Keith’s GoutPal Story 2020 Forums Please Help My Gout! Uric Acid Uric Acid and Iron – a bad mix for gout

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    Al O’Purinol

    Uric acid serves as an antioxidant in the blood.   This is true only for man and some of the great apes.   Most animals have the capacity to produce their own vitamin C which circulates in their blood and provides the antioxidant protection they need.   Our bodies can't produce vitamin c but we do get it from our food.    This vitamin c (ascorbate) circulates in our blood adding to the antioxidant protection that uric acid provides.    This double protect helps, in part, to explaining our longer lifespan than many animals.    The uric acid also combines with free-floating iron to form a complex that protects the ascorbate.   These uric acid-iron complexes are very important in the formation of the monosodium urate crystals that are central to gout. 

    The body needs iron but in its free form it is toxic to the body.   Iron is unique among the minerals in that it acts as an electron donor and receptor.   It is very capable of harming the body's cells as it gives up and takes eons. While the body desperately needs the right amount of iron, it also needs to protect its cells from the harm done by free-floating iron.   The body works very hard to do this.    Under normal circumstances,  only one percent of the iron in your body is free floating. However, under some circumstances, that percentage can go up leading to gout. 

    The body protects itself with different protein structures (red blood cells, transferrin, ferritin, etc).   Once stored in the structures, the iron doesn't harm the body's cells.    Instead, it serves a number of useful functions.   The problem is that these structures can only hold so much iron.    Eventually, they become saturated.   The more saturated, the less iron the body needs to take in in its diet.

    The body has a protective mechanism in its intestinal lining that controls how much iron is allowed to enter the body from the food that is being digested in the intestines.   The more saturated the body is with iron, the less iron is allowed to pass through the intestinal lining.   The less saturated the body is, the more iron is allowed to pass through.   The system works well, except that if the food contains certain substances (fructose, alcohol, etc) more iron will get through than the body needs.   The result is too much free-floating iron which is too toxic to the body.

    The protective mechanism in the intestinal lining is the first line of defense to too much free-floating iron. The protein structures  are the second line of defense.   The uric acid-iron complexes may be the body's third line of defense.   This is in an idea that was put forward by a research team of Ghio, Ford, Kennedy, & Hoidal.   I believe they are right!

    Consider this idea.  The body is being confronted by too much free-floating, toxic iron which has made it past its first line of defense, the intestinal lining.   The toxic iron is in its bloodstream and is damaging its cells.   Normally, it would store the iron in the protein structures, the second line of defense, but these are saturated.   Its only remaining option is to generate a massive amount of uric acid.   This uric acid would then unite with the free-floating iron to form the uric acid-iron complexes.   These complexes minimize the harm the iron does but doesn't stop it entirely.   In a sense, the iron is stored as in the case of the protein structures but not as well.  (It’s an imperfect world and the body is making the best of a bad situation.)    The uric acid is being generated by the body to deal with this free-floating iron as a kind of stop-gap measure.  

    This is where the work of the research team ended.  Basically their work and that of others have proven that iron is very much a major factor in generating the uric acid.   It is also involved in the inflammation process.  


    Uric Acid & Iron Overload
    Is your iron overload causing the uric acid crystals of death?

    Iron controls the enzyme xanthine oxidase which turns the purines into uric acid.   The more iron that is available to the enzyme, the more uric acid is produced.   The uric acid-iron coordination complex serves as the nucleus around which the urate crystals grow as more uric acid forms around the crystals.   The more iron, the more crystals.


    Women menstruate up to a certain age and lose copious amounts of blood containing the iron rich molecule hemoglobin. As a result we are bombarded by a need for iron supplementation. Alas, men have no such automatic bleeding cycle and have no means of disposing of excess iron, which I agree can be extrememly detrimental…although I hadn't heard of the gout connection but don't doubt it. (Some European research has connected free ferritin with a large increase in heart disease risk as well.)

    What REALLY infuriates me is when all choice is removed and the government mandates the addition of extra iron to ALL grains and that means every grain of rice and every noodle sold in the United States. Thus I, as a retired man treating gout for 20 years MUST subject my body to assaults of iron supplementation with every plate of pasta and every slicee of bread whether I want to or not to make up for my regular loss of blood. 

    Well, if I ever start menstruating or take up prizefighting, I guess it will be all for the best.

    Comparable nonsense would be requiring all people regardless of sex to have annual prostate exams.


    What if you gave blood regularly?


