Nutritional Epidemiology

Does Lemon Juice Help to Get Rid of Gout?

Max Carmody, MSc

There is some evidence that lemon juice may help to get rid of gout. However, not much research on the subject exists, more research needs to be done to draw conclusive results.

What is Gout?

Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis. Generally it affects one joint, it is especially common for it to affect the big toe. But it can also affect other joints, such as the knees, or ankles. Sometimes symptoms will flare and get worse, and sometimes they will get better. A flare can come up very suddenly and last for days to weeks. The underlying cause of gout is a condition called hyperuricemia. This can happen when too much uric acid is in the body. The body makes puric acid when it breaks down purines, purines are found in the food you eat and in your body. When there is a lot of uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals can build up in joints, fluids, and tissues in the body.

What are the Risk Factors for Gout?

There are multiple risk factors that can put one at risk for hyperuricemia, which is the cause of gout. Certain health conditions such as hypertension or diabetes can increase your risk of developing gout. Some medications, such as taking diuretics, are another factor. There are also some risk factors related to diet and the things a person ingests, such as alcohol, eating foods high in fructose, of having a diet high in purines, which are found in seafood and many types of meat. If you would like to read more about gout and what foods increase your risk, here are some more blogs I’ve written on it:

Does Eating Red Meat Increase Risk of Gout

Does Fruit Juice Cause Gout

Does Lemon Juice Help Gout?

One study followed patients with Gout, as well as a control group without Gout, and had patients drinking 2 freshly squeezed lemons in 2 liters of water a day. In the study all individuals who were given lemon water showed a reduction in Serum Uric Acid (high levels of which may lead to Gout). The study concluded that lemon water may be useful in the treatment of gout, however it concluded that more studies are needed to be sure. This appears to be the main study on lemon juice and gout, there is not a lot of other research out there.

How Lemon Juice Can Help to Combat Gout

Lemon juice has three main properties that may help with gout attacks. These are citric acid, vitamin C, and postassium. Gout attacks occur when the body’s ph falls below 7, towards the acidic end of the scale. This is known as acidosis, and it is an excess in uric acid in the body of gout patients. Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, tangerines and clementines have been shown in studies to help dissolve uric acid. Out of these, lemon juice has the highest concentration of citric acid. 

Lemon juice also has a high level of vitamin C. According to some studies, the more vitamin C men consumed, the less likely they were to develop gout. It is believed that this is because of the fact that Vitamin C protects against gout through lowering serum urate and assisting in it’s removal through the kidneys. There isn’t that much evidence that Vitamin C helps with gout in people who already have it though, the evidence is more that it helps with prevention of gout. However, some studies do show that vitamin C can help to relieve gout pain. 

Potassium, as mentioned earlier, is also present in lemon juice. Some studies have indicated that potassium citrate can help to lower acidity in the body. Lemon juice contains organic salts like citrate and malate. These salts can help to expel uric acid through uric acid, neutralizing the uric acid.

Other Health Benefits of Lemon Juice

Lemon juice may have multiple health benefits. Lemon juice, as well as other citrus fruits, have vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for protecting bones and teeth. It is estimated that a quarter cup of lemon juice contains 31% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Lemon juice may also help to absorb iron. When the body does not get enough iron, you can experience anemia, which is what happens when you body lacks the red blood cells to carry iron throughout the body, which can result in feeling tired and being out of breath. One study on Indian women found that lemons contribute to helping the body to more efficiently absorb iron. 

Lemon juice may also help to lower blood pressure. Managing blood pressure is important to to protect the body against strokes, kidney damage, heart failure, and heart attacks. One study looked at women who were eating lemons and taking walks every day, and the result was that lemons may have a positive impact on blood pressure levels, the researchers believed that citric acid played a role in this. Lemon juice may possibly lower blood pressure because it makes the blood vessels flexible and soft. Lemon juice may help to prevent kidney stones. Kidney stones happen when minerals crystallize and can cause pain as they pass through the urinary tract. The citric acid in lemon juice can help prevent kidney stones because it stops the crystals from forming. 

Lemon juice may lower stroke risk. The vast majority of strokes happen when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain. One study looking at almost 70,000 people found that those consuming citrus fruits and juices had the lowest risk of strokes. It is also possible that lemon juice aids digestion. Lemons contain carbohydrates that include fibers. The main fiber found inside lemon is pectin. Pectin can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. Pectin can help prevent diarrhea by assisting with food passing through the digestive system by creating a soothing coating on the walls of the intestines. But in order to get this fiber benefit of lemons, you need to drink lemon juice that contains the pulp.

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