A reader asks about gout; historically, the “disease of kings.”


Occasionally a reader asks me about a specific medical condition. I always try to help the reader find more information and/or consult with their physician. Here is a note from Diana that I received last week.

No doubt, you've seen on television the big guy carrying the huge beaker with the green liquid.

Dear Mr. Hicks, I’m seriously considering starting your 4 leaf program.  I’ve purchased your book from Amazon, and am waiting for its arrival.

My boyfriend suffers from chronic gout, and I am quite concerned.  The medication he has used to treat his condition, while toxic in its own right, is the only thing that has allowed him to be reasonably mobile.  The FDA has banned this medication, and their recommendation doesn’t work for my boyfriend.  The alternative he’s been given is to use Tramadol, which is a serious pain medication with addictive qualities.

So far, I’ve not seen anything in your literature that addresses gout–mostly it talks about diabetes and heart disease. Will you please comment? Desperately seeking answers. Best regards, Diana

Dear Diana,

My daughter is named Diana. Thanks for your note and I hope you like our book. Not being a medical professional, I cannot specifically comment on gout. But there are numerous prominent MD’s featured in our book who believe that what we eat drives up to 80% of our cost of health care. They also believe that most of those “food borne diseases” would simply disappear if we shifted to a whole foods, plant-based diet.

I know that gout is a form of arthritis and I know that a 90-year old friend of mine was just cured of his chronic arthritis after adopting a near-optimal plant-based diet. Here’s what wikipedia had to say:

Gout has increased in frequency in recent decades affecting approximately one to two percent of theWestern population at some point in their lives. The increase is believed to be due to increasing risk factors in the population, such as metabolic syndrome, longer life expectancy and changes in diet. Gout was historically known as “the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic has reversed heart disease in nearly 100% of his patients -- with diet change only.

In our book, we talk about many other diseases of affluence that are not seen very often in populations that eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. My very strong conviction is that whole, plant-based foods comprise the natural diet for our species and that when we eat at the 4Leaf level (over 80% of your calories from whole plants), many of our health maladies will simply disappear. Maybe that will happen with your boyfriend’s gout; maybe not.

A few hours after I posted this blog, there were two very helpful comments. The first contains a video-case of a man who eliminated his gout after thirty years. The second one is from Dr. Craig Holman, a practicing podiatrist for 33 years. He said he used to see gout about once a month; now he sees it 2-3 times a week. His advice is simple. Scroll down to take a look.

I started eating this way nine years ago when I was 57. Since then, my borderline high cholesterol, blood pressure, PSA and A1C levels have all moved effortlessly into the very healthy zone while I dropped 25 pounds to my ideal weight of 155 today. Today, at age 66, I take no medications, enjoy near perfect health and rarely ever see a physician anymore — unless I have an accident. Ripped my Achilles tendon last year, and spent lots of time with our health care system during the next few months.

I often hear people talking about their list of “food allergies,” but often wonder, “What would happen to all of those allergies if they traded their toxic Western diet for a health-promoting, whole foods, plant-based diet?” My guess is that most, if not all, of their food allergies would disappear.

You might wish to send a note to Dr. Michael Greger, who recently launched a new website at nutritionfacts.org. In less than a year, he has posted several hundred videos, but this is the only one that even mentioned gout. This video leads off with Dr. Greger quoting from a Caldwell Esselstyn paper about treating heart disease. He mentioned gout only once in this five-minute video. Take a look at it and think about sending Dr. Greger a specific question.

Diana, you didn’t mention anything about his current diet in your note, but I am confident that a shift to 4Leaf would have a beneficial effect on his overall health. I wish the best for you and your boyfriend and look forward to hearing from you again. Sincerely, J. Morris Hicks.

DisclaimerThe author of this blog and the “Healthy Eating – Healthy World” book is not rendering professional advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, suggestions and procedures on this blog are not intended as a substitute for consulting with a physician. All matters of health require medical supervision. The author will not be responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion on this blog.

J. Morris Hicks, author and activist. Working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page.

And if you like what 4-Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4-Leaf Gear” store. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

SHARE and rate this post below…One more thing, occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard.

