CherryCherries may no longer be good just for topping sundaes. A United States study of Gout patients, published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, linked eating the fruit with a 35 per cent to 75 per cent lower risk on having an attack.

But the lead researcher, Dr Zhang Yuqing, a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, warned that the study does not prove that cherries alone prevent gout attacks, and that patients should stick with their gout medication.

Gout arises from the build up of uric acid crystals in the joints. The body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines – substances found naturally in the body and in certain types of food, such as offal, anchovies and mushrooms.

The researchers recruited 633 patients over the Internet to take online surveys about their attacks.

Cherry2 All of them had been diagnosed with gout by a doctor, had had a gout attack in the last 12 months, lived in the US and were at least 18 years old. They also had to release their medical records to the researchers.

The patients filled in surveys at the start of the 12 month study, every three months thereafter and every time they had an attack. They were asked about their symptoms, the drugs used in the treatment and certain risk factors, including what they had eaten.

Of the 633 patients, 224 said they had eaten fresh cherries during the year, 15 said they had consumed cherry extract and 33 had both. The researches collected information on 1,247 gout attacks.

Overall, the researchers found that eating cherries over a given two-day period was linked to a 35 per cent decrease in the risk of having a gout attack during that period, compared with not eating cherries.

Consuming cherry extract was tied to a 45 per cent risk reduction, and eating both fresh cherries and the extract was tied to 37 per cent lower risk.

Cherry3The biggest risk reduction of 75 per cent came with eating fresh cherries while taking the anti-gout medication allpurinol (Lopurin, Zyloprim).

One possible reason is that vitamin c, with is found in cherries, can influence the amount of uric acid in a person’s blood, said Dr Allan Gelber, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study.




Source: Straits Times (october 18 2012)


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