Gout and Cancer Connection?

Gout and Cancer Connection?


Is there a connection between Gout and Cancer?  Gout is a common inflammatory disease with incidences largely increasing with each passing year and affecting younger and younger age groups more than ever before.  Acute arthritis and hyperuricemia stems from purine metabolism dysfunction causing urate crystals to deposit into the tissue leading to kidney stones, soft tissue growths, urate nephropathy and/or arthritis.  Epidemiological studies have been conducted to estimate the potential association between Gout and Cancer risks.  These studies have displayed a preeminent role of Gout in carcinogenesis.

Cellular death and higher turnover rates can bring about hyperuricemia and the formation of tumors (tumorigenesis.)  Even though strong evidence exists to show the connection between high serum uric acid levels and an independent increased risk of cancer, the subject remains disputable.  After all, uric acid is also a fierce antioxidant and protector of our DNA.  Could the higher frequency of heavy alcohol intake, obesity, and increased insulin resistance be the cause of the increased cancer risk, as opposed to trying to link uric acid as the causation?  How about sugar?  Uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism and tumor cells thrive on sugar.  In fact, Dr. Mercola said it best — “The connection between fructose consumption and increased uric acid is so reliable that a uric acid level taken from your blood can actually be used as a marker for fructose toxicity.”  Fructose over-indulgence is also behind obesity and diabetes, further strengthening all of these connections.  It seems there is still so much to unpack when it comes to these links.  Unfortunately, scientific studies tend to narrow in on only one area, while there are many pieces to all of these puzzles.

While elevated risks of certain cancers – namely urological, digestive system, liver and lung cancers – have been observed and associated with Gout, palpable heterogeneity has also existed in these studies. And how about the possibility of the gout medications themselves are carcinogenic?  This factor doesn’t seem to be involved in these studies and could certainly raise some eyebrows about their effects and potential roles in these increased risks?

Allopurinol aims to restrict uric acid production by limiting the conversion of the purines.  Common side effects include drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea.  More danger effects include infection, kidney problems, vision changes, weight loss, increased bleeding and yellowing of the skin/eyes signaling liver dysfunction.

Febuxostat (Uloric) is also used as a xanthine oxidase inhibitor and can cause nausea, joint pain, rashes, gout flares, and liver inconsistencies.  Serious side effects include liver damage, heart attack, and strokes.

Prednisone is sometimes used as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the severity and length of a gout attack.  Long-term and high doses can cause insomnia, mood swings, depression, personality changes, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, acne, peptic ulcers, muscle cramps and weakness, osteoporosis, thinning of the skin, and eye problems.

Colchicine is quite literally as poison and can cause serious gastric disruption leading to diarrhea, nausea, cramping and vomiting.  More serious side effects include weakness, shortness of breath, fast heart rate, numbness or tingling of the extremities, paleness, and muscle weakness.

NSAIDS like Indomethacin (Indocin), or even OTC medicines like Ibuprofen, can cause severe intestinal damage with long-term use.  They can increase your risk of ulcers, heart attacks, strokes, and reduce the blood flow to the kidneys.

It is far too easy to over-complicate an otherwise simplistic approach.  All of the above can be addressed by confronting your diet and lifestyle, rather than worrying what band-aids could be making things even worse.  We are so quick to jump onto the prescription drugs, rather than doing what is difficult, and that is change.  Change is what we need.  Change in our diets, water intake, bad habits, lack of exercise, combatting stress, enhancing our vitamin and mineral resources, etc. – all of which will make us feel better overall AND combat disease – is what’s necessary.  It might not be easy, but it is obtainable.

How to travel and avoid Gout

Traveling can be hectic as is, and downright scary if you suffer from Gout.  Why does Gout tend to attack at THE worst imaginable times and can you avoid this fate?

The anticipation and fear of the next Gout attack can be extremely stressful.  Travel can be very stressful, too.  Unfortunately, stress can actually CAUSE an attack.  Stress can dramatically alter the pH of the body increasing its acid load, pulling minerals from the body, and triggering inflammation.  While finally arriving at your destination can be relaxing and fun, the stress leading up to that point could cause problems.

·         Try to pack well ahead of time and don’t overthink it.  Most people don’t use half of the things they bring.  Make a list over a long period of time and stick to it.

