Quercetin for gout; Bromelain for gout. Both might help. Here's why

This page about quercetin for gout,  including bromelain for gout, was last reviewed, or updated, on 26 November 2018.

QUERCETIN - an anti-inflammatory and a possible xanthine oxidase inhibitor
It seems quercetin inhibits xanthine oxidase, the enzyme responsible for converting purines into uric acid, and thus reduce the body's production of uric acid. It has inhibited xanthine oxidase in test tube studies. Even the leaves of the Bougainvillea flower have yielded enough quercetin to inhibit xanthine oxidase reasonably strongly.

In a test tube study that examined certain flavonoid's effect on xanthine oxidase (XO) - quercetin was the flavonoid that performed best in inhibiting XO. (2)  And in a couple of studies quercetin has reduced uric acid in mice by encouraging its excretion.

In a 2009 Chinese study (1) on the effects of quercetin, rutin and allopurinol on rats, quercetin has both reduced uric acid production and improved its excretion

Metabolic syndrome from fructose intake and high uric acid was induced, humanely, in the rats. Quercetin improved their uric acid (as did rutin and allopurinol) but not as much as allopurinol, as you'd expect.

So that was quercetin in  rats and mice. what about humans?


The March 2016 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition carried a British study of healthy males (age 19 - 60), conducted 2013-14, which tried to learn if quercetin would lower their blood plasma uric acid.(3)  

It did.

In the experiment 22 healthy male participants took a 500 mg tablet of dietary supplement quercetin daily for 4 weeks. It was quercetin purchased at an online vitamin store, the sort you might easily buy.

At the end their blood plasma uric acid had fallen about 8% - down 26.5 µmol/Lwhich is 0.45 mg/dL. Even after two weeks.their blood uric acid had fallen about 3%. The study organisers (organizers)  thought it happened because of quercetin's effect on uric acid production, not its excretion. And uric acid fell more among those who had higher levels of it.

Is 8% a good reduction ? Well it is quite good. If you had gout at say 7.0 mg/dL (and that happens) an 8% fall would get you down to nearly the crucial 6.0 mg/dL level, at which it may clear up.Take quercetin for longer than 4 weeks and your uric acid may fall more. But perhaps more realistically you'd take quercetin (500 mg daily) to prevent a gout attack

There were no adverse events in the quercetin study.

So that study was encouraging, but more confirmatory studies are needed. This study was not among gout sufferers who may have performed differently

Rutin for gout? Possibly. It lowered uric acid too in this study.  Rutin is a flavonoid, and is added to better preparations of Vitamin C, to aid C's absorption. It is widely thought Vitamin C improves uric acid excretion. It has also inhibited xanthine oxidase in a test tube study, (2)  but not as well as quercetin, apigenin, luteolin and some of the others. 

You can read about this study in the May 2010 issue of the Gout Dugout newsletter.

But aside from its possible effect on human uric acid, Quercetin is better researched as an anti-inflammatory. Both sweet and sour cherries contain a little. So does the high Vitamin C Acerola (Barbados) cherry. It is possible this is one reason  why cherries can be anti-inflammatory.

Red onions - the best food source of quercetin

It is a five star dietary supplement, especially valued as an anti-histamine. It is also an antioxidant.

A good quality capsule of it will include a smaller amount of bromelain since bromelain aids its absorption.

Quercetin In foods  The biggest sources are: onions (said to be the richest source; red have  more than white and spring onions a little less than either red or white), apples (it’s in the skin not the flesh), watercress, pink grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, coriander (cilantro) and elderberries. And there is a small amount in sweet and sour cherries.

Quercetin In beverages Beverages containing it are tea (black tea), green tea, red wine and elderberry juice.

Dosage  An average dosage is 250mg one to four times daily. Dr.Atkins' thought the more bromelain that's taken with quercetin the better. An equal amount of each, or 50% of bromelain with 100% of quercetin.

BROMELAIN FOR GOUT - an anti-inflammatory

Any nutrient which acts as an anti-inflammatory may help as a remedy for gout's inflammation. Bromelain is a well researched anti inflammatory. It can be taken as a dietary supplement – it's often added to preparations of glucosamine, a top anti-arthritic dietary supplement and to quercetin supplements.

Bromelain In foods  Bromelain is hard to find in foods. A food high in it is pineapple, but the problem is that most of its bromelain is in the stem, not the fruit. So don't run away with the idea you will be eating lots of pineapple for it. Neither the fruit nor fresh pineapple juice will give you much. The best source by far is a dietary supplement.

Tips for taking bromelain Buy a supplement which states the amount of GDU enzyme activity on the product label rather than a brand that doesn't. Aim for 2,400 GDU. The higher the better.

Another tip - take it on an empty stomach. When the stomach is full, or somewhat full, bromelain will also act as a digestive enzyme, but you want the biggest anti-inflammatory effect you can get.

Dosage  400-600mg daily, during attacks, perhaps more if your doctor or health care professional agrees.


Read more about quercetin on our olives for gout page.

Coriander (cilantro) has lowered blood uric acid by 60% in a study. Read about it here.

Even a good ol' cup of (black) tea contains quercetin.

Quercetin for gout study references

(1) Allopurinol, rutin, and quercetin attenuate hyperuricemia and renal dysfunction in rats induced by fructose intake: renal organic ion transporter involvement.
Qing-Hua Hu, Chuang Wang, Jian-Mei Li, Dong-Mei Zhang, and Ling-Dong Kong.
State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 297: F1080–F1091, 2009. First published July 15, 2009; doi:10.1152/ajprenal.90767.2008.

(2)    Inhibition of xanthine oxidase by flavonoids.Nagao A, Seki M, Kobayashi H. BiosciBiotechnolBiochem. 1999 Oct;63(10):1787-90.

(3)  Quercetin lowers plasma uric acid in pre-hyperuricaemic males: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Shi Y, Williamson G, British Journal of Nutrition  2016 Mar 14;  

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