Cherry Juice for Gout: Effective Relief Options

March 13, 2024

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Gout arises when excess uric acid in the bloodstream crystallizes into needle-sharp deposits within joints, tendons and soft tissues. These formations provoke intense inflammation and pain. Tart cherries and tart cherry juice contain compounds that may help reduce gout flares. Evaluating the evidence behind cherries as a complementary natural therapy for gout offers insight into their potential benefits and limitations in managing this prevalent condition.

Why Might Cherries and Cherry Juice Help Alleviate Gout?

All cherries contain plant chemicals known as anthocyanins that give these stone fruits their rich red and purple hues. However, the tart Montmorency cherry variety contains higher concentrations of potent antioxidants compared to sweet cherries.

Tart cherries and tart cherry juice possess:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects – Anthocyanins limit inflammation which drives gout pain.
  • Uric acid lowering action – Cherries may help excrete excess uric acid before it crystallizes.
  • Antioxidant properties – They reduce free radicals and oxidative damage contributing to high uric acid.
  • Pain relief – Compounds in tart cherries may deactivate COX inflammation pathways.

This diverse spectrum of beneficial mechanisms helps explain why tart cherries and tart cherry juice may mitigate gout flares.

Key Research Examining Cherries and Gout Protection

Multiple studies have analyzed whether consuming concentrated tart cherry juice lowers gout risk. Results have been mixed but generally supportive:

  • A 2019 review compiling evidence from 6 trials concluded tart cherry juice intake significantly reduces gout attacks compared to no juice, cutting flares in half. Patients drinking cherry juice for up to 4 months had a 40% lower risk of gout attacks.
  • An NIH study found consuming two servings daily of cherry extract for 2 days prompted a significant drop in blood uric acid levels, supporting tart cherries’ link to reduced gout flares.
  • One randomized-controlled pilot study followed gout patients drinking tart cherry juice for 4 months. The data showed a 35% reduction in gout attacks overall among cherry juice drinkers. Blood uric acid levels notably declined as well.
  • However, a recent 2020 meta-analysis suggested tart cherry juice did not effectively prevent acute gout flares. The preventative benefit against attacks was inconclusive per researchers. Study heterogeneity may have impacted results.

So evidence behind tart cherry juice for gout remains somewhat conflicting. Nonetheless, many rheumatologists still suggest it as a complementary treatment, while monitoring each patient’s response individually over time.

Practical Tips on Incorporating Cherries and Cherry Juice for Gout

While not proven definitively, trying tart cherry products fits with a holistic anti-inflammatory gout diet. Their antioxidants may offer additional health bonuses alongside conventional medications.

Cherry dosing guidelines depend somewhat on cherry format:

  • Cherries – 1/2 cup or 10-12 whole cherries 1-2 times daily
  • Tart cherry juice – 16 ounces (2 cups) daily
  • Cherry extract capsules – 500mg tablets twice daily

When using cherry juice, 100% pressed raw tart cherry juice offers highest anthocyanin content. Search refrigerated juice sections for brands listing Montmorency tart cherries specifically. Diluted ‘cocktail’ or juice blends hold less potency.

Consume cherries or tart juice regularly as a preventative instead of sporadically – research indicates daily intake works better than just during attacks. Connect any change in gout flare trends to recent diet adjustments for best feedback on cherry product efficacy.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions When Eating Cherries for Gout

While gentler than medications, using cherries and cherry juice is not risk-free. Possible side effects include:

  • Abdominal discomfort, diarrhea
  • Blood sugar spikes – caution with diabetes
  • Kidney stone risk
  • Drug interactions

Those with kidney stones or gout-related kidney issues should use tart cherry products cautiously, if at all. High vitamin C levels may worsen stone risk. The effect on uric acid excretion could strain fragile kidneys.

Other groups requiring care with cherries include patients on blood thinners or NSAID pain relievers due to inhibition of COX enzymes. Anyone with diabetes or glucose intolerance needs vigilance since fruit sugars may spike blood glucose levels.

Of course, those with general fruit sensitivity, diverticulitis, or irritable bowel conditions should exercise discretion with added fiber intake.

Discuss trying cherries and tart cherry juice with your doctor first to mitigate issues, especially if taking medications or other medical conditions are present requiring consideration.

Effectiveness of Tart Cherry Tablets and Capsules for Gout

Beyond juice, concentrated tart cherry supplements (CherryFlex, Terry Naturally Cherry Fruit extract) offer ease of fixed dosing in portable pill form:

  • Easy to add to existing medical regimen
  • Less sugar than juice versions
  • Standardized anthocyanin levels
  • Same uric acid reducing benefits

However, some research indicates juice versions may be superior for gout protection than cherry pills due to better bioavailability from multiple fruit compounds. Using both types supplies missing components from each formulation.

No single optimal cherry product or dosing for gout exists – tailoring approach based on severity, personal response and medical profile gives best outcomes.

Cherries and Cherry Juice Role in Gout Management – Takeaway Points

  • Tart Montomorency cherries contain potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds possibly lowering gout risk
  • Growing research shows promise for cherry juice/extracts reducing gout flares almost 35-40%
  • Exact mechanisms still being elucidated – likely multifactorial protection
  • Requires minimum 16 ounces (500ml) juice or 2 cups cherries daily for effect
  • Effects additive to conventional gout medications that reduce uric acid
  • Monitor personal flaring patterns and uric acid levels when trying
  • Caution warranted with kidney issues; side effects uncommon

Though not conclusively proven, many doctors suggest trying tart cherry products for 3-6 months as a safe supplemental therapy alongside traditional long term gout treatment to help control attacks.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tart Cherries and Gout

Below find answers addressing common queries on the ideal use of cherries and cherry juice for reducing painful gout episodes:

Which type of cherries work best for gout?

Tart Montmorency cherries contain higher anti-inflammatory, antioxidant levels most ideal to combat gout. Sweet cherries lack similar potency.

How much cherry juice should I drink daily for gout prevention?

Drinking 16 ounces (one pint/ 500ml) of pure, undiluted Montmorency tart cherry juice offers optimal gout protection based on studies.

Do cherries interact with any medications?

Yes – cherries may boost thinning with blood thinners like warfarin or antiplatelets, increasing bleeding risk. They also inhibit NSAID breakdown, raising toxicity.

Can eating too many cherries be dangerous?

Consuming excess cherries long term can bring diarrhea, weight gain, and spike blood sugar. Tart cherries amplify kidney stone risk in susceptible people. Moderation remains key.

How long do I need to take cherry juice to see an improvement in gout flares?

Research indicates minimum 2-3 months consistency is required to notice possible reductions in gout attacks. Ensure other uric acid medications are optimized alongside cherries.

In conclusion, while not a panacea, evidence indicates tart Montmorency cherries and tart cherry juice may offer a feasible complementary therapy for some gout patients to help control attacks. Their anti-inflammatory effects likely reduce pain and disability when used properly.

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