There are two sources of acidity/alkalinity in foods and drinks:
* the acids that leave no ash when burnt.
* the minerals that leave ashes when burnt. They include alkaline ashes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, selenium ash) and acid ashes (chloride, phosphorus and sulfur ash).
There are two schools of thought about the impact of foods and drinks on the ph of our bodies:
s1. The ph of a foods and drinks in their natural states is what counts. For example, tomatoes have ph=4~5. Therefore tomatoes are acid food.
S2. Ignore the acids that leave no ash. The minerals that leave ashes are the only ones that impact our body ph. For example, tomatoes have more alkaline ashes than acid ashes, therefore, tomatoes are alkaline food.
S2 has some problems. For example:
* first of all, we eat tomatoes and not tomato ash.
* before tomatoes are digested and absorbed in the intestine, their ph have to be raised to 7 in duodenum (first part of small intestine). This requires alkaline pancreatic juice, therefore, tomatoes use up some of the body's alkaline store. Furthermore, when acids in tomatoes are metabolized they produce co2. Unlike burning the acids in tomatoes in the open space where co2 disappears in the thin air, co2 is trapped inside our bodies and turns into carbonic acid (h2co3) and lowers our body ph. Hence, tomatoes are acid food.
* commercial vinegar is 4~8% solution of acetic acid (hc2h3o2) in water which leaves no ash when burnt. If s2 is correct, we can safely replace drinking water with high strength of acetic acid in water. If we try this, I am sure we will get sick very quickly. Hence, s2 cannot be correct.
* when we consume acidic foods or drinks, the acids in them, or their metabolites, compete with uric acid (ua) for excretion in the kidneys, reduce the amount of ua excreted, and elevate the blood ua levels. This can cause the imbalance of the ua levels between the blood and the joint fluid and result in shedding of the protein coatings on monosodium urate (msu) crystals in the problem joints to trigger gout attacks. If s2 is correct, tomatoes should not trigger gout attacks. But they do.
Therefore s2 is incorrect.
Cherry tomatoes produce fruits earlier (in 60 days) than larger tomatoes, e,g. Beefsteak (in 100 days). Therefore, cherry tomatoes have shorter photosynthesis life and produce more potent gout triggering acidic fruits. The ph of cherry tomato is 4.0, beefsteak 4.6, roma and vita gold 5.1, and super marzano 5.2. That means cherry tomatoes are 4 times as acidic as beefsteak, 12.6 times as roma and vita gold, and 15.8 times as super marzano. This explains why cherry tomatoes trigger gout attacks in some people whereas large tomatoes do not bother them.
Tomatoes are low in purines. They trigger gout due to their low ph.
You have mentioned tomatoes (ph 4~5) and cucumbers (ph 5.12 - 5.78) as possible triggers for gout due to their acidity.
However, on looking at the list at http://vm.Cfsan.Fda.Gov/%7ecomm/lacf-phs.H
tml, there do not appear to be many foods that have ph > 6 and of those a lot of them appear to be either high or medium purine foods. Which doesn't leave much to eat!
What ph level foods would you consider to be reasonably "safe" during a gout attack and to avoid an attack. If it is not as simple as this, what other factors need to be considered in putting together a gout-friendly diet.
I am very sorry you are having a gout attack. "emergency gout treatments" section in http://www.Icuredmygout.Org describes what to do in such situation. Based on the 86 responses to my survey, 51% said baking soda in water is "extremely useful", 17% "very useful", and 15% "useful" in treating gout. Also, based on the limited number of people who wrote me, baking soda seems to work the best when it is taken with nsaids or colchicine. Check with your doctor before trying baking soda as it may not be appropriate for you.
Gout can be triggered by sudden increase or decrease of the blood uric acid (ua) level. It can also be triggered by lowering of the joint fluid ph as the results of the lowering of the blood ph, injuries to joints, flares of other types of arthritis, etc. It is very common that when allopurinol or benemid is initiated, it rapidly lowers the blood ua level to cause the imbalance of the ua levels between the blood and the joint fluid which causes the shedding of the urate (msu) crystal coatings and triggers gout attacks. It has been reported that gout attacks also occurred after having big purine-rich meals -- presumably causing sudden increase of the blood ua level and triggers gout attacks. People also reported to have gout attacks after eating too many (low ph) tomatoes, cranberries, etc.
