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Thanks for all the comments, everyone. (You sure lead an interesting life Hansinnm!) Just to recap on the subject discussed:
Climate: Yes, I agree with you Hansinnm. There appears to be a correlation with well-being under sunny, dry climes when it comes to gout and arthritis and an increase in misery under grey, wet and cold conditions. Probably explains the annual exodus of the English oldies to Spain around the end of October. The link between gout and arthritis is not clear to me from the available scientific data but my own body can attest to it.
Diet: I read Keith?s last post concerning Gout Food Lists and I agree. I can only report on what has worked/not worked for me. At 6 foot and 12 stone I could hardly be described as overweight. So, after I returned from a gout free holiday in Thailand only to celebrate with a rare 10oz rump steak at a local restaurant followed by exploding knees for two weeks, I took the general internet advice about ?red meat?. I cut out all beef and lamb for the rest of the summer and replaced all my favourite recipes with ?white? pork . . . until someone pointed out that pork is also considered ?red? in some dietary circles. So I cut that out as well. So far so good, but the nagging question of what it is particularly about ?red meat? that causes gout led me to more research. I assumed it was fat content but it appears that it is the purine content, something that is all-prevalent in foods and the body, which is the culprit. Fair enough: except when you see that chicken is also fairly high in purines yet much of the internet advice suggests that it isn?t a big factor in acerbating the gout condition. Anybody have experience of gout under a chicken diet?
Alcohol: Similarly, what is it about the medical profession?s obsession about alcohol? I know that my alcohol consumption was greater in sunny Thailand than at home but the gout was non existent. From what little information I can distil from the internet it would appear that the alcohol threat comes under three general headings:
- What little statistical research has been performed suggests that gout is more prevalent in beer-drinking males. This may be so but it hardly takes into account other relative environmental factors such as stress, climate, eating habits, etc.
- As with ?red meat?, beers and lagers do contain purines although measurements are in mg per litre as opposed to mg per 100 g in foods. I admit this could be a factor, hence the reason why I latched onto the relatively low purine concentration of cider. Also interesting is the number of web sites that conclude that wine has no demonstrative influence on gout attacks. Again, does anyone have more data on purines in alcohol, or any other component of alcohol that might present a risk?
- Whilst a high purine diet may increase the quantity of serum uric acid produced by the body, the other side of the coin is the body?s ability to excrete it. Simple balance sheet: if you produce more than you can excrete then the difference builds up as crystals. Excessive alcohol is said to inhibit the body?s ability to excrete the uric acid (presumably, the ?dehydration? effect). That suggests that the answer is to drink moderately and ?take plenty of water with it?! That, by the way, doesn?t mean I would subscribe to the government?s diktat of Four Units A Day (or one unit if you?re over 65)! I reject any One Size Fits All government policy as a matter of course.
Sorry if this is all a bit simplistic. I have no biology education; in fact, all this is an existential attempt to understand what is afflicting me. I would be very happy for someone to put me right here.
One Postscript: My local pub (which is a mere 30 seconds walk from my house) sells Thatchers and Stowford Press, Keith. In the interests of furthering scientific endeavour, I?ve switched allegiance to the latter for the duration (it?s cheaper than lager, too).