Folic Acid And Gout
Most frequently, when we think about folic acid we usually relate it to the need for pregnant women to ensure an adequate level of folic acid during their first trimester of pregnancy. However, with the never-ending quest for natural cures to ailments and diseases, studies continue to reveal important and useful information.
How Folic Acid May Help...
The enzyme that produces uric acid is called xanthine oxidase. Gout is the overproduction of uric acid that then crystallizes in the joints, causing swelling, inflammation and pain can often be crippling. Folic acid naturally neutralizes this enzyme, blocking it and thus reduces the amount of uric acid that the body produces. It can help to regulate the amount of uric acid that is already in the body making gout flare-ups less painful when they occur. It may also act as a preventative to flare-ups.
...Or Hinder Relief
The problem with using folic acid is that large amounts (up to 80mg per day) which far exceed the daily recommended dosage are necessary to reduce uric acid levels. High volume of any type of treatment carries with it potential dangers and other studies have not confirmed the effectiveness of treating gout with folic acid.
If a person is on medication for epilepsy, then folic acid may interfere with the medication, reducing its efficacy. As with any type of treatment, taking folic acid should be regulated by your health practitioner since dosages vary with the individual.
Since the reviews on the research with folic acid and gout are mixed, it appears that more research is needed to establish usefulness. Most conventional physicians will continue to recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids. Drugs to decrease uric acid production such as allopurinol or others to increase the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys, like sulfinpyrazone, as still the norm for long-term treatments.
Looking For Natural Solutions
However, many people are looking for ways to treat gout without using drugs. Dietary changes, especially decreasing the intake of purine producing foods like red meats, shell fish, organ meats, and alcohol, and incorporating foods that help to lower uric acid levels, such as cherries and other dark berries, salmon (wild not farmed) and nuts and olive oil, seem to help a great deal. There is some research to indicate Vitamin C is useful in treating gout. However, too much of this vitamin can cause an upset of acid levels and exacerbate the problem.
There is no single specific treatment for gout, although there are many offerings on the market. Caffeine has been shown to help lower uric acid levels and people who are obese can help to reduce gout flare-ups by losing weight. Since people respond to treatments differently, a working relationship with a naturopathic doctor and a medical doctor can create a system of treatment that may work well.