Gout is regarded as a form of arthritis. It affects 0.5 % of the world population and can be a hereditary ailment.

95% of cases of gout occur in men.

Gout is typified by an accumulation of uric acid crystals that tend to collect in areas of the body where the temperature is lower. It is predominantly seen in the big toes, but other body parts may be affected.

Uric acid is produced when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are naturally found in the body and in many foods.  It is excess uric acid which causes the formation of uric acid crystals in the body. This can be caused by either inadequate elimination of uric acid by the kidneys, overproduction of uric acid in the body or high intake of purine rich food sources. 


Symptoms of gout develop quickly and typically occur in only one joint at a time Gout usually develops in the big toe joint, but the disease can also affect the ankle or knee.

Common symptoms include the following

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

Contributory factors

Genetics – Approximately one in four people with gout have a family history of the disease. In addition a genetic disease called Lesch-Nyhan syndrome causes a defect in how the body processes purines. This leads to excess production of purines, which in turn causes the high uric acid levels implicated in gout. 

High purine diet – Regular over indulgence or steady consumption of purine rich foods can greatly increase the load of uric acid the body has to process. If the body is not able to properly excrete the excess uric acid then the small uric acid crystals that cause gout may start to form. If you have a family history of gout or are a current sufferer, Smart Nutrition can can give you expert advice on how to alter you diet to reduce your uric acid load.
Plus, Smart Nutrition will be able to recommend particular foods herbs and supplements that will help your body to eliminate the excess uric acid that has built up. 

Dehydration – The kidneys are responsible for removing uric acid from the blood, a process which is heavily reliant on water. Consequently, dehydration can precipitate a gout flare-up and exacerbate sufferer’s symptoms. Dehydration can occur for many reasoning; such as not drinking enough, sweating, using diuretics and drinking lots of caffeinated drinks or alcohol. 

Nutrient deficiencies – Several vitamin deficiency states may directly or indirectly lead to muscle cramps. For example, a deficiency in calcium or magnesium leads to higher levels of uric acid in the blood.A NutrEval – MOT Health Test will give you a comprehensive overview of nutrient status and can be used to target key deficiencies that may be exacerbating your symptoms. Smart Nutrition could then work with the test results and provide diet and supplement recommendations to help you manage your condition and boost any possible nutrient deficiencies. 

Heavy metal toxicity – Recent research indicates that lead poisoning may also be a factor in the development of gout. Lead toxicity interferes with the hormones that control blood potassium levels. The resulting potassium deficiency then leads to high uric acid levels in the blood. Lead toxicity can be identified by a hair mineral analysis. If your lead levels are found to be high Smart Nutrition can advise you on a suitable detoxification regime.


Medications – Taking certain drugs can reduce the body’s ability to remove uric acid or interfere with blood potassium levels. These include medication such as diuretics, salicylates e.g. aspirin, insulin, antibiotics and the Parkinson’s drug levodopa. If you regularly use these pharmaceuticals and suffer from gout it may be advisable to consult Smart Nutrition who may also be able to help you deal with the underlying problems, reducing your need for medication. 

Weight management – Weight is involved in gout because uric acid levels in the blood are increased in people with a higher body weight. This means obesity is a huge risk factor for gout. However, severe dieting can hinder uric acid excretion by the kidneys. Dieting may also cause a loss of potassium, which can increase uric acid levels in the blood. Therefore, a proper diet, done slowly and with the support of a nutritional therapist is the safest solution. Why not consider a Smart Nutrition Weight Loss Package to help you to make simple changes and keep motivated until you achieve your target weight. 
Degenerative conditions – Purines make up part of every tissue in the body. Having any form of degenerative condition which results in excessive breakdown of cells will therefore lead to increased levels of uric acid, which may lead to gout. Investigating and treating underlying degenerative conditions can help reduce gout symptoms or prevent its onset.

Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy leads to the destruction of large numbers of cells, both cancerous ones and our own body cells. Since purines are an integral part of all cells, large scale cell destruction creates a high purine turnover and an increase in uric acid. If the body if unable to excrete this extra uric acid, gout can develop. 

Useful Links

Please do not return samples to the laboratories that may arrive after Wednesday 27th March and up to and including Monday 2nd April.

The laboratories are closed from the 28th March – 2nd April for the Easter Holiday.