Strawberries and gout. What did a study have to say ?



This page about a strawberries and gout study was last reviewed or updated on April 15 2017

We describe here a study that actually examined whether strawberries lower uric acid.

There is more said about cherries and gout than strawberries and gout. But strawberries have also interested gout researchers for a long time There are present day reports from gout sufferers saying strawberries help their gout in addition to the best known one from the famous 18th century botanist Carl Linnaeus

Like cherries, strawberries for gout need more studies, especially for long term eating. Meanwhile we must wait for the strawberries' puzzle to be solved. But here is one.

STRAWBERRIES AND GOUT STUDY –  A TEASING RESULT

This study was  among 11 or 12 healthy participants who were not gout sufferers. It consisted of two experiments - two planned strawberry eating events to see what happened to their blood uric acid, Vitamin C and total antioxidant’ strength in the blood. Uric acid is an antioxidant and it is a major contributor to total antioxidant strength.

The classic strawberry image - a full bowl

First, there was a “strawberry splurge” by 11 participants who ate a kilo of fresh strawberries in just 10 minutes. After 3 hours strawberries had not lowered uric acid. But measurements after 3 hours were not taken. In a cherries study, cherries managed to lower uric acid in 5 hours

The second experiment was a more sedate 500 grams of strawberries a day for 16 days, eaten by 12 participants usually in the mornings and afternoons. It came up with a curious “yes and no”  result. The finding was that on average among 12 participants, strawberries did not lower uric acid, but in some individual cases it seems that they did. And by a lot. Among the 12, some lowered uric acid by 50%, others saw it rise by 20%, and in the remainder, uric acid remained unchanged. (1) and (3).

However, in this study, participants’ daily fluctuations of uric acid were not measured or accounted for, before they ate strawberries. Daily uric acid levels do fluctuate as those measuring them with uric acid meters know. This might be one reason for the dramatic rise and fall seen in the blood uric acid level of some participants. Neither was the purine content of what else they ate measured.That would also affect their uric acid.


HOW MIGHT STRAWBERRIES LOWER URIC ACID ?

If strawberries have lowered uric acid, it’s probably their vitamin C that is the major reason. Then perhaps  their flavonoids (see the strawberries page entitled strawberries for gout). And then the folate (folic acid) may also have helped. Strawberries are one of the top food sources of folate – between 25.5 mcg/100 grams and 54.4 mcg/100 grams of strawberries. (2) Moreover, there are anecdotes and suggestions by experts saying that folate (folic acid) can also lower uric acid.

So in the 16 days’ trial, 500 grams of strawberries a day, (that's two large bowls a day), which delivered around 300 mg of Vitamin C daily (60 mg/100 grams x 5) had boosted Vitamin C in the blood by 33% This could be enough to lower serum uric acid based on what we know of Vitamin C, although 500 mg daily of Vitamin C (and more) would be more likely the minimum amount to consume to get a reduction of uric acid. As far as their folate is concerned, there’s probably not enough in strawberries to have a uric acid effect 


"We're the gout berries, so we're sometimes told "

How might vitamin C affect uric acid ? Not by encouraging the breakdown of purines which could raise it. But more likely by, in some way, stimulating the kidneys to expel more in the urine. And thus lower the blood level. The other substances in strawberries which interest gout researchers because they have been  associated with  lower uric acid in other studies, are all in fairly small amounts –  the anthocyanidins (except pelargonidin of which strawberries have a useful amount), flavonols like kaempferol and quercetin; the flavan-3-ols - catechins (also found in tea). We don’t really yet know. Many are also found in other berries for gout.

The scientists running this study thought from what they observed, that there is enough in the strawberries are good for gout story to ask for more studies.

So what’s your plan for strawberries? Eat them and cross your fingers !  Buy ripe, fresh berries if you can. Part of the problem of their inconsistency, is that the best are most likely to perform the best. Success probably depends too on harvesting and growing factors, and cultivar type. Frozen are OK too, but not canned, because of the sugar. The question of strawberry quality is worth your time on research.

Despite those folk who report success with strawberries, don’t expect too much, because others don’t find success.  If they don’t halt flares they might reduce their incidence. So be alert for that.

Are strawberries bad for gout? One study found they raised uric acid, (4) but of course it rises without necessarily causing gout. A large majority of people with high uric acid never get gout. But strawberries don’t contain many purines, and only their fructose might conceivably raise it. Neither are there stories about gout attacks after eating strawberries – at least I’ve never seen one.

Other gout sufferers will be interested in what you have to say.
Please use the form 
on this page.


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RELATED  PAGES

Visit our main page about strawberries and gout.

18th century botanist Carl Linnaeus said strawberries helped  his gout. What exactly did he say?

Have anything to say about strawberries and gout ? Our readers would be interested to hear it. Contact us about strawberries for gout on this page.

Visit our first page about other berries for gout.


REFERENCES

(1)   Impact of strawberries on human health: insight into marginally discussed bioactive compounds for the Mediterranean diet. Tulipani S, Mezzetti B, Battino M.  Public Health Nutrition.  2009 Sep;12(9A):1656-62. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009990516.

(2)  Possibility of increasing natural folate content in fermented milk products by fermentation and fruit component addition  Holasova, M, Fiedlevova V, Roubal P, Pechacova M.  Czech Journal of Food Science 

(3)  Effects of  strawberry consumption on plasma antioxidant patterns and parameters of resistance to oxidative stress: preliminary evidence from human subjects  S. Tulipani, S. Romandini, M. Battino, S. Bompadre, F. Capocasa, B. Mezzetti. ISHS ACTA Horticulturae 842: VI  International Strawberry Symposium

(4)  Serum Antioxidant Capacity Is Increased by Consumption of Strawberries, Spinach, Red Wine or Vitamin C in Elderly Women Guohua Cao, Robert M. Russell,  Neal Lischner, and Ronald L. Prior Journal of Nutrition 2383–2390, 1998

(5)  Abstract Folate content in different strawberry genotypes and folate status in healthy subjects after strawberry consumption.   Tulipani S, Romandini S, Alvarez Suarez JM, Capocasa F, Mezzetti B, Busco F, Bamonti F, Novembrino C, Battino M. Biofactors 2008.



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