Characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory attacks, gout is a form of arthritis that manifests itself by promoting redness, tenderness and swelling in the joints, especially affecting the toes and feet. Insufficient excretion of uric acid by the kidneys leads to the elevation in the levels of needle-like crystals of a salt called monosodium urate (MSU) in the joints leading to a condition called hyperuricemia.
This is turn, leads to the inflammation and joint pains experienced by patients suffering from gout. Even though, anti-inflammatory pills, corticosteroids and analgesics are used by a great percentage of patients for treating gout, they most certainly are not free of adverse effects like gastrointestinal disorders, heart stroke, etc. Most often, medical experts encourage patients to increase the intake of foods like milk, which is enriched with a plethora of compounds that aids in healing the symptoms associated with gout.
Hence, milk can be used as an alternative natural therapy for decreasing the intensity of symptoms associated with gout and to obtain a long-term solution for reducing joint pains. Read on to find out the health benefits of milk that supports its role in treating arthritis.
Beneficial Properties of Milk for Treating Gout
Promotes the Breakdown of Uric Acid By the Liver
By enhancing the ability of the liver to metabolize and process uric acid before it reaches the kidneys, milk prevents attacks by reducing the levels of uric acid in the blood, which over a period of time can deteriorate the condition of your joints. This property of milk has been supported by a medical study conducted by American College of Rheumatology, which involved the collection of samples of serum and urine from 16 gout patients, before and after the consumption of skimmed milk.
The study showed a 10 % decrease in the serum levels of uric acid and a lower frequency of gout attacks, three hours after the consumption of skimmed milk. In addition to this, milk is also rich in compounds that possess the ability of preventing the overproduction of uric acid in the body, thus keeping the levels of uric acid within tolerable limits.
Stimulates Secretion of Uric Acid by the Kidneys
Low-fat milk or skimmed milk, low fat yogurt and other non-fermented milk products are known to have a positive influence on the progression of gout by preventing the accumulation of uric acid in the joints. Health professionals at American College of Rheumatology have provided scientific evidence by conducting studies and concluding that low-fat dairy products, unlike high-fat ones can significantly reduce the levels of uric acid in the body.
This reduction in uric acid levels is promoted by an improvement in the function of the kidney, which enables the removal of uric acid by the body at a much faster rate, thus enhancing the body’s ability to fight the symptoms associated with gout. An active compound called orotic acid or vitamin B13 in skimmed milk is responsible for stimulating the removal of uric acid by the kidneys.
Purines are nitrogen containing compounds that are synthesized endogenously by the cells of the body or are obtained exogenously through the consumption of foods like organ meats, meat extracts, oily foods, alcohol, etc. These compounds break down and release ample amounts of uric acid in the bloodstream. However, milk and non-fermented milk products like cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese and whey protein are free of purines.
The presence of fat, casein and whey protein that lacks a cell nucleus is the primary reason for the deficiency of purine in milk, since purine is essentially a nucleotide base that makes up the DNA, which resides in the nucleus. With lesser amounts of purines in the tissues, the uric acid levels also drop, thereby decreasing the intensity of joint pain and swelling of the joints.
Builds Bone Mass
Besides having a uric-acid lowering effect, milk also serves as an excellent source of calcium and phosphorous, thus aiding in the in the repair of damaged tissues that support the joints.
These tissues are generally lost due to the continuous attacks that they experience from the prickling action of uric acid crystals. In fact, most researchers have conducted surveys that promote the consumption of one to three cups of coffee for significantly increasing the deposits of calcium on the bones, thereby lowering the risk of developing gout.
Relieves Joint Pain
Milk is enriched with beta-endorphins that serve as the body’s natural pain killers. It blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain, thus relieving joint aches associated with gout. Also, endorphins inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins that promote inflammation of joints in gout patients.
What Type of Milk Should be Used to Treat Gout?
Now that you are aware of the advantages of milk in reducing the symptoms of gout, it is crucial to understand what type of milk is to be consumed for extracting its benefits. Researchers have found that unlike skimmed milk, soy milk increases the levels of uric in the body by 10%, thus increasing the severity of your condition. Hence, it is important to stay vigilant about the type of milk being consumed and avoid the consumption of soy milk to reduce the frequency of gout attacks.
Additionally, researchers have conducted studies using three different kinds of skimmed milk seasoned at different time periods from grass-fed cows. They found that late season skim milk is far more efficient in lowering the levels of uric acid in the joints, since it has a higher percentage of orotic acid, a compound that stimulates the secretion of uric acid by the kidneys. Late season skim milk is mostly available in countries like Australia and New Zealand, where milking from cows is done during the late season.
Hence, the use of dietary supplements like milk has been promoted by physicians, in addition to the prescribed medications for assisting in the prevention and treatment of gout. It has been found that the consumption of about one to five cups of milk per day can substantially reduce the risk of gout by 43%. However, besides these dietary changes, it is important to follow other measures like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, drinking plenty of fluids, getting sufficient amount of rest etc., to decrease the severity and the frequency of gout attacks.