·         If you are flying, have your documents for security set aside separately and plan to arrive with plenty of time to spare.

·         Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and eat well (at least leading up to the vacay.)

·         Stress and travel can deplete the healthy bacteria in the body.  Taking a high quality probiotic before, during, and after travel can help a great deal.

·         Breathe deeply and try to relax.

Lack of mobility can also cause problems.  Whether you are confined to a car or an economy-class, squished airline seat — leg room can be an issue.  When the blood circulation slows down, uric acid is more likely to crystallize.  The feet are the most susceptible as the coldest part of the body.

·         Take the time to get up and get out of whatever seat you are confined to and get moving.  Get the blood pumping as often as you can.

·         Try to keep your feet warm at all times.  Extra, fluffy socks can help.

Dehydration tends to be another area of trouble.  Remaining hydrated ahead of the trip is important, but we tend to slack off during travel.  If you are flying, you are at an even greater risk.  Cabin air has less humidity and can lead to dehydration rather quickly.  We also tend to slack off on our water amounts to avoid multiple bathrooms breaks, especially on long car rides.  This is not a luxury the Gout sufferer can afford.

·         Stay hydrated before, during, and after travel.

·         Drink no less than ½oz of water per pound of your body weight, daily.

·         Do not count any other liquid towards this water amount, and avoid most other liquids in general.  Juices and soda do not offer hydration or anything much else.  Remember that tea and coffee are diuretics and can be dehydrating.

Nutrition is another crucial area to address.  This is an important area at all times, but even more so leading up to traveling.  We tend to slack off quite a bit during travel and simply don’t have access to the best food choices most of the time.  Many people have a misconception about specific food causing their attacks.  The reality is many gout sufferers are already close to their ‘cup of uric acid’ being full, allowing for a meal to send them over that edge.  Leading up to the traveling time, and pretty much anytime you wish to splurge, it is essential to obtain manageable levels whereas a bit of splurging won’t tip your cup over into an attack.  You can do this with smart food choices, proper water intake, alcohol avoidance, and supplements.  Aim for healthy, pH balanced meals and snacks packed with vegetables, herbs, spices, sour dairy, fermented foods, a little fruit, healthy fats, and some organic protein.  Take your vitamins, probiotics, and gout fighting supplements.   If you can successfully bring your uric acid levels down low enough, it will take a lot more than one bad food choice to throw you into the flames of a dreaded Gout attack.

Is Canola Oil really good for you?



Canola oil has been marketed as a healthy choice for cooking, widely used in many homes and most restaurants.  However, the truth of the matter is that Canola oil is just about anything but healthy!  Yet, the FDA has not only deemed it safe for consumption, but actually supports it being labeled “healthy.”

Canola oil was originally developed in Canada, Canadian “ola”, which means oil.  Canola oil comes from a seed called rapeseed and was mostly used for industrial purposes.  Rapeseed oil was the source of the chemical warfare known as mustard gas.  The US banned rapeseed back in 1956 when soldiers and civilians began experiencing blistered lungs and skin.  The canola plant does not occur naturally in the wild, but instead has been bred by BIG agriculture.  In other words, it is a genetically modified plant, or GMO.  Since Canola oil is cheap to manufacture and mass produce, it was modified to remove the lethal eruric acid.  It took the food industry over a decade of genetic engineering to obtain the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) nod from the FDA.  Initially the rapeseed name was changed to LEAR (low eruric acid rapeseed), and then to Canola Oil.

Canola oil is touted as healthy for its 55-65% monounsaturated fat, like found in other healthy fats such as avocados, raw nuts, and virgin olive oil.  However, it also contains around 35% of polyunsaturated fat. Aside from the facts above, this highly processed and refined oil – just like corn and soybean oils – are unstable under heat, light, and pressure.  These conditions oxidize the polyunsaturated fats and increase the free radicals in the body leading to inflammation, damaged cells, weight gain, and contributes to other degenerative diseases.   Canola oil hardens through the hydrogenation process rendering a high level of trans fatty acids that increase the shelf life of processed foods and make cookies and crackers even crispier – and that much more dangerous for the consumer.  Just take a look at all of the craziness involved in its extraction production:














Canola oil has been touted as “heart-healthy” since it is low in saturated fat, high in monosaturates, and a ‘good’ source of omega-3 fatty acids.  The problem with this is two-fold.  Firstly, those omega 3’s are converted into unhealthy trans fats during the deodorization process.  Secondly, the latest research shows us that we have been wrong about saturated fats all along and we do in fact need them.  So while misleading tactics shout that Canola is a great anti-inflammatory, it is anything but. 

