Researchers Find “DASH” Diet, Sodium Intake Strongly Impact Gout Risks

AUGUST 15, 2016
Ryan Black
Rheumatology, rheumatism, gout, uric acid, diet, public health, DASH diet, diet, gout treatment, gout management, internal medicineA healthier diet can lower blood uric acid levels, reducing flares of gout. The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a regimen that emphasizes portion control, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy while minimizing consumption of saturated fat and total fat.

While in most scenarios, it would seem obvious that a healthy, controlled diet would facilitate better health, a new study from Johns Hopkins University looked at how precisely the DASH diet could bring down uric acid levels. 103 adults were randomized and assigned either the DASH diet or a typical control diet, with three different levels of sodium intake across the two groups.

DASH was found to bring down blood uric acid levels by .35mg/dL across the board. For those with regular levels of 7 mg/dL or more, numbers associated with gout, the effect was more dramatic: a reduction of nearly 1mg/dL. The findings, according to a correlated press release, suggest the DASH diet is an “effective, non-pharmacologic approach to prevent flares in patients with gout.”

Most surprising about the study; however, was the impact of sodium on uric acid levels. The researchers hypothesized that higher sodium would correspond with higher uric acid levels, but found the opposite to be true: those in the higher salt intake groups saw a corresponding reduction of uric acid. The exact mechanism for this trend was not observed.

The study was recently published in Arthritis and Rheumatology. About 55% of the study’s subjects were females, who are typically less likely to suffer from gout than men, though 75% were African Americans, who usually are more likely than whites to have gout. The researchers said their observation of the relationship between sodium intake and uric acid levels “enhances our knowledge of urate pathophysiology and risk factors of hyperuricemia.” 


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