Having high levels of uric acid, a waste product in your body, increases the risk of gout -- a painful and complex form of arthritis. Diet plays a role in controlling gout, and some juices might reduce uric acid and help decrease the risk of gout attacks -- at least, based on very preliminary evidence. Talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet to help manage your gout symptoms, especially if you take medication for gout or any underlying health condition.
Most people needn't worry about uric acid, but it is a problem for some. Gout occurs when uric acid accumulates in your body to the point that crystals form in your joints. The result is painful joint inflammation, commonly at the base of your big toe. It can affect other joints like your knees, fingers, wrists, elbows and ankles. Infection, surgery, certain drugs, drinking too much alcohol or eating too much food can cause gout, and a family history of gout also increases your risk.
Tart cherry juice may reduce uric acid levels, according to a study the FASEB journal published in April 2011. In the study, participants drank 8 ounces of 100 percent tart cherry juice for four weeks. The juice caused a 20 percent uric acid reduction in 70 percent of the participants. Adding cherries to your diet may lower symptoms of gout, according to one of the few studies to evaluate fruit for improving gout. Eating cherries over a two-day period caused a 35 percent reduction in gout attacks, according to a study reported in the December 2012 edition of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology.
The Journal of Urology published a study in August 2005 that found cranberry juice reduces uric acid. However, the experiment group included only 12 participants, so larger studies are needed. In addition, the participants drank 1 liter of cranberry juice daily -- about four 8-ounce glasses -- which may not be practical for most people. Because the participants did not have gout, it's difficult to know whether cranberry juice would have the same effect on people with gout.
Researchers have studied the potential for other common juices to lower uric acid levels with limited success. Orange juice appears to lower uric acid, according to a study published in the November 2006 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Like the other studies, this one was small -- made up of only 13 volunteers -- and did not include adults with gout, so orange juice might only help in some cases.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gout
- The FASEB Journal: The Effect of 100% Tart Cherry Juice on Serum Uric Acid Levels, Biomarkers of Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors
- The Journal of Urology: Effect of Cranberry Juice Consumption on Urinary Stone Risk Factors
- Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: Comparative Value of Orange Juice Versus Lemonade in Reducing Stone-forming Risk
- Arthritis and Rheumatology: Cherry Consumption and the Risk of Recurrent Gout Attacks