The burden of gout, a painful inflammatory arthritis, over the last 40 years has risen considerably, now affecting millions of Americans. In fact, gout is now the most common inflammatory arthritis in men and older women.
In my video, Gout Treatment with a Cherry on Top, I suggest half of a cup of cherries a day may significantly lower the risk of gout attacks. Fresh cherries aren’t always in season, though. There are some alternatives. Cherry juice concentrate is the runner-up and frozen cherries appeared second-best . But does concentrated cherry juice actually help prevent attacks of gout?
Trial cherry juice concentrate with pomegranate juice concentrate as a control for the prevention of attacks in gout sufferers who were having as many as four attacks a month. The control group got a tablespoon of pomegranate juice concentrate twice a day for four months and the cherry group got a tablespoon of cherry juice concentrate twice a day for four months.
In the cherry group the number of gout flares dropped from an average of five down to two, better than the pomegranate group, which only dropped from about five to four. Half of those in the cherry group who were on prescription anti-inflammatory drugs were able to stop their medications within two months after starting the cherry juice, as opposed to none of the patients in the pomegranate group.
Highlighted in my video, Treating Gout with Cherry Juice, the second study was a retrospective investigation over a longer term. Twenty-four gout patients went from having about seven attacks a year, down to two. The researchers concluded that cherry juice concentrate is efficacious for the prevention of gout flares. Large, long-term randomized controlled trials are needed to further evaluate the usefulness of cherry juice concentrate and cherries for gout flare prophylaxis.
Are cherries now ripe for use as a complementary therapeutic in gout? One commentator “is of the opinion that the current state of evidence remains insufficient to formally recommend cherry products or cherry fruit as complementary therapeutic remedy for gout.” This commentator is also a paid consultant of nine different drug companies, all of which manufacture gout medications. I understand how the pharmaceutical industry can get nervous seeing studies where half of patients were able to stop taking their gout drugs given the billions of dollars at stake, but what’s the downside of taking few spoonfuls of cherry juice or eating a half cup of cherries a day ?