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. Leveraging his expertise in making complex things simple, he is now seeking corporate clients who are interested in slashing their cost of health care. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, where he also sits on the board of directors.
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6 Responses to A reader asks about gout; historically, the “disease of kings.”

  1. Henry Smith says:

    Gout has been the biggest problem of my grand Dad. It’s because the pain will just start from his ankle and he thinks that it radiates throughout his body. It is already affecting his ADL [activities of daily living]. Thank God he is cooperative and participated well with the ideal lifestyle that his doctor taught him. For him dealing with this awful condition is entirely up to him, whether he dwells from it or move forward over it.

  2. Clients are a combination of war and sport.
    As a small businessperson, you don’t have any greater leverage compared to truth.

  3. Brian says:

    In March 2011, I went to the doctor for my annual physical. I was coming off a bout with kidney stones and had been eating 4Leaf since December. The results of my physical examination was great and the doctor ordered blood work.

    A few days later, the doctor called and while most things looked really good, my uric acid was high at 8.9. The doctor explained the risk of gout and thought this may have been the cause of my reoccurring kidney stones (once every 2 to 3 years). He felt it was important to drive the uric acid levels down and prescribed allopurinol once daily. He also wanted me to add Vitamin B-12 to my daily regimen. I was told to go have my blood checked again in September of 2011. I continued and still continue eating 4Leaf.

    Well, as often happens, life got in the way and I failed to go for my blood work in September. At the same time, I never got around to filling my allopurinol prescription and was not really motivated to refill it because I truly believed my 4Leaf diet would take care of the high uric acid. Finally, in December, a year after changing to 4Leaf, I went to have my blood work repeated and I had been off the allopurinol for two months. The doctor called to inform me that my blood work looked great and the allopurinol was doing it’s job. My uric acid had decreased from 8.9 to 5.1 (Lab reference range 5.0 to 8.0). I did not have the heart to tell him I had stopped the allopurinol back in September. I asked him if I could stop the allopurinol and his response was, “Well, it is a low dose, you take it once a day, and you are tolerating it so I would continue taking it. The most important thing is keeping your uric acid in the normal range.” I reminded him of my 4Leaf lifestyle that we had discussed in March at my annual physical and asked him if he would mind if I stopped the allopurinol and rechecked my blood work in 3 months. Not only did I want to look at the uric acid number but asked if he would recheck my cholesterol because it was not run in December (that is the value I am interested in monitoring). He agreed.

    I have the lab sheet in hand and will definitely go in March for my blood draw. My doctor is extremely happy with my 4Leaf lifestyle and told me for the second time to inform my wife that “she will be stuck with me for a long time due to my healthy lifestyle!” I have dropped a copy of Jim and Jason’s “Healthy Eating, Healthy World” so he can better educate himself on the power of nutrition. Here’s to achieving and maintaining VIBRANT HEALTH!!

  4. Joel Turner says:

    My father and I have been battling gout for many years. It was bad enough that we couldn’t walk or move easily. In April I decided to cut out all meat and dairy. Since then I haven’t had a single flare up of gout. My father is slowly adopting this nutrition based medication rather than his perscription as well. Coming from eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it, I thought it would be hard to go the vegan route. It was actually pretty easy. With how great I felt and with all the options that I never knew existed, I have found a great lifestyle to keep me off of all of my former medications. It’s definitely worth a try to see if he can find relief naturally rather than from drugs. It’s a whole lot cheaper too :)

  5. Craig Holman says:

    I am a podiatrist having practiced for 33 years. When I first started practice I saw gout about once a month. Now I see this problem 2-3 times a week. Our genes have not changed. Our environment has. Most patients are either on a diuretic for hypertension (of course life style related) or are obese. Rarely I see someone who is normal weight without a diuretic. There is a presenation on youtube about Sugar the bitter truth that discussed the biochemistry of high fructose corn sugar. When in the liver it either goes to fat or uric acid the cause of the gout attack. Interesting that HCFS has increased dramatically in our food supply at the same time the incidence of gout has escalated. Go to a whole foods plant based diet and all will be well.

  6. huracan says:

    Diana
    We are all different and react to treatments differently, but a vegan diet has a great chance of reducing the uric acid which is at the root of your boyfriend’s issue. Take a look here….

    I hope he finds a way to regain health.

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