Canola oil depletes Vitamin E, shown to increase lung cancer and heart disease, shortened the lifespan of animals and/or lowered their platelet count, increases triglycerides by some 47%, and increases the rigidity of membranes factoring into aging and degenerative diseases.  Additionally, numerous health side effects have been indicated in the consumption of GMO food products, including liver and kidney damage.  These vital organs play an intricate role in Gout and Inflammatory related disease control.


What are better oil alternatives?


          Coconut Oil- NOT refined!  Cold pressed and virgin only.  This oil has a high heat threshold.

          Olive Oil- Organic and extra-virgin or cold-presssed.  Not necessarily the best oil for high-heat cooking options, but also not the worst by any mean.

          Organic Pasture-Raised Butter or Ghee

          Red Palm Oil- Look for Certified Sustainable.  When unrefined it is high in Vitamins A and E and can withstand high heat cooking.

Gout can be found in dogs and other animals

Excessive amounts of uric acid in the bloodstream are not limited to only humans.  Gout can affect our loving canine and feline friends, as well.  Whereas humans are more likely to experience crystal deposits in the joint extremities, animals tend to grow uric acid crystals in their urine.  When animals are unable to assimilate calcium and other minerals, abnormal uric acid and calcium levels can also deposit into the paws, toes, elbows, neck, ears, and tongue.  This is know as calcified skin lesions, or Casinosis Cutis, and more common in breeds such as Boxers and Boston Terriers.  Calcium “Gout” can also create a chalky liquid that can ooze from the paws.

Gout can affects both cats and dogs, however, some breeds are more commonly predisposed by genetics.  These breeds include Dalmations, German Shepherds, English Pointers, Rottie’s, Labs, and Irish Wolfhounds.

Dalmations are unable to convert uric acid into allantoin.  The liver cells are unable to absorb uric acid further blocking the ability to excrete it through the urine.  This makes the breed highly susceptible to stone formations.

Canine gout symptoms include the chalky liquid oozing from lesions, bloody urine, lumps in the paws, bleeding of the paws, painful walk/gait, stiff and painful joints, mood and behavioral changes, lethargy, gritty urine, and/or frequent urinations in small amounts, and lumps on the neck.

Canine Gout is also linked to hip dysplasia and most commonly found in this form amongst German Shepherds.

These conditions are typically treated much like humans, with the same basic prescription drug approach that present themselves with a host of dangerous side effects.   Typically canines are treated with Allopurinol just like their human companions and suffer the same fate of effects that include cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Sometimes Colchicine is prescribed, but must be specific for an animal as the human’s version is deadly.

There are ways to treat both human and animal inflammatory conditions safely and naturally.  Aside from better dietary options, herbal nutrition can help support and rebuild the very functions of the body that are misfiring and causing these issues.  Improving cellular health, blood flow, urine output, and enhancing both kidney and liver function can be done with the right combination of herbs.  This approach can greatly improve, even eliminate, these uric acid and calcium build ups.  There are some wonderful, all natural anti-inflammatories on the market that include just the right combination of herbs to attack these imbalances once and for all.  We’ve heard of great success treating both humans and animals the same with herbal combinations.  The only thing you need to be good at is tricking your furry companion into swallowing a capsule.  Easy peasy!

Is Distilled Water Good or Bad for you?

In a desperate search to consume a safer water source than the parasite, dioxin and chlorine ridden tap water, many resort to distilled water.  Contrary to popular belief, distilled water is acidic.  Distilled water is boiled until it evaporates. This vapor is then condensed back into liquid form.  Hypothetically, distilled water should present you with a neutral pH balance around 7 to provide you with an alkaline and purified drinking source.  However, carbon dioxide in the air dissolves into the water immediately upon exposure decreasing the pH and turning it acidic.  Couple this with the fact that the distillation process strips the water of its minerals and could lead to electrolyte imbalances in the body.  When you consume mineral free water over a long period of time the body will pull electrolytes from your tissues in order to function properly and eliminate waste.

