Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and reduced salt and saturated fats.
This diet specifically designed to lower blood pressure may also help suppress gout flares, revealed a new study.
The study conducted by researchers from the John Hopkins University suggested that DASH diet can lower uric acid levels equal to that of common gout medicines. People with gout may follow the dietary approach as a safe and effective way to keep their flares under control.
Gout is a disease characterized by higher levels of uric acids in the blood. Its common symptoms include joint pain and severe inflammation. About 8.3 million are suffering from gout in the United States.
Researchers conducted the study among 412 adults. Half of them followed the Dash diet and the other half a typical American diet. They also examined the association between sodium and uric acid levels in patients with gout.
Their diet comprised of a low (1.2 gms a day or half tsp), medium (2.3 gms a day or one tsp) and a high level (3.4 gms a day or 1.5 tsp) of salt in random order.
At the end of the study, researchers collected blood samples for analyzing different blood markers. They have identified that DASH diet resulted in decrease in the concentration of uric acid, by an average of 0.35 mg per deciliter. But the diet greatly reduced uric acid levels in people who had a higher baseline levels of uric acid.
In people who had a baseline level of 7 mg per deciliter, the decrease was as much as 1.3 mg per deciliter. Common gout medications like allopurinol reduce uric acid levels by 2 mgs per deciliter.
Also, they found another interesting association between sodium and uric acid level in people with gout.
Till date, researchers thought that higher levels of sodium increased uric acid levels in gout patients. The reality, however, was vice versa. Patients who followed a high sodium diet had greater reductions in their uric acid levels.
However, authors cautioned that gout patients must not consume a lot of sodium as most of them are diagnosed with high blood pressure. They conclude that additional research is needed to understand the mechanism by which DASH diet reduces uric acid levels.