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The Gout Dugout.Issue #031.Why baking soda often helps; a Garrod gout remedy; test result.
July 03, 2010

Welcome to the July 2010 issue of the Gout Dugout newsletter. The ten minutes' read that I hope gives you a couple, or more, useful gout ideas.


Last month I spent a lot of time - and I needed a lot of time because of the obscure words and the 19th century thought - reading Sir Alfred Garrod's book " The Nature and Treatment of Gout and Rheumatic Gout."

Garrod was the man who first discovered that an excess of uric acid in the blood was the cause of gout. His ten propositions of gout - what he came to believe was true about the malady - are still as true today as when he wrote this book in the mid 19th century. The only major principle of gout that he didn't know was that uric acid came from purines in foods and beverages and the body. This fact was discovered later.

Nevertheless he still had a pretty good idea of which were the good foods for gout, although he condemned wine when it's actually the only alcohol you can drink moderately when you have gout. He lived in an age and country - Britain - when and where port was considered among the leading dietary causes of gout, but it may have been the lead crystal decanters in which it was kept on sideboards in living and dining rooms, rather than the port wine itself. Unless you drank a pint a day, which they often did. But poor old port, and what a lovely drink it is, got more than its share of the blame. Even from somebody as knowledgeable as Garrod.

Fancy eating this for two months? One of his lists of good foods for gout, was virtually a low purine diet - he recommended this:

"Such a diet would include bread, arrowroot (then eaten as a root vegetable), sago, tapioca and the like, with milk, thin gruel,(thin porridge/oatmeal) barley or toast and water, and weak tea. The drinking freely of diluents (drinks that dilute eg. water for many substances) is of advantage, as it keeps up the action of the skin and kidneys, but stimulating or alcoholic beverages should be strictly forbidden."

This is low purine but short of protein, although he does say "include" so there would be more to it. I'd be very surprised if just eating and drinking this would not get your uric acid level down somewhat.

Alkaline blood remedy Garrod was a big fan of alkaline blood for gout, or as we would put it today, raising pH levels. He said he had success with (at least some, maybe many) of his gout patients using it. But his alkaline remedy did not require an alkaline diet or if it did, he doesn't say so.

Garrod did autopsies on dead gout patients and even measured the alkalinity of the synovial fluid in which some gout crystals formed, if he could. I doubt this is done anywhere today.

On the website we write about alkalising (alkalizing) the blood to make uric acid more soluble and thus more excretable. Garrod believed this. But Garrod believed something about blood alkalinity which is not yet said on the website. That is if the blood is more alkaline the uric acid in it would be less likely to crystallise (crystallize). Or as he put it:

" The causes exciting a gouty fit (i.e. flare) are those which induce a less alkaline condition of the blood, or which greatly augment for the time, the formation of uric acid, or such as temporarily check the eliminating power of the kidneys."

Here are three causes of gout. It's the first part of the sentence which applies to alkalinity.

And here is the key statement about alkaline blood for gout:

"Any diminution in the alkaline state of the blood lessens its power of holding urate of soda (uric acid) in solution and hence promotes its deposition, especially in tissues in which the reaction is naturally less alkaline than in the blood."

Remember, the body does all it can to keep blood slightly alkaline, which it does within a range of pH 7.35 - 7.45. (pH 7.0 is neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline). This is a log scale so this range is wider than you may think. You can raise its alkalinity up to the higher limit. These days you do this with water drinking, pH drops in water or water ionizers, alkaline foods, and alkaline supplements. And of course with baking soda (bicarbonate of soda/sodium bicarbonate).

Why is sodium bicarbonate so often good at ending gout attacks? Because, as Garrod says, it alkalises (alkalizes) the blood more (by removing hydrogen ions). pH stands for the power/potential of hydrogen. I guess when this happens no further crystals are deposited, and those that are, mysteriously begin to dissolve. Or, you think a gout attack is on the way and you drink sodium bicarbonated water. The blood is further alkalised (alkalized), so the crystals return to their uric acid state, and there aren't any crystals to be deposited.

Other body fluids can also be made more alkaline. Alkalising (alkalizing) urine for example is important in gout treatment because it helps to avoid kidney stones.

Limited testability The alkalinity of urine is measurable with pH test strips. But the pH of blood is only measured by health care professionals when it's in a serious condition - acidosis or alkalosis. Unfortunately you can't do this with test strips, but you could ask your doctor. You can measure saliva pH with pH test strips which gives some idea of your body's alkalinity.

Baking soda for gout (bicarbonate of soda).