Did you know that soda and other soft drinks are made with distilled water?  As if they aren’t already bad enough for us, heavy soda consumers are literally stripping and dumping large amounts of vital minerals (calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals) into their urine.  Mineral loss can quickly lead to any number of degenerative diseases including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hypothyroidism and more.  Minerals are essential to our body’s pH balance and acidic environments only speed up aging and disease development. 

In addition to the above dangers, the loss of calcium and magnesium can also lead to tooth decay.  Distilled water also lacks enzymes that are essential to the proper digestion of food and could cause acid reflux, as well as other digestive system complications.

What is the upside to consuming distilled water?  For short term use (no more than a few days to a week at a time), distilled water can be used as a detoxifier to draw toxins and heavy metals out of the body.  This is not to be confused with use during a fasting, but rather used to mildly cleanse.  Fasting already causes rapid loss of electrolytes and distilled water would be a dangerous combination.  Avoid cooking with distilled water as it can also leach minerals from your food.

Some believe by simply adding minerals back into their distilled water they’ll be able to counter the negative impacts of long-term consumption.  Studies have shown supplementation to help, but cannot fully eliminate the deficiency and acidic issues. 

Can distilled water help people with Gout?  The most important word in that question, is water.  Water is an essential key to uric acid removal, on many levels.  Proper hydration can reduce the amount of uric acid flowing through the bloodstream and making its way into the joints.  Water can help dilute the concentration of uric acid and help keep it in a soluble form to aid the kidneys in excreting it from the body through the urine and bowels.  Close to 30% of uric acid is eliminated through the bowels and dehydration can lead to constipation.  Distilled water specifically?  Distilled water is absorbed into the bloodstream quicker than others because there aren’t any minerals to slow it down.  Therefore, it does have the ability to dilute concentrations of oxalate, uric acid, calcium, and sodium faster than filtered, tap, or spring water.  In essence, distilled water can reduce the main causes of kidney stones and gout attacks.  However, as we’ve noted above, diseases, including Gout, are reliant upon a healthy pH balance in the body and essential mineral resources to prevent their growth.  This is much more important long-term.  Hydration is what truly matters and that can be achieved with healthier water.  Used for a few days to help quell an ensuing attack would be ok, but long-term use should avoided.

What should we be looking for as our main water source?  Ultimately, our water should not be too acidic or too alkaline, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5.  It should be rich in minerals and free of toxins such as bacteria, viruses, and chemicals like chlorine and fluoride.  If you have access to a high-quality spring water, that would be best.  Water filtered through reverse osmosis can be used, but minerals will still need to be supplemented with this source.  It is also safe to install a good home water filtration system and drink that filtered water.  A good system can also be installed to the whole house to remove impurities such as chlorine from the water you bathe in.


New evidence of increased risk of death with Febuxostat (Uloric)

According to the latest CARES trial, the Gout drug Febuxostat (Uloric) failed up against Allopurinol when it came down to a combined rate of fatal and nonfatal adverse events for those that suffer with both Gout and Cardiovascular disease.  In fact, there was a significant increased risk of death for those that took this drug for Gout while also suffering from heart disease.

The trial was mandated by the FDA and consisted of 6,190 patients, 84% of which were men.  Cardiovascular risk is naturally increased in patients with Gout.  The study was attempting to look at any difference in outcome for these patients taking Febuxostat, a nonpurine xanthine oxidase inhibitor, or those taking Allopurinol, a purine base analogue xanthine oxidase inhibitor.  The patients were followed for a median of 32 months, and a maximum of 85 months.  Without diving into all of the ratio statistics, the all-cause and cardiovascular mortality rate was higher in the Febuxostat group, 34% and 22% higher respectively.

Xanthine oxidase inhibitors are designed to block the enzyme that helps your body make uric acid from xanthine.  This sounds great in theory, but begs the question, where do the purines go when they are halted from this natural conversion?  We do know purines can be stored in the fat, but where else might they go?  Although this hasn’t been theoretically proven, it is very common for the liver to become ‘fatty’ while taking this type of drug.  Could those newly developed storages be the “lost” purines?

