Gout, a painful form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, can lead to significant disability and healthcare costs.
While diet has long been recognized as a key factor in blood uric acid levels, there has been limited clinical trial evidence to guide dietary choices for physicians and patients.
In a recent study from Johns Hopkins University, researchers investigated the effectiveness of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, known for its blood pressure-lowering benefits, in reducing uric acid levels.
The DASH Diet and Uric Acid
The DASH diet focuses on consuming fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts, and beans. It also reduces saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol intake.
The researchers examined 103 adults with pre- or stage 1 high blood pressure and assigned them either the DASH diet or a control diet reflecting the average American diet.
The participants were then provided with low, medium, and high sodium levels in a random order for 30 days.
Results and Implications
The study found that the DASH diet led to a significant reduction in uric acid levels. On average, uric acid decreased by 0.35 mg/dL with the DASH diet.
Notably, individuals with uric acid levels greater than 7 mg/dL, commonly seen in patients with gout, experienced a reduction of more than 1 mg/dL.
Additionally, the researchers observed that higher sodium intake, similar to the average American diet, decreased uric acid levels compared to low sodium intake.
However, the mechanism behind this effect remains unclear.
Recommendations for Gout Patients
Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that doctors can confidently recommend the DASH diet to patients with gout as a means of lowering uric acid levels and potentially preventing gout flares.
The study also highlights the impact of sodium on uric acid levels, providing valuable insights into the dietary triggers of gout flares.
The study demonstrates the potential of the DASH diet in effectively reducing uric acid levels, a known trigger of gout.
By emphasizing a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains while reducing saturated fat and cholesterol intake, individuals may lower their risk of gout flares.
Furthermore, the study sheds light on the role of sodium in influencing uric acid levels, contributing to a deeper understanding of dietary factors affecting gout.
By incorporating these findings into clinical practice, healthcare professionals can provide evidence-based dietary recommendations to better manage gout and improve patient outcomes.
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