Patients with gout who consumed cherries over a two-day period showed a 35 percent lower risk of attacks compared to those who did not eat the fruit, new research has found.
The findings, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, also suggested the risk of flare-ups was 75 percent lower when cherries were combined with the uric-acid reducing drug, allopurinol. SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.
"Our findings indicate that consuming cherries or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack," said Dr. Yuqing Zhang, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University. "The gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days."
About 8.3 million Americans suffer with gout, a form of arthritis in the joints that causes excruciating pain and swelling. Past studies have suggested cherry products have urate-lowering effects and anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce gout pain.
For the new study, Zhang and colleagues tracked 633 gout patients for one year, monitoring their symptoms and medications, including cherry and cherry extract intake the two days prior to the gout attack. A cherry serving was one half cup or 10 to 12 cherries.
In an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Allan Gelber from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Daniel Solomon from Brigham and Women's Hospital said while the findings are promising, they "would not advise that patients who suffer from gout attacks abandon standard therapies." SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.