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Gout Dugout.Issue #052 Michael Murray on gout | Frank Bruni's gout | gout drugs companies in demand
April 25, 2012

Hello and Welcome to the April 2012 issue of the Gout Dugout gout newsletter. The 10 minutes' read that can give you good ideas for dealing with gout and high uric acid. If you find it hard to read from a computer screen, by all means copy and print.


When I first started researching natural gout remedies about six years ago, one of the people I soon heard of was Michael Murray ND. That's ND not MD because he is a Naturopathic doctor. Murray was the co-author of The Condensed Encyclopedia of Healing Foods which has a useful section on gout. And on his website ( he had made available a very well researched article on celery and celery seed extract for gout.

Murray dipped beneath my horizon for a while, but a week ago I was reminded of his work when I listened to him being interviewed about his gout treatments and his use of natural gout remedies. What makes listening to this especially worthwhile is his status as a Naturopathic doctor who has experience of using natural gout remedies. These gout remedies are without question more searched for by folk who find than the site's pages about gout medications.

So I recommend you find 10 minutes to listen to this video (link below) with your ears especially attuned for what he has to say about cherry extract for gout.

Note he seems to prefer this to cherries themselves or their juices, probably because, like me, he thinks insulin resistance is the leading cause of gout. In which case those who have gout, and if this is their cause, should cut down/out sugar, a carbohydrate. Some brands of cherry extracts, such as one at Traverse Bay Farms in the U.S. (link below) don't have much sugar – less than 1 carbohydrate gram per serving.

But Murray also has experience of using other natural remedies for gout, so listen to what he has to say about celery seed extract for gout, grape seed extract for gout and pine bark extract for gout. The latter two are rich in the anthocyanidins and pro anthocyanidins that seem to be good for gout symptoms.

Dosages Murray recommends celery seed extract for gout, 150 mg twice a day. And if he prescribes cherry extract, it's 300 mg, 3 times daily. Like me, he also thinks fish oils (for their EPA and DHA) are good for gout, 3,000 mg of EPA plus DHA daily. That’s 3,000 mg of EPA plus DHA not 3,000 mg (or 3 grams) of fish oil. i.e. you need much more than 3,000 mg of fish oil to get 3,000 mg of EPA plus DHA. In many brands 1,000 mg (1 gram) of fish oil delivers about 300 – 400 mg of EPA plus DHA. Grape seed extract and pine bark extract - 300 mg daily is enough.

This is a lot of fish oil and at this level I'd suggest you speak to your doctor, (because high dose fish oil can have its side effects too) and make sure you buy very refined fish oil. There is more about this on this page of When you are at this page, click on the link to learn what is pharmaceutical grade fish oil. And read all linked pages to this page to learn more about fish oils for gout.

Click here to listen to the interview with Dr.Murray.

If you can order from the U.S., the Fruit Advantage tart cherry extract from Traverse Bay Farms in Michigan has very little sugar.

Traverse Bay Farms Award Winning Gourmet Fruit Products

Alternative Health Research/Flamasil™


Being a restaurant food critic isn't such a good job after all. Last month came news that Frank Bruni, the former restaurant food critic of the New York Times, and the author of Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater has gout. He has had attacks in his big toe and his left heel.

A counterpart across the pond in Great Britain, the former food editor of The Guardian newspaper (but still a contributor), Matthew Fort, has suffered from gout for over 10 years. Although he may now have it under control.

There will be other food critics with gout elsewhere. It's a hazard of the trade. And the wonder is more chefs and food writers don't get it. Or maybe they do, and keep it quiet because it wouldn't be good for business. Rather like a Minister of Health who still pops out of the building for a cigarette.

As you know from my piece about Jimmy Saville's gout a few months ago, I like to dissect what I can of the reasons why people get gout. And then write it up so that you, the gout aware reader, is forewarned, or reminded. You often find they ignore warnings, and this was true of Frank Bruni too. Doctors had told him since his early twenties that his uric acid was high, but the warnings were ignored, Jimmy Saville style. Bruni seems to have binged almost nightly for five years on a de luxe expense account.

