Gout  is a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the blood and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the joints. Once a rare disease, this extremely painful condition now afflicts almost five million Americans and is becoming more prevalent. Often the excruciating pain keeps people awake at night. If allowed to progress, gout can cause permanent joint damage.

Our outmoded physicians think that the only way to treat gout is to take toxic pharmaceutical drugs and painkillers. This is not true. As with most health problems, there are natural treatment methods—changes in diet and lifestyle—to prevent and treat this agonizing condition, without the dangerous and unpleasant side effects of the drugs.

The cause of gout is eating a poor diet and living an unhealthy lifestyle, which is under your control. Almost any chronic disease can be avoided by practicing a healthy lifestyle. Gout results from uric acid buildup in joints and surrounding tissue. Uric acid is a normal waste product of protein metabolism and is normally excreted through the kidneys. However, kidney disease, excessive uric acid production, and decreased uric acid removal can cause high uric acid levels in your blood, resulting in a buildup of needle-like crystals in your joints and intense pain.

To prevent or reverse gout, you must start with your diet. Read my book The Great American Health Hoax. Follow the Beyond Health Lifestyle and the suggestions in the “Maintenance List” chapter. Physicians recommend avoiding high-purine foods such as organ meats, anchovies, sardines, mushrooms, asparagus, and herring. They do this because purine metabolizes to uric acid. However, high-purine foods are not the cause of gout; they merely contribute to the problem.

Increasingly, studies show that a high carbohydrate diet is what causes gout. Even if you avoid high-purine foods, you can still have gout unless you do this: Get the sugar (and the grains) out of your life! Most especially, get the high fructose corn syrup out of your life, which is found in sodas and most processed supermarket foods. Very simple—if there is added sugar in the food, don’t buy it. Consuming two or more sodas per day increases the risk of gout by 85 percent.  Fruit juices also increase the risk, especially from high-fructose fruits like apples and oranges.

When fructose is metabolized by the body, it produces uric acid and it also inhibits the excretion of uric acid, leading to uric acid buildup. All sugar increases insulin, and insulin inhibits uric acid removal through the urine. Grains are converted to sugars. Another strong carbohydrate risk factor for gout is alcohol. Alcohol increases blood uric acid levels; avoiding it is essential for successful gout treatment. Another risk factor for gout is being overweight. Excess weight causes massive cellular malfunction throughout the body, helping to promote gout. Another risk factor is exposure to toxic chemicals such as lead and prescription drugs including diuretics, cyclosporine, and levodopa.

If you have gout, you don’t need drugs, you need to get rid of the gout. To do that, get the sugars, grains, and alcohol out of your life, most especially the fructose. Reduce the amount of high-purine foods in your diet. As much as possible, consume more wholesome organic foods, such as fresh, locally-grown vegetables, fruits, eggs, and nuts and seeds. Don’t buy processed foods. In moderation, fresh cherries and strawberries may help to reduce gout attacks. Drink plenty of pure and clean water, which helps to flush out the excess uric acid. And for that you may need a reverse osmosis filter.

Don’t forget exercise. It helps to normalize uric acid levels. Exercise is also one of the most powerful tools for promoting health. It is a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle with a wide range of health-promoting benefits, including strengthening immunity, preventing and reversing diabetes, normalizing insulin levels, preventing depression, and enhancing bone density and joint function.

Supplements help. Gout is an inflammatory disease, so anti-inflammatories are essential. Go up to bowel tolerance on vitamin C. Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory and it also works to lower uric acid levels. Vitamin E, quercetin, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, curcumin, and essential fatty acids are all highly beneficial. Magnesium has been proven to be an effective treatment for gout. It has been shown to decrease uric acid formation in the body.

On the bottom line, health and disease are choices, and each requires effort to achieve. On which choice do you want to be putting your effort?