    That's exactly what many men do to dump excess iron.

    I would do the same but since I had Hepatitis A 35 years ago, nobody wants mine. Perhaps I will remain silent about it and let them test my blood after I give it…if they want to discard it, so be it.

    Something like a pint donation 4 times a year seems reasonable.


    Well looks like i'm off to the blood bank least it will benifit somebody if not me. Thanks Zip


    I’m trying to find a place now around my area to give blood, if I can.? I wrote to the American Red Cross, so maybe they can lead me.? I live near two small towns.

    I was reading up on too much iron today when I had a chance.? It’s so scary, and it’s basically worse than being anemic. Also,? there’s more people today that have iron overload. What’s weird to me is that you can be anemic, but you can still have iron overload. And you have to get the correct iron test done. A CBC isn’t going to tell you if you have iron overload.? Dr. Mercola has a good write-up on this.? I didn’t save the article, but you can Google “Dr. Mercola, iron overload” or something.? He names the specific tests.

    That iron overload can totally destroy your liver, various other organs in your body and heart.





    Here are a couple of online searches to find blood donation by zip code:

    Americas Blood Centers [bad link removed]
    American Red Cross

    In the UK:
    Give Blood



    Thanks for posting that. I found one kind of close, so I’ll check into that.

    Oh, I read a post that someone made yesterday about gout and giving blood. He said that he’s had gout for 20 years, and he gives blood all the time. It helps his gout.


    Thank you. @Tizawiza77 for reopening this issue. There is slightly more information available than when I wrote my first gout and iron article. I’ve revisited gout and iron today, and made myself a note to add some specific practical advice to the guidelines.

    In essence, donate blood whenever you can, and adopt the best dietary control you can. It is notoriously difficult to control iron through diet, but some simple changes can make a difference.

    Simple things like taking green tea with a meal, and eating dark fruits between meals should help.


    Here’s a warning for anyone looking to control gout through dietary control of iron: Be Careful What You Read!

    I’ve been looking at current advice available, when I came across a quote from a book on Amazon called “Super Foods for a super healthy you” by Peter Kornfield. He reckons:

    spinach in iron and other minerals, and the greens are helpful in cases of gout since the iron helps purify and oxygenate and your bloodstream


    Doesn’t know Gout, doesn’t know Iron, and doesn’t know English Grammar.

    To be honest, neither did I a few years ago, but I’ve learned a lot about gout, and a bit about iron. Who cares about grammar?

    Ane ZR

    Dear Keith,

    I tried to find your response to thank you for answering my question regarding ‘uric acid machines without strips’ . As you posted they do not exist in the market at this moment, just informing you that I have bought a uric and glucose machine and I will post my feedback regarding if it helps to prevent gout, let’s hope so. I understand that it is better to start using it when there is not any remaining balance of the gout? With many thanks


    Thanks @ane-zr. If you want to start a new topic, please fill in the add new gout topic form.

    To find old responses, it’s usually easiest to use the search box near the top of every page.


    Guarantee most folks with Gout will have a Ferritin level over 300 to 500 if not more. Every blood donation you will lose about 20 points. Make sure you take copper as this is the reason you are absorbing Iron in the first place. After 35 with testosterone loss you decrease copper absorption thus increase Iron absorption. There is an Oxford study done on humans “in vivo” on phlebotomy and remission of gout. Basically it says to get below 100 for rh- and 80 RH+for Also while Green Tea is a great Iron chelation mechanism stdies on wheat grass have shown to kick Irons ass. I read a study on pub med how it actually shown on par with prescription chelators. I’ve recently started on allopurinol but I’ve also started reducing my ferritin levels as well. I tested ferritin at 400 which is high, uric acid was 6.9. I plan on getting ferritin down to 100 but while I’m lowering it taking allopurinol.


    Is your Oxford study the Facchini one from 2003: Alternative Treatment For Gout ? Blood Letting ?

    GoutPal HelpDesk

    If you are reading this via the email update service, I strongly recommend you subscribe to the new GoutPal Forum Update Service.

    This topic about uric acid and iron is closed. But, you can still discuss uric acid and iron in the new gout forum.

    Or, you can start your own topic to share your questions, experiences, and opinions about iron and uric acid.

    In this topic, we discussed various aspects of donating blood as a gout treatment. Researchers continue to tell us excess iron causes gout and other inflammatory diseases. But, what is the best way to donate blood to avoid gout-causing iron? If this concerns you, can you help me Improving Gout & Iron Guidelines?

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