Most of the foods and drink are acidic. We maintain the blood ph at 7.4 by excreting acid substances by our lungs and the kidneys. While the rate of excretion is rather stable over time, the rate of the lowering of the blood ph caused by the consumption of foods and drinks is not. Therefore, it may be ok to eat certain number of tomatoes throughout the day; whereas, it may not be ok if the tomatoes are eaten altogether only in one occasion in the day. The main idea is: consume less low ph foods and drink, and avoid eating and drink them only in a few occasions during the day. Use of alkalizer, including baking soda in water, helps raise the body ph.
Modern medical and dietary advice no longer insist on strict low purine diet for gout patients because it can lower the blood ua level by 1 mg/dl whereas the ua lowering drugs can do it by 2-3 mg/dl. Besides, the strict low purine diet often causes mental stress to patients; and, mental stress itself is a gout trigger.
As to what to eat and drink during gout attacks, the main idea is: to keep purine intake constant to avoid fluctuation of the blood ua level, and to raise the body ph. That means: keep your regular meals, drink 2-3 litres (quarts) of alkaline (ph>7) water a day, avoid alcohol, acidic foods and drinks, drink baking soda in water (if it's appropriate), etc. Dark colored cherries and berries contain anthocyanines which is anti-inflammatory and can soothe the gout. You have to eat about 30-40 fresh cherries or equivalent amount of dark colored berries or their juices every 2-4 hours. You may like to go over section 3 of http://www.Icuredmygout.Org to see if anything mentioned there can help.
P.S. Many medicines do not list gout as a side effect, but they can trigger and prolong gout attacks. For example, lipitor does not include gout as its side effect but it does include generalized swelling, and pain and inflammation in joints -- the conditions that can trigger and prolong gout attacks. If you have changed your medication lately, you may like to examine their side effects and take appropriate actions if necessary.
Hope your gout attack will be over soon. Take care.
By the logic used in the original post, couldn't one just use baking soda (or another base/alkaline) to bring the ph of the foods we love up to 7.0 or higher? I only ask this because I am a frequent juicer and I love spagetti. My lunch juice usually consists of Tomato, Carrot, Onion, Greenpepper, and Garlic. All of these are acidic. I've found that by adding just a few teaspoons of baking soda I can make my normal juice blend from a 5.2 ph to a 7.2 using a digital ph meter. I'm wondering if this would also be viable for things like tomato soup and spagetti sauce.
Well the baking soda sounds like a good idea, but upon closer observation it is Sodium Bicarbonate (AKA Salt). 1/8 tsp is 6% of your sodium for the day even though it doesn't taste salty. There must be somthing out there somebody can use to bring up the PH in food that isn't loaded with sodium.
That's all b#llsh1t. Your blood pH is very accurately maintained by your body. Nothing you drink or eat will change that. Unfortunately, Uric acid contains the word "acid". Now everybody thinks acidic foods/drinks are bad for you. Not true. For example, lemon juice raises the pH of your urine. Ie, alkalizes it. The crystals that cause gout is called urate, which is a salt. Urates come from metabolized purines, which are manufactured in your body, and ingested. Period. Get fit, lose weight, eat right, drink lots of water, and when you get an attack, use colchicine and NSAIDS. I've NEVER seen a fit, slender healthy lifestyle person with gout. Stop spreading nonsense on the internet. Some people are gullible and believe that cr#p.
Johnno I'm a fit, slender healthy lifestyle person who's suffered gout attacks for the last decade. Stop talking in absolutes you can't back up, and if you've never suffered from gout then you clearly won't appreciate the general desire to geo off pharmaceutical drugs! Take your self indulgent narrow sighted talk somewhere else.
Thank you for all the info. As with your site they are very informative.
You suggest to avoid acidic food during gout attacks. But as you also mention, most foods are acidic. On looking at the list at http://vm.Cfsan.Fda.Gov/%7ecomm/lacf-phs.H
tml, there do not appear to be many foods that have ph > 6 (very few above 7) and of the highish ph ones a lot of them appear to be either high or medium purine foods. Which doesn't leave much to eat at all!
