About three years ago I started having gout attacks in my right big toe. It was a painful shock that woke me up in the middle of the night.
I wasn’t sure what it was and persevered a little until going to see the GP who quickly diagnosed it and prescribed naproxin for the swelling.
I tried eating cherries but not too many as I didn’t want too many carbs. I also was drinking apple cider vinegar watered down – too strong to take straight and even watered down it doesn’t taste great (if you don’t have Type 2 diabetes you could try honey I guess to cover the taste).
It didn’t come back for a while and I thought I’d cracked it but over the following winter I suffered from it again about every 3 – 4 weeks. It could have been the cold. So for me the apple cider vinegar and cherries didn’t have the effect I’d hoped for. I was thinking I was going to be on Allopurinol for the rest of my life.
It is another one of those diseases that they don’t know for sure what causes it nor do they know how to cure it properly – again it is different for each person.
While searching for natural cures I came across a very long post about gout and a theory that it is about your body being acidic allowing the painful shedding of crystals that form in your joints.
It was written by someone who had suffered from gout for 27 years and tried treating it with medicine without success. He found something that worked for him = bicarbonate of soda in water.
I did do some more research online and there isn’t too much on it and there doesn’t seem to be too much on any side effects. It can affect your blood pressure and can react badly with drugs (and sometimes it can help rhe effectiveness)
(Although there is one that you need to be aware of and that is to do with the toilet which athletes who use it for offsetting lactic acid build up have suffered from.)
There are doubts on how effective it is and whether the alkaline effect of the bicarbonate soda can affect your blood ph and that it is just a way of having more alkaline urine. I did wonder that myself and this is addressed in the article. (Read response here).
As it is caused by uric acid “crystallizing” in your joints then a more alkaline body finds it easier to get rid of the acid and dissolve the crystals.
The writer of the in depth article says he “obtained from medical and scientific literature, from my doctors and pharmacists” . See the post here.
What I Did To Test This
I followed his instructions and bought some bicarbonate of sodium – a 1 kg pack and some ph sticks for measuring the ph (acidity/alkalinity) of my urine.
I tested my urine and it was acidic giving an indication that I was acidic (I didn’t keep the reading unfortunately).
The process is pretty straightforward you can take 1/2 a teaspoon every 2 – 4 hours up to a maximum of 7 a day or 1 teaspoon every 4 hours for a period of 4 weeks. Both ways you dissolve it in water. Drinking plenty of water, and keeping the joints warm.
I also cut back on some foods that can cause your blood to be more acidic in particular almonds due to their phosphorous content and is what I was eating a lot of at the time.
This again come from the article and I suggest you read it in full if you want to carry out your own test to see if it can help and you probably should discuss with your doctor too – which I didn’t and still haven’t – I’ve just not had to go and ask for a repeat prescription of naproxen (an anti-inflammatory painkiller) or other drugs.
The guy who wrote the post had been suffering gout attacks for 27 years and the last time he updated it, he’d be free of the attack for 5.5 years. In the article he says he has done a lot of research into the medical literature as well as talking to fellow sufferers.
What I Wanted To Find Out
The aim was to stop the gout attacks that came in the night (as it is with most people due to acidity) and not have to look at using drugs to control it (I don’t like them and avoid if I can – I did weaken and take naproxen rather than live with the pain).
My diet doesn’t contain much sugar or carbs which can cause acidic response in the blood. I’ve got what many people would consider a restricted diet with it being considered very low carb to many – so didn’t really want to be restricting it further by avoiding high purine foods too – like meat.
For some reason your blood doesn’t clear out the uric acid properly which then forms MSU crystals in your joint and when they break off the shards of crystal cause the excruciating pain in your joint.
I was exercising a lot at the time, maybe too much when I was starting to get regular gout pain in my right big toe.
The Results To Date
The lump on the side of my foot has reduced down too and I’ve not had an attack since. It does ache sometimes and feel like an attack is coming on but I’ve yet to suffer from it again for over 18 months.
Its been successful so far.
I was also doing a lot more exercise at the time with weightlifting, CrossFit and running and was possibly doing more than I could cope with which could have been a cause of the gout. At the moment I’m running only about 20 – 30 km a week which is down from the time I was suffering.
Whether it is down to the bicarbonate of soda or not I can’t say for 100%.
What I’ve Learned
It could be coincidence that it stopped after I tried the baking soda in water and has stayed away for 18 months so far. Other people have tried it and had success too. (See below for an unfortunate update).
I think it was worth trying out and as long as you take pre-cautions such as talking to your doctor and read through the detailed post.
It doesn’t cost much and you should know soon after if it has been successful or not.
This isn’t going to be the same for everyone. I can imagine someone who has suffered from gout for a number of years and been on allopurinol may find it doesn’t help at all, even though the person who wrote the post found they solved their problem (after 27 years of attacks) and have been free of attacks for years.
I do take a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in a class of water before bed most nights. That isn’t in the recommendations of the writer I just continued it on (just in case).
When you read about sodium bicarbonate there is plenty about how wonderful it is for a number of ailments including cancer and so on. I’m not sure about those but I do know that when I started the baking soda treatment of 4 teaspoons a day the painful attacks that I’d suffered stopped.
Update 8 November 2016
After a good streak my toe succumbed to the gout monster again. It’s now gone and I’m back on 4 teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate in water.
It came on over a few days and I’m not sure what happened other than I’d starting running further and a little faster on my 5k parkruns. It might have been the first curry and beer I’d had since I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (I won’t be doing it again my blood sugar was 7.0 in the morning!).
Maybe I’m being too optimistic on this but I’m willing to give this another try and will update again in 6 months when I’ve finished thous course of baking soda.