Common side effects of taking Febuxostat include:

  • nausea
  • joint pain
  • rash
  • inaccurate liver function test results
  • gout flare ups
Call your doctor if these continue or are bothersome:
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Red, hot flush to face or skin
  • Stomach upset or pain
Call your doctor right away if these occur:
  • Allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in vision
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Dizziness
  • Fast, irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
  • Gout pain
  • Muscle aches or pains
  • Severe headaches
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Unusually weak or tired
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin

More serious complications can occur.  As noted above, cardiovascular risks are increased.  In addition to those risks, liver injury is also very possible.  If you have to resort to trying this drug, be sure to have your physician check your liver function before you begin and monitor thereafter.  It is important to know the symptoms and get help immediately.  These warning signs include:

  • Liver injury. Symptoms can include:
    • tiredness
    • lack of appetite
    • unexplained weight loss
    • discomfort in the upper right part of your abdomen
    • dark urine
    • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
    • cold sweats
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • sudden dizziness
    • sudden, unexplained tiredness
  • Stroke. Symptoms can include:
    • weakness or numbness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
    • sudden confusion
    • trouble seeing in one or both of your eyes
    • sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
    • sudden and unexplainable severe headache

Source: http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2018/03/07/15/53/mon-8am-cares-cv-safety-of-febuxostat-and-allopurinol-in-patients-with-gout-and-cv-comorbidities-acc-2018

Does Exercise Help Reduce Inflammation?

Regular physical activity can offer us a multitude of health benefits.  Recent studies show just 20 minutes a day can produce anti-inflammatory effects, adding to the already lengthy list of how fitness can support our bodies.  That’s right!  In addition to reducing heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of Diabetes type 2, reducing the risk of cancer, improving metabolism and weight loss, strengthening the heart, muscles, and bones — regular exercise can also reduce inflammation and your chances of suffering from other inflammatory conditions.

Twenty minutes a day is all it takes.  Researchers believe that exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which increases the heart and breathing rate, releases certain hormones, and triggers the body’s anti-inflammatory responses.  This type of activity can help suppress the overproduction of monocytic cytokines.  Cytokines play a broad role to help our immune systems fight and respond to disease.  They can be helpful to ward off and attack dangerous pathogens.  However, an overabundance can actually CAUSE disease, chronic inflammatory diseases.

One cytokine in particular, TNF, can help cells proliferate and send pro-inflammatory cells to the site of an injury and/or threat to the body.  TNF can also kill cells, including cancerous ones.  This is one of the many cases where ‘too much of a good thing’ can be problematic.  Studies have shown exercise to reduce this specific cytokine, furthering the reduction of excessive inflammatory responses in the body.

Study after study has shown extended exercise programs to reduce markers of inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP).  However, there are also studies that show acute spikes in inflammatory markers, namely stemming from strenuous endurance event training or simply working out too hard, too often. Chronic cardio, training and competing constantly for marathons/triathlons, daily Crossfit, etc. is an easy way to turn acute inflammation into chronic inflammation.  Like anything else in life, moderation and common sense is key.  The body needs activity, sometimes intense, but it also needs rest.  Over-training can be almost as dangerous as remaining inactive, especially when it comes to inflammation.  Generally, if you listen closely enough, your body will let you know which direction you are pushing it.

There are tons and tons of great workout options at your fingertips.  There are even low impact workouts that can really pack a caloric punch without killing and stressing those precious joints.  Low impact does not have to translate to low intensity.  Those suffering with joint pain, including Gout and Arthritis sufferers, know all too well how dangerous high impact exercise can be.  If you are able to perform high-impact exercises, be sure to limit them to 2 or 3 times a week, on non-consecutive days.  Be sure to also limit the amount of time you spend exercising on high-intensity days.  More than 20-30 minutes of high-intensity exercise will INCREASE inflammation.  Moderate exercise for up to 60 minutes can reduce the inflammatory markers.  Go for a brisk walk.  Go for a swim.  Take a nice bike ride.  Lift some light weights.  Learn yoga.  Start slowly, build up, increase your flexibility and mobility, be smart, stay hydrated — but GET MOVING!

Why is the liver so important?

This large, meaty organ sits on the right side of our belly and plays a vital role in the balancing of our metabolic system.  It is the largest organ and one of, if not the most, important.  We need the liver to process all of the nutrients in our food – protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals.  We need the liver to filter out all of the toxins that enter our body.  We rely on  the liver to convert food into energy, clean out poisons (including alcohol), help to digest our food, help produce hormones, store glycogen, and regulate generally every important function of our metabolic process.  The liver literally receives 30% of the blood circulating through your body every minute in order to perform its detoxifying and nutrient absorbing tasks.

