The People's Perspective on Medicine

Could Pineapple Juice Ease Your Gout Flareups?

People who suffer from the pain of gout flareups are eager to find a way to calm them. One reader maintains that pineapple juice prevents painful episodes.

Gout is a common and painful condition in which joints become inflamed and exquisitely sensitive to touch. A gout sufferer may not even be able to bear the weight of a sheet over a swollen toe. High levels of uric acid in the blood appear to trigger gout flareups, so the treatment focuses on reducing uric acid. What role can diet play? 

How Can You Avoid Gout Flareups?

Q. Several years ago I developed gout. My physician prescribed allopurinol, but it made my kidneys feel like they were on fire.

I stopped eating shellfish and organ meats because I’d read they could make matters worse. Nonetheless, I continued to have intermittent gout flareups. Sour cherry juice was a bust, but I found that pineapple juice really helped!

Pineapple Juice to the Rescue:

I tested this myself. Every day for a week I ate one or more of the forbidden foods, and every evening I drank a glass of pineapple juice. The result–no gout flareups. It’s been four years.

A. Thanks for sharing this unique approach. We could find no studies on pineapple juice for gout, but it might not hurt. On the other hand, it is rich in fructose. This fruit sugar can sometimes trigger gout flareups (BMJ, Feb. 9, 2008).

Doctors frequently prescribed allopurinol to lower uric acid levels. They need to warn patients that, although the medicine is effective, it can trigger additional gout flareups and may cause a rash. Anyone who notices a rash should  seek medical attention right away, as it could be the harbinger of a more serious reaction. You were right to be concerned about your kidneys, as the drug can damage them.

Other Approaches to Managing Gout Flareups:

Experts frequently recommend lifestyle approaches, such as maintaining physical activity. In addition, they frequently recommend that people who suffer from gout avoid high-purine foods such as shellfish, organ meats, bacon (including turkey bacon) and fish such as anchovies, sardines, cod, trout and haddock. Beer and booze are also high in purines, so over-indulging could lead to gout flareups. You should also probably avoid soft drinks and other beverages or foods that are full of fructose. Fructose can trigger gout problems in people with a genetic susceptibility to this disorder (Frontiers in Endocrinology, Jan. 8, 2018).

Tart Cherry Juice:

Although tart cherry juice didn’t help you, some people sing its praises. Apparently, sour cherries can lower uric acid and keep the crystals from building up in the joints.

Celery Seed:

Many readers insist that a spoonful of celery seeds can help ease gout flareups. Celery seeds do have anti-inflammatory activity, although we have not found trials of celery seed to treat gout (Progress in Drug Research, 2015). 

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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  • Haslam DE et al, "Interactions between genetics and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on health outcomes: A review of gene-diet interaction studies." Frontiers in Endocrinology, Jan. 8, 2018. DOI: 10.3389/fendo.2017.00368
  • Powanda MC, Whitehouse MW & Rainsford KD, "Celery seed and related extracts with antiarthritic, antiulcer, and antimicrobial activities." Progress in Drug Research, 2015.
  • Choi HK & Curhan G, "Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men: prospective cohort study." BMJ, Feb. 9, 2008. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.39449.819271.BE
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I’ve had gout for decades, and the one thing I know is that nobody knows anything for sure. I’ll find some gout-triggering food the hard way, after it’s too late. (Hummus and Schnapps are two that brought me to my knees, literally) It is capricious and random and different in everyone. I can eat gout-hazardous foods all day for a year and nothing. Then eat bland gout healthy foods and be crippled repeatedly, without knowing why. Intervals between attacks are just as illogical and puzzling. Hope that helps(!!)

For gout flare-ups, I found cherries (fresh or frozen) will abate my symptoms quickly.

Since trying the ketozone diet, I now find that a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil will relieve it in minutes!

In the past I have used Standard Process’ Cholaplex, but it is over $40 a bottle.

Flareups HELLO, A Pinea Collotta on ice without any side effects from hard liquor. I have always woundered why that juice was like a wake up call ? My hard liquor days are over but not my pineapple days. Sterring toward my pineapple days~ For a Peoples Pharmacy Remedy is the best place for me. Moody like Brian that is Brian; ain’t freedom grand.

I tried the “natural” route for treating gout almost ten years ago by taking a cherry supplement. My flareups did not cease. I have been taking 100mg of allopurinol daily ever since (age 68 today) and have been totally gout flareup free. No stomach upset, no noticeable side-effects whatsoever, and without restricting my diet to “safe” foods. While pineapple juice may “work” for some (I’m happy for you!), I have zero interest in switching to a fruit juice like pineapple that MAY be effective, but without doubt is loaded with sugar. Weening myself off allopurinol and making a switch to pineapple juice does not seem prudent at this point.

My ex had four and took allopurinol with success. However, we found that caffeine negated the effects of the allopurinol, especially when consumed in high doses. Any cherries helped (sour or not, cooked or not, fresh or canned). Diet did not (other than avoiding caffeine and eating cherries).

My husband takes a supplement containing tart cherry juice and celery seed. He first tried it during his first gout attack, when a prescription hadn’t gone through yet (insurance issue). By the time he got the prescription, the gout was controlled. Next flare-up he just used the supplement, and ibuprofen the first couple of days. After that we just continue him on the supplement daily and he has had no recurrence.

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