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Arthritis Health Center

Cherries May Cut Risk of Gout Flare-ups

Eating About 20 Cherries a Day Halved Gout Patients' Risk of Recurrent Attacks, Study Finds
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Antioxidants Credited for Cherries' Effect in Gout

The researchers credit anthocyanins -- antioxidant pigments found in red and purplish fruits and vegetables, including cherries, purple cabbage, beets, blueberries, raspberries, and purple grapes -- for the beneficial effect. Antioxidants stabilize unstable molecules called free radicals, which cause inflammation and damage cells and tissue.

Senior researcher Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, says that while the researchers plan to look at other fruits, "our suspicion is that it is an effect of cherries, which are thought to contain the highest levels of anthocyanins."

John S. Sundy, MD, PhD, a gout expert at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., tells WebMD that a lot of his patients have tried cherries. "It helps some and not others.

"I don't prescribe it and we don't know what dose to recommend. But as long as it's used as a complement and not an alternative to recommended treatments, it's hard to imagine any downside to it," says Sundy, who was not involved with the research.

The researchers hope to get funding for a more robust clinical trial in which some people with gout eat cherries and others do not.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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