The liver keeps you energized.  While carbohydrates can provide the body with energy, it is the liver that actually manages its distribution.  Once the gastrointestinal tract breaks the carbs down into glucose, the liver regulates and maintains the healthy levels.  The liver will actually store any excess amounts, in the form of glycogen, and convert it back to glucose whenever your body is in need.  Typically, this is necessary when you exercise, fast, or simply in between meals.

The liver also turns fat into energy.  This powerhouse organ breaks down fat, and its compounds, converts it into a form of a storage molecule, and pulls from that storage whenever your body is in need.  When energy levels are low the liver is able to convert these resources back into glycerol and fatty acids in order to provide an alternative energy source.  This liver is able to filter the blood and remove any harmful cells, microbes, and hormones.  This is done through the liver’s production of bile.  Bile is stored in the gallbladder.  Toxic invaders are neutralized and sent to the intestines or the kidneys to be excreted out of the body via the urine and bowels.

The liver does much of the same when it comes to protein by taking the amino acids that were broken down in the intestines and removing the nitrogen (which turns into ammonia), quickly converting it into urea, so this dangerous substance can be excreted through the urine.  The excess amino acids are then either turned into fat for storage, or used to create glucose when energy is needed.  The liver also stores all of our vitamins and minerals and can deliver them to the body whenever it is in need.

When it comes to Gout, liver function is essential key to the puzzle.  While the liver is busy with so many important jobs, it can leave something as natural as uric acid “on the backburner”.  Uric acid is not seen as foreign or dangerous by the body, and in fact is a necessary protector of our DNA.  If we are overloading the liver on a daily basis and it has to focus on all of the jobs we mentioned above, it simply won’t have the time to deal with uric acid.  Any excess will be stored and eventually attack you.  Gout occurs when the excess is unable to leave the body and builds up in storage areas including the liver, the blood, the fat, the tissues, and ultimately in the joints where it can attack.

The liver is hard at work for your body day in and day out.  Show your liver some love as taking care of this organ is the absolute best thing you can do for your body.  Eat right, exercise, take some liver-loving supplements, and do your best to avoid unnecessary damage to this essential organ.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the hidden dangers

Acetaminophen (also labeled as Paracetamol, or more commonly known as Tylenol) is one of the most widely used OTC (over the counter) pain medications on the shelves today.  Most of us don’t even think twice about taking something we can readily obtain from a local store when the occasional ache or pain calls for such.  However, acetaminophen may just be one of the most dangerous choices on the market.  Even when taken as prescribed, acetaminophen can be potentially life-threatening.  As with many OTC medications, we tend to be a bit too liberal with dosage recommendations, rarely fearing taking 3 or 4 rather than the suggested 2 pills.  When it comes to this pain reliever, failing to adhere to the recommended dosages could prove to be lethal.  Severe health problems like liver damage and death have been reported even in so-called “mild” overdoses.  In fact, hospitals deal with more acetaminophen overdoses annually than they do opiate overdoses.  I can only imagine the shock and dismay, or your utter refusal to believe such a statistic — especially considering you’ve probably never heard of any of this…..

Each year acetaminophen is responsible for more than 56,000 ER visits, 2600 hospitalizations, and approximately 460 deaths due to acute liver failure.  It is THE leading cause for Poison Control calls, topping 100,000+ annually.  Nearly half of all acute liver failure cases in the US are due to acetaminophen poisoning, even when used as recommended daily over a few weeks time period.

Your risk of overdosing can dramatically increase if you mix a regular dose with any other narcotic such as hydrocodone and codeine, drink alcohol while taking acetaminophen, take more than the recommended dosage, and/or if you mix more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen.  It is important to be aware of how much of this pain-reliever is found in common cold medications.  Acetaminophen is also found in popular prescription drugs for pain such as Percocet and Vicodin.  If you are out after a night of drinking, you may want to consider reaching for a different medication in hopes of curbing the inevitable hangover headache.  Combining alcohol and acetaminophen can increase the risk of kidney damage by 123%.  If you have any college age children, be sure to pass this vital information along to them!

