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Cherries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so many people with gout may try drinking cherry juice to help treat their symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Gout is a type of arthritis that affects more than 3 million people in the United States.

This article will look at whether or not drinking cherry juice is an effective treatment option for gout. It will also explore some other gout management tips.

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Gout occurs due to a buildup of uric acid in the blood. This buildup can form into needle shaped crystals that gather in and around the joints and other tissues (tophi).

The resulting inflammation can cause swelling and pain.

Cherries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve gout.

However, the evidence regarding whether or not drinking cherry juice is an effective treatment option for gout is conflicting.

What is the theory behind it?

Cherries contain anthocyanins, which are the compounds that give cherries their color.

One 2019 article notes that anthocyanins possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may be useful when treating the symptoms of gout.

The article states that oxidative stress can play a role in the manifestation of gout. Oxidative stress is the imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body.

Anthocyanins interfere with the oxidation process and remove free radicals.

Montmorency tart cherry skins contain high amounts of antioxidants. Tart cherry juice concentrate appears to be effective at absorbing free radicals.

Although the symptoms of gout occur due to an inflammatory response, existing research into whether or not the anti-inflammatory effects of cherry juice are effective in treating gout appears to be limited.

Does it work?

According to a 2019 systematic review, current evidence seems to support a positive correlation between the consumption of cherries and fewer gout flare-ups.

However, the researchers also note that there is a lack of relevant and long-term studies.

A 2012 pilot study suggests that consuming cherry juice concentrate for a period of 4 months or longer may reduce the number of acute gout flare-ups a person experiences.

The researchers indicate that this may be due to anti-inflammatory actions and suggest that cherry juice concentrate may be a useful treatment method.

In addition, cherry juice may lower the levels of uric acid in the body. One 2014 study into the effects of Montmorency cherry concentrate suggests that it can reduce uric acid and inflammation.

However, a more recent 2020 study suggests that cherry concentrate does not appear to lower the amount of uric acid in the body. It also seems to have no effect on uric acid levels in the urine.

No research has looked into black cherry juice specifically.

The above 2019 article states that there are two main categories of cherries: sweet cherries, or Prunus avium, and tart cherries, or Prunus cerasus.

The article suggests that tart cherries, such as the Montmorency cherry, contain higher amounts of antioxidants, which may have an effect on gout symptoms and flare-ups.

Black cherries are typically sweeter, so they may contain lower levels of antioxidants.

There has not yet been enough research to confirm a recommended amount of cherry juice for gout.

However, according to the Arthritis Foundation, a person might find drinking a glass of cherry juice per day beneficial.

People should talk with a doctor before attempting to treat their gout with cherry juice. The doctor may be able to advise on an ideal amount to consume.

People can purchase tart cherry juice in stores and online.

Unless a person has an allergy to cherries or overindulges in them, there should not be any adverse effects associated with consuming them.

People with cherry allergies should avoid consuming cherry juice.

Excessive consumption of cherries or cherry juice can cause a person to experience gastrointestinal discomfort.

According to Harvard Health, consuming large amounts of fructose, which is present in cherries, can lead to diarrhea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following strategies to help manage gout:

  • Diet: People should avoid eating foods that may trigger a flare-up. Such foods include those high in purines, including red meat, organ meats, and seafood.
  • Activity: A person can try moderate or low impact activities, such as walking or swimming, to help relieve gout.
  • Weight management: If a person has excess weight or obesity, they might find that reaching a moderate weight can help reduce pressure on their joints and relieve pain.

If a person is experiencing a gout flare-up, they can try the following to help ease the symptoms:

  • Ice: Applying an ice pack to the affected joint can help reduce inflammation.
  • Elevate: Raising the affected joint using a pillow may also help reduce swelling.
  • Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water can help flush uric acid out of the body. The Arthritis Foundation suggests drinking 8–16 cups of fluids per day, with half or more being water.

Learn more about home remedies for gout here.

A person should contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms of gout.

The doctor may be able to diagnose gout by using a blood test to look at a person’s uric acid levels and kidney function. They may also require a sample of fluid from the inflamed joints to look for uric acid crystals.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, having gout may make a person more likely to develop other conditions or complications, such as those that affect the heart and kidneys.

As a result, it is important to talk with a doctor to help manage the symptoms of gout.

For some people, cherries and cherry juice may be complementary treatment options for gout symptoms.

Although cherry juice may have some benefits for relieving gout, a person should not use it as the sole treatment for the condition.

There is evidence to suggest that cherry juice can lower a person’s uric acid levels. However, studies have yielded mixed results, so more research is necessary.

If a person is finding that cherry juice is helping manage their symptoms and preventing flare-ups, there is no harm in them consuming cherries as part of a balanced diet.