Discovering Gout and Its Link to Adrenal Malfunction

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


Different joints affected by goutIn today’s world, there are certain diseases that often go undiagnosed and untreated. Because of this, they tend to persist to the point that one’s quality of life becomes significantly compromised. One of these diseases is gout. It is a condition that roughly affects as much as 8.3 million Americans, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2008. Even more alarming is the fact that the prevalence of this condition seems to be on the rise.

The problem is, someone with gout may also end up with adrenal malfunction and eventually, adrenal fatigue. This is because this disease affects your body’s ability to respond to stress.

Understanding the Disease

Gout refers to a condition wherein a person has higher levels of uric acid than normal in the body. This disease is also considered a type of arthritis which is characterized by uric acid crystals forming in the joints and causing a painful flare-up.

The problem with this type of flare-up in the body is that it also leads to other severe consequences to one’s health. In fact, it can even compromise your body’s stress response.

How Gout Can Affect the Body’s Stress Response

Typically, a healthy body is more than capable of responding to any type of stressor. This is because the body has its own NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system, which is made up of six key organs or system circuits. All these circuits work both independently and interdependently to produce a stress response. Among these system circuits is the bioenergetics circuit, which deals with how the body turns food into energy. This circuit becomes compromised the moment you have an increase in uric acid.

Having higher than normal uric acid levels has been strongly associated with increased levels of dietary fructose. This was a finding stated by a study published in the Hepatology journal in 2012. The problem with this increase in dietary fructose is that it can severely affect the body’s metabolism. This is because it can cause malabsorption in the body, preventing food from being effectively turned into energy.

Without the proper amount of energy, the body is essentially starved. This triggers stress, which forces the adrenal glands to keep producing more cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. If left to persist, the adrenals would eventually become unable to keep with the demand for cortisol and other hormones. This leads to severe hormonal imbalance, which causes Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).

Gout and Adrenal Fatigue

At the same time, gout itself has also been more closely linked to stress and thus adrenal function. In fact, a study conducted in the Netherlands in 2018 has positively associated high levels of uric acid with both major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. In addition, another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1970 also found considerable correlation between uric acid levels and cortisol levels in the body.

Hence, it is believed that the disease itself can possibly cause higher stress levels in a person. Because of this, one may also end up suffering from significant hormonal imbalance, and eventually develop adrenal fatigue.

How to Prevent This Harmful Disease and Adrenal Fatigue

Now that you have a better understanding about how this form of arthritis can possibly affect your body’s stress response and trigger adrenal fatigue, it’s time to discover what you can do to lower your risk for this disease.

Essentially, the solution involves making smarter and healthier lifestyle changes. Before you decide to try any new supplement or food, however, it may be a good idea to consult with your physician first. This is because you can suffer from allergy or intolerance which can lead to severe symptoms such as lightheadedness, trouble breathing, or even fainting.

That said, here are some easy ways that you can avoid suffering from gout while also caring for your adrenals:

Limit your alcohol intake or try to avoid it altogether

Hand stopping and refusing to take beer to help goutAlcoholic beverages, especially beer, have been proven to increase your body’s uric acid levels. Hence, they can make your arthritis worse and lead to experiencing more pain.

At the same time, alcohol tends to suppress adrenal function, affecting the adrenal glands’ ability to produce enough cortisol during times of stress. Furthermore, the consumption of alcohol also tends to lead to compromised liver function. This means that the liver would have to work harder to rid the body of hormones circulating in excess.

Limit beverages that contain caffeine

Sure, you may feel the need to have a cup of coffee in the morning. However, taking several more cups throughout the day would only make your condition worse. In fact, according to a study presented by the Boston University School of Medicine and the Duke University Medical Center at the American College of Rheumatology 2010 Annual Scientific Meeting, consuming more than six servings of a caffeine beverage the previous day can be associated to a 3.3-fold higher risk of suffering a gout flare.

Meanwhile, the consumption of caffeine also causes the adrenals to become further overworked. This is because caffeine tends to stimulate neuron activity in the brain. When this happens, the neurons would alert the pituitary gland which, in turn, signals the adrenals to produce more cortisol and adrenaline.

Avoid foods that have high purine content

Purine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound that has been associated with high uric acid levels. Hence, avoiding foods with high purine content such as alcoholic beverages, anchovies, sardines, bacon, veal, and liver can help prevent further flare-ups in the joints.

Moreover, the higher the uric acid levels are in the body, the more compromised your body’s metabolism would become, making it much harder to turn food into energy.

Make sure you get enough sleep and rest

When you are already suffering from this arthritic condition, moving constantly can be both difficult and painful. Hence, to help relieve the pain, it is recommended that you take as much rest and sleep as possible. This way, the affected joint can also be rested, and the pain would subside.

At the same time, getting enough sleep and rest would also go a long way in helping you fight adrenal fatigue since it would significantly lower your stress levels. This way, your adrenals and the rest of your body stand a better chance of recovering and getting their functions back to normal.

Take some dietary supplements

Nutrition plays an important role in helping your body avoid or recover from this form of arthritis. Hence, aside from eating healthy foods, it is also recommended that you take certain supplements.

Among these is vitamin C, which is said to help prevent the disease and even relieve its symptoms. At the same time, vitamin C is also known to be effective in both preventing high blood pressure and enhancing adrenal function.

Consider taking herbal supplements or adding certain herbs to your meals

Herbs don’t just smell good and taste great. They can also help in reducing symptoms of this form of arthritis while preventing adrenal fatigue at the same time.

One of the herbs that is most recommended for gout is celery seed extract. This is because celery seed extract is said to effectively help control uric acid levels in the body, making it easier for someone to avoid flare-ups.

At the same time, it has also been found that celery seed extract can also keep your blood pressure levels in check. This in turn decreases stress and anxiety, which would help your adrenals to start recovering from fatigue.

Eat foods that are rich in anthocyanins

Vegetables containing anthocyanins shaped in a heart shape to help goutAnthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments. Found in purple and red fruits such cherries and red berries, anthocyanins are known to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making them effective in preventing gout flare-ups.
Cherries are particularly known to have a good amount of anthocyanins. In fact, a study published in the Arthritis and Rheumatology journal in 2012 found that consuming cherries for two days in a row can lower one’s risk for gout by as much as 35 percent.
Meanwhile, another study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2003 found that consuming cherries can also significantly lower plasma urate levels among healthy women.

Go over these tips carefully and determine what would work well for you. So long as you take the necessary precautions and you commit to living a healthier lifestyle, you should be able to avoid gout and its harmful effects on your adrenal health.

 
© Copyright 2012 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Gout is a condition that is characterized by higher than normal uric acid levels, which is also associated with higher dietary fructose in the body. Having higher dietary fructose levels leads to malabsorption which severely compromises the body’s ability to turn food into energy. This causes stress and adrenal fatigue.


Avoid wine to prevent gout