Sadly, the FDA has known about the seriousness of the dangers involved with even minor abuse of this medicine, yet continued to sweep it under the rug for over 30 years.  Finally, in 2009 warning labels were added to the product.  In fact, just recently the FDA decided to urge physicians to avoid prescribing any dosage containing more than 325mg as there was no evidence of its benefit vs. its risk of major liver damage.

How exactly does it cause liver damage?  Acetaminophen depletes levels of the body’s chief antioxidant, glutathione.  This antioxidant protects the cells from damage caused by free radicals.  In fact, rapid administration of N-acetylcysteine (an amino acid precursor to glutathione) can help curb acetaminophen’s toxicity and prevent death.  In addition to liver toxicity, Acetaminophen has been indicated in studies as altering our gut health, kidney and heart health, posing a cancer risk, showing an increased risk of autism, adhd, and altering brain health when used during pregnancy, altering reproductive function, and causing severe skin reaction and asthma.

When it comes to our specialty, Gout, the liver and kidneys are responsible for effectively eliminating uric acid from the body.  Due to the intense negative impact acetaminophen can have on both of these vital organs, many have experienced relentless attacks at the hands of this “pain-reliever”, and likely had no idea of its contribution.

It is crucial to remember that just because medicine like this is readily available without a prescription doesn’t make it safe.  Short term use at recommended levels can be helpful and necessary at times, just be smart.  If you are regularly using acetaminophen or any other pain reliever for chronic pain, consider alternative methods to obtain long-term goals of repair, rather than dangerous band-aids like Tylenol.  Enhancing your gut health with probiotics, increasing your inflammation fighting ability with omega-3 fatty acids from a high-quality Krill oil, maintaining proper levels of Vitamin D and other important nutrients, and considering all natural pain relievers such as Curcumin (Turmeric) and Boswellia can go a long way towards a much safer and healthier approach to repairing the underlying causes of your pain.


Gout, uric acid, and risk of death

Gout affects an estimated 4% of the population, or around 1 in 25 people.  Evidence suggests this number is growing and is certainly affecting a larger demographic than in the past.  A lot of confusion has surrounded the specifics on how high levels of uric acid may affect the heart and kidneys, even when acute Gout attacks are not present.

There have been studies attempting to separate the mortality rates of those with other risk factors, namely cardiovascular disease and diabetes, from those with just Gout and/or high uric acid levels.  The findings seem to suggest that Gout and high uric acid levels are independently responsible for higher death rates across most age, sex, and race subgroups independent of other pre-existing conditions.  The University in Limerick found those with the high serum uric acid levels displayed at 77% higher risk of death from all causes, and a 209% higher risk of cardiovascular death.  While pre-existing conditions such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc. are strongly associated with a higher death risk, the results did not decrease by much when those factors were removed.

What does this mean for the Gout sufferer?  Quite simply, it’s crucial to address this condition directly and avoid hiding behind prescription medications.  There is a long history of diet misconceptions, poor suggestions, lack of expertise when it comes to diagnosis and control, and general prescription drug dangers that only aim to Band-Aid, or worse, hide the symptoms.  While this condition was once seen as an extremely painful nuisance, its single-handed ability to increase one’s death risk makes it too critical to ignore.

If you do a search on the internet you will find all sorts of ‘information’.  Don’t eat this, drink apple cider vinegar, drink cherry juice, ask for an Allopurinol prescription, etc…..  We can tell you first hand, following some of the diet guidelines you will be given will have you eating flour and sugar while avoiding healthy “higher purine” foods such as Cauliflower.  This make no sense whatsoever.  Following a low purine diet will get you in trouble.  Purines only account for 30% of uric acid production.  The other 70% stems from other resources such as dying cells.  Do you think sugar alters healthy cells, or cauliflower?  Exactly.

If you are searching while under an attack, you will find yourself desperate for quick fixes.  No one could blame you.  However, long term goals need to include a full understanding of exactly how uric acid operates and what causes something your body needs (protects the DNA), to attack you so viciously.  DO NOT become complacent about Gout control and a strong maintenance program when the pain is not present.  Just ask anyone suffering from chronic Gout and large tophi deformities how important it is to always control it to avoid its detrimental development.  These people will be able to provide you the most accurate picture of just how devastating years of various Gout drugs and hiding from the inevitable can prove to be.