trial cherry juice concentrate with pomegranate juice concentrate as a control for the prevention of attacks in gout sufferers who were having as many as four attacks a month. The cherry group got a tablespoon of cherry juice concentrate twice a day for four months, and the control group got a tablespoon of pomegranate juice concentrate twice a day for four months.
The number of gout flares in the cherry group dropped from an average of 5 down to 2, better than the pomegranate group, which only dropped from about 5 to 4. And about half of those in the cherry group who were on prescription anti-inflammatory drugs were able to stop their medications within two months after starting the cherry juice, as opposed to none of the patients in the pomegranate group.
The second was a retrospective study over the longer term. 24 gout patients went from having about seven attacks a year, down to two. The researchers conclude that cherry juice concentrate is efficacious for the prevention of gout flares.
Large long-term randomized controlled trials are needed to further evaluate the usefulness of cherries and cherry juice concentrate for gout flare prophylaxis.
So, are cherries now ripe for use as a complementary therapeutic in gout? This commentator is of the opinion that the current state of evidence remains insufficient to formally recommend cherry fruit or cherry products as complementary therapeutic remedy for gout. Why not? Can you guess who this guy is? This commentator is also a paid consultant of nine different drug companies, all of which manufacture gout medications. I understand how the pharmaceutical industry can get nervous seeing studies where half of patients were able to stop taking their gout drugs, given the billions of dollars at stake, but what’s the downside of eating a half cup of cherries a day, or worst comes to worst a few spoonfuls of cherry juice a day?
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.
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