Was it really meat? Because Bruni ate so much meat his gout opened up a debate about meat and gout. Of course you can expect the chattering classes, i.e. print, radio and T.V journalists and these days Internet bloggers – and mainly those who operate at a national or semi national level - to beef about meat, wine and butter, and they did when writing about Frank Bruni's gout. However, Bruni himself, being I guess a bit more savvy about gout, was more understanding about meat than others. He said he has now limited his meat to about 16 ounces a week. And a few shrimps. Sixteen sounds about right to me but personally I'd go for twenty one.

Those chatterers I read completely ignored the fact that fish, shellfish and especially offal (organ meat), cause gout too. And I suppose you can't expect them to know about the insulin resistance cause which makes a high carb diet, generally, just as prone to be a dietary gout cause as excess meat, fish and alcohol, which is the purines cause. None of the articles I read correctly identified high purine foods. None said that about 2/3 of our body's purines are home-made in the body and don't come from food and drink. And none said that sugar, and maybe fructose, can cause gout. But they chucked their pens at meat as a gout cause.

And you wonder why humanity is in such confusion about what it ought to eat.

Frank Bruni had high uric acid, and it has to be said he did eat enormous amounts of meat.

He reported meat might have made up half of his calorie intake on a normal day, and perhaps two thirds on a special one. And of course this feasting, together with the alcohol and the offal (organ meat), which includes foie gras, (made from the livers of specially fattened ducks or geese), may have caused his gout.

But so too might have insulin resistance. Or the fact that he had struggled with his weight for years – being overweight leads to insulin resistance and that causes gout too. And being overweight is associated with a heightened risk of gout from elevated uric acid which rises as weight is gained. All this is to say that meat is a possible gout cause but much less likely when you follow an "all things in moderation philosophy."

So Frank Bruni, if you read this, and I know you've spent time on gout websites, note that insulin resistance causes gout too – perhaps now the leading cause – and you need to hear that all that pasta may make your gout return.

I'll end this one here, and go off for my 3 ounces of roast beef sandwich, and my daily glass of cherry juice.

The UASure is a DIY home uric acid test kit. It measures the level of uric acid in the blood. Click on the link below to visit a company who can ship it world-wide, including the United States and Canada, from Britain.

I say this because it cannot be bought in many countries.


Last year some gout sufferers in the U.S. caused quite a storm over the price of the "new" gout medication Colcrys, an improved colchicine. Its developers, a U.S. based business called URL Pharma, was criticised (criticized) in many media and by many gout sufferers, because the FDA handed URL Pharma a monopoly for Colcrys until the end of July this year and URL Pharma jacked up its price.

The piece I wrote about this is here.

The news is that Colcrys and febuxostat in the U.S. (Uloric, Adenuric, Feburic) are to be owned by the same company. Febuxostat's ultimate owner, who patiently developed this better-than-allopurinol drug, is the Japanese based Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Ltd. Its American subsidiary, Takeda America Holdings Inc., will buy URL Pharma and the deal with be sealed in June, just weeks before the Colcrys monopoly runs out.

I won't write more about this because I know most people are not much interested in who owns the pharmaceutical brands they use, unless the price gets hiked. What is more relevant to us is that at the end of July Colcrys will lose its "marketing exclusivity" in the U.S. We shall wait to see who enters the U.S. colchicine market in the hope that viable competition will lower its price.

Takeda America said that bringing Colcrys and Febuxostat together would enable them to reach more gout patients. I wonder why, but that sounds like something positive for patients.

This is a U.S. deal. It doesn't apply to colchicine elsewhere.

In a separate development, U.S. based Ardea Biosciences, who are developing the new gout drug Lesinurad (RDEA594), will be purchased by the British based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca PLC for US$1.3 billion. That's a great signal that Lesinurad will complete its Phase 3 trials and gain medical authority approvals.

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Time flies and cherries will be back in season by the end of May in many places. In next month's Gout Dugout gout newsletter you'll be able to read why making your own cherry juice is a good idea, for anyone with gout or high uric acid. And it's not because money might be saved. There is another reason.

Thanks for reading and all the best of health.

John Mepham BA.(Econ).

799, Infantry Street,
Palar, Armor Vllage,
Makati City 1201,

P.S. You may distribute this newsletter freely and free-of-charge, providing any links in it remain unchanged and it remains intact. Partial copying is not allowed.

NB. The contents of this newsletter contain medical information, not medical advice. Please always discuss gout remedies with a doctor, or other health care professional, before implementing any treatment.

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