So because alkalising (alkalizing) blood was a favourite Garrod gout remedy you might think Garrod was a big fan of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). Actually he wasn't, because he thought he had better alkalisers than sodium bicarbonate. But he did use it with some patients.

As far as I know, none of the main substances he used as alkalizers are available today for gout treatment. They have been lost to allopurinol, probenecid and the rest. But they may have been just as good, and of course one thing Garrod liked about them was the absence of as he put it "mischevious consequences" or as we would put today, not sufficiently accurately, "side effects."

You can read this book free, online, courtesy of Google books, if you can stand reading a book like this on a computer screen, or, as I did, buy a relatively inexpensive scanned version. The scanned version may not always have been scanned correctly but the correct word can usually be guessed. Or you can buy an original if your finances are up to that.

However much you know about gout, I guarantee you will get some big surprises. Just don't use any of his remedies without consulting a doctor. You'll get a deeper insight into the nature of the problem you are trying to resolve, and hopefully never get again.


Pantothenic acid for gout The Pantothenic acid test was disappointing.It did not lower my uric acid level, but there may have been a reason for this beyond its ability to do so.

The amount it's been said will lower the blood uric acid level is 800 mg daily so that's what I took. Because Pantothenic acid is a B vitamin (it's vitamin B5) and the B vitamins work better together, I also took daily a quite high dose of B complex vitamins - one of those bottles where there's 50 mg of most of them. I normally take 1 gram (1,000 mg) of vitamin C daily, but this amount might lower uric acid, thus confusing the cause of the result if uric acid fell. So I cut this out during the period of the test.

The Pantothenic acid was taken in the form of Calcium Pantothenate. Two different supplements suppliers were used. The first was an online purchase from an online supplier of quality vitamins in Britain, The second, a purchase from a branch of a chain of quality health food shops in the Philippines called Healthy Options, who sell imported U.S. made vitamins. So I don't think it was the quality of the product.

Two different labs measured my blood uric acid level. The first recorded it as 7.07 mg/dL (0.420 mmol/L) and the second, after the test, as 8.6 mg/dL (0.510 mmol/L). Ideally the same lab should have been used but this wasn't possible because during the test's 10 week period I moved from one country to another.

The difference between the two measurements was so large that this couldn't have been lab test variance - the slightly different results you can get from different labs. My uric acid level rose too much for this to be a factor. For the same reason, the fluctuation of the uric acid level during the day would not have explained it.

But did I give it a good enough chance?

So what was the problem for pantothenic acid which also has a reputation for lowering LDL cholesterol? It didn't do this for me either - this rose too! The confounding event was that during this period I also put on a lot of weight.

I have to admit that I only realised this might affect the result towards the end of the test. Putting on weight of course usually raises the uric acid level so the only thing I may have learnt is that pantothenic acid won't work if your weight doesn't remain more or less the same - say within a 4lbs range for men, slightly less for women.

I am therefore not convinced that pantothenic acid can't lower blood uric acid levels, and that pantothenic acid for gout is not a good idea. So I'll do this test again at a future date when my weight is normal and stable. During it I'll ensure I don't put on weight!

So now I have the challenge of getting my uric acid level down because 8.6 mg/dL (0.510 mmol/L) is high. It's hyperuricaemia and could lead to a gout attack. That's why I'm now on the Atkins diet. My weight is falling very well (2 - 3 lbs a week). I took measurements, before starting the diet, of uric acid and the Metabolic Syndrome markers which can cause gout(except insulin) so we'll see what the Atkins diet can do. I'll announce preliminary results when sufficient weight has been lost to do some tests.


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If you want a free pH food chart with 45 alkalizing recipes, click on this link to and when the home page arrives, the download link for the chart is on the right. You can print out the food chart, so that you can take it with you when you go shopping for food.

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If you are on's mailing list their 4 July offer is one free bottle of green superfood capsules for one purchased bottle of green superfood powder. Thirty alkalizing ingredients in each bottle. You can sign up for mailings on the home page.

If you are not a subscriber to the Gout Dugout, this free monthly gout newsletter, you can sign up at this page.

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Among other items, next month I'll announce the result of our banaba test. Banaba is the S.E. Asian medicinal plant, best known for lowering blood sugar, but which one major study found lowers uric acid. Did it do this for my volunteer? We'll publish the result, and he hasn't put on weight to confound the banaba effect.

Thanks for reading, and all the best of health.

John Mepham BA.(Econ).

799,Infantry Street,
Armor Village,
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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