What ph level foods would you consider to be reasonably "safe" during a gout attack, eg foods with ph > 6 or ph > 6.5? Does it depend on the tolerance of each person? Does your experience suggest any rule of thumb: eg avoid foods ph < 5 (except cherries!); limit foods with ph between 5 and 6?
You can start with foods and drinks that have ph>6.5. If there aren't enough to eat and drink, you can then move down to >6, then >5.5, ... The main idea is: the higher the ph the better, and to have smaller portions of foods and drinks that have lower ph. Dark colored cherries and berries have anthocyanins which is anti-inflammatory and can soothe the gout. But their ph's are rather low. I wonder if we can increase the efficacy of their juices by mixing baking soda in them to raise their ph.
During the gout attack it is more important to keep the blood uric acid (ua) level stable than to lower it, because sudden lowering of the blood ua level can worsen and prolong gout attack. Therefore, even if your regular diet is high in purines it is better to stay with it than to change it to low purine diet suddenly. You can change to low purine diet gradually after the gout attack is over.
Just a comment on the power of baking soda to increase ph. Baking soda is a powerful agent to increase ph in the body. Not only for humans but also horses. For the last 2 decades baking soda has been used by horse trainers to greatly increase the performance of race horses in sprint and middle distance races, by administering baking soda as a drench prior to racing. This increases the alkalinity (ph) in the body and thus the negative effects of the lactic acid produced in high intensity racing is greatly reduced by the alkalinity and the horses run faster. The issue of trainers using baking soda milkshakes became so large in australia that all horses are now tested after winning for alkalinty levels and very severe penalties are given for "baking soda milkshakes"
According to my former rheumatologist, humans are the only mammals that get gout. All others have a natural enzyme in their blood that breaks down the uric acid. Birds can get gout, so they are sometimes used for laboratory experiments about the disease because mice, being mammals, don't get it. There is even one published study showing that high levels of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can induce gout attacks in broiler hens. I can only guess that the study was undertaken because sodium bicarbonate is often added to their feed.
Thanks one and all for the help! I have had gout for many years and control it only with natural and advil& tylonol at times in the past I have had steroid shots and all the other related medicine. The breathing thing is what gathered my intrest. I like swiming and when I am, I am breathing stronger. I cant remember having gout during those times. Hence I will practice breathing more regularly during the day and at stressed moments when my breath unconciously go to rabbit pace (short shallow strokes). Also I love cherry tomatos and two days ago I ate a whole plant worth mmmm good, Yeah I'm really paying for that stunt. Thanks to youall my recovery time will be shortened, and I am very thankfull to you compasionate friends
I had my first episode with gout this time last year. I was in denial at first. I thought gout was for old overweight people, not me. I am 53 and in pretty good health, except for my back. It is mid July and my garden is in. I love fresh tomatoes. I usually don't buy them, but rather wait until I grow them to eat many. I love fried green tomatoes, baked green tomatoes, tomato sandwiches, and tomatoes as a side for all meals.
This time last year I had what seemed like a pulled muscle on top of my left foot. It came on very suddenly, overnight. It lasted about 4 days. I asked everyone I could about it, but no help. About 3 weeks later I had a similar attack on top of my right foot. It lasted 2 weeks, and much pain. I made an appointment with a DR. but the attack had subsided by the time I got to see the DR. He suggested gout, but I didn't believe him.
I haven't had an attack for a year now, until this week. Over the weekend the joints in my left hand were sore. Monday my right foot started to be sore in the ankle joint. Tuesday morning I couldn't walk. I got back on the computer and started researching again. I started tracing my eating habits, and came up with the tomato idea. I found this site, and similar sites that suggest it was possibly from tomatoes. My last tomato was on Monday. My foot is MUCH better on Wednesday morning. I can even walk on it today straight out of bed (Wednesday). I expected to be down for a few weeks, but I do believe that I have found the problem. I still think that I can have an occasional tomato in moderation. I also believe that my overindulgence caused my attacks.
Your overindulgence in tomatoes may be a contributing factor, but if your gout attacks come on while you are asleep, the principal cause is probably sleep apnea. Your gout attacks are a warning of sleep apnea. Get checked out for it, and follow the recommended therapy to overcome it. You will greatly reduce your risk for developing many serious diseases, and you will also cure your gout so that you can indulge in eating tomatoes to your heart's content.
I'm a long-time gout-sufferer. I've tried baking soda and it helped, but only a little, not the magic bullet that some guy seems to suggest. Regarding tomatos, that is an interesting possibility. I have read multiple places about cherry tomatos triggering gout. I don't ever eat them so never could observe it myself. But I have some regular tomatos from time to time, but probably not often enough to observe a linkage. But regarding tomatos versus tomato sauce: My brother is allergic to fresh tomatos. If he eats so much as a nibble, he will break out in a rash for days. But he can have tomato sauce no problem. Seems that when tomatos are cooked, their acid content changes, and then it's not a problem for him. So, for gout, I would speculate that tomato sauce is probably OK.
Gout - pH value of natural food versus pH value after eaten ?
Started using baking soda effective June 20-2010 (and intend to carry on for next 2 weeks maximum) to simply cleanse deposits in right toe joint. Let's see if baking soda would do the trick for me.
Question Your article suggests avoiding low pH food and selecting higher pH food for gout sufferers. However, lemon/lime has low pH value (because lemon/lime is citrus acidic product by nature and thus low pH value is understood). However, my internet research on gout topic, has revealed that lemon/lime are more alkaline forming food (lemon/lime has pH of 8~9 after digestion), In short, what that website is saying that the actual pH value of food is NOT important and what is important is how a human body converts food after it is consumed. In other words, after eating, the same lemon which was acidic to begin with has now become an alkaline producing food. If this is the case then should we go by: A) actual pH value of food (in this case lemon/lime has pH of 2~3? or B) should we go by food's pH value after digestion (in this case lemon has become alkaline and has produced pH 8.5 ~9.0).
I think I know your answer. You would say stick to pH value of natural food (rather than pH value after digestion).
Please note, I have consumed bottles and bottles of 100% acidic pure lime juice (assuming that it would alkaline surplus acidic fluid in my body). I would appreciate if you would visit above noted website and explain CONFUSION. I had read that website first. Thus, I followed it. Now I am learning that I may be wrong with respect to avoiding acidic food. I should not have consumed so much lemon/lime water (to attain alkalinity). Thanks.
Very much baking soda is probably not a good idea. Sodium, you know. Baking soda is Sodium bicarbonate. Perhaps a regular calcium carbonate antacid would be better. besides, you neutralize two equivalents of acid with calcium carbonate, whereas sodium bicarb only neutralizes one equivalent. Also, keep in mind that pH is only part of the story. One must consider how many equivalents of acid are present in a food.
OK, My gout attack was subsiding and so I wanted to make sure not to eat meats. So I went spaghetti with a heavy tomato sauce and within one hour my bloody foot was screaming painful gout ouchie again. Cherries and bananas to the rescue with advil and soon the pain was manageable but my foot is still a balloon. At that time I didn't blame the spaghetti and red sauce until 2 more days of the same treatment. Each time as the pain and swelling going down, another round or red sauce and pasta and BAM OUCH WAHHH whoa is me crap again. Tonight I'm going pasta red sauceless and it will be the crown jewel of realizing it's a bad thang I'm hoping.
I have often wondered how much of a role the individuals digestive system plays. I have read many articles discussing acid and alkaline food based on their post digested ash content. However, it seems to me that these articles assume everyone has a perfectly healthy/functioning digestive system (which is a far cry from reality).
The truth is millions of elderly Americans simply do not produce the stomach acid necessary for complete digestion. Then, we have many millions more popping acid blockers/reducers on a regular basis. So, to my way of thinking discussions about acidifying or alkalizing ash is almost meaningless to those with ineffective digestive systems (which may be a majority of Americans middle age and over).
To these millions of people tomatoes, lemons and other such foods are acidic going in, and acidic coming out . And, I think that may be part of the reason tomatoes does trigger gout in some, but not others (who have a healthy digestive systems, or, at least, somewhat more efficient).
It is strange that in all the discussions concerning gout, and/or alkalizing foods, the individual digestive system is never considered (brought up).