Rebutting Myths: Does tea cause gout flare-ups?
The pain caused by gout is totally devastating. It can cause you to change your lifestyle. This change can either be minor or a holistic overhaul that even includes your diet. Gout can deprive you of the luxury of eating foods you love. It can make you more doubtful about your food, even raising questions such as “ Does tea cause gout flare-ups?”
The science-backed list of the food you should not eat continues to grow. Along this list is a list of foods backed by sheer myth. These lists narrow down your choices for your diet. In fact, a total avoidance of the foods in the lists will leave you with nothing to eat.
Fortunately, you don’t have to abide by the superstitious list. However, the challenge comes when you have to distinguish which is plain science and which is pure myth.
Drinking tea as a trigger to gout attacks
To answer the question, we should first know what causes gout attacks.
Your body has its own automated defense systems. Once foreign bodies enter your body, your immune system utilizes ways in order to expel the invader. These ways includes a wide arsenal of mechanisms such as your blood’s white blood cells.
No matter how varied the defense system the parts of your body have, their defensive stand usually comes with a side effect. Pain. Wherever an invasion takes place, pains sets in. Notice that sometimes, days after a wound is inflicted, there is still a burning sensation in the area. This is because your white blood cells are engulfing the invaders. As a part of your survival instinct, you will feel the pain telling you that something down there is not supposed to be there. Something is being rejected by your body.
The aforementioned mechanism is the very same homeostatic behavior that causes your gout attack. You experience pain because something within your joints is being rejected. Specifically, the uric acid crystals are foreign entities who have no business down there. Your bodily mechanisms try to eliminate the threat. Unfortunately, your white blood cells are incapable of devouring inorganic matter such as the uric acid crystal.
Over time, the crystals will settle within your knees undisturbed. This will cause a time of peace where you won’t experience gout attacks. However, once you set the resting crystal in motion, your body detects them again and causes pain.
The settled crystal will also be set to motion when additional crystals disturb it. This means that you will experience gout attack after eating lots of purine.
Now that you understand what causes your gout attack, let us answer the question.
“Can drinking tea cause gout attack?”
Yes it can, but not always.
Tea, by nature, is not of high purine content. However, some types of tea are acidic especially black tea and a variety of herbal tea. The acidity of tea may lie between the somewhat acidic 6 to a very acidic 2.5 or maybe lower. Take note that a pH difference of 1 means ten times difference. For instance, a pH of 6 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 7 and 100 times more acidic than Ph 8!
If you intake an above normal volume of tea, the amount of acids in your body is increased. This leaves uric acid with a fewer space to occupy in your bloodstream and interstitial fluids making it more likely for uric acid to reach the spaces between your joints. This will result to the disturbance of the crystal and eventually to pain.
Fortunately, the probability of this occurring is low, especially because not all teas exceed the recommended food pH. But, you still should not drink tea as if it is the end of the world. High volume of low acid substances can still be overwhelming enough for your body. This is true especially if you are already suffering from gout or hyperurecemia. The already present uric acid in your blood will lower the “acid storage capacity” of your body.
To lower the acidity of tea, you can use alkaline water in preparing the tea. More effectively, you can use activated minerals such as Calkaline to turn the water into ionized alkaline water. This will not only help in lowering the acidity of the tea but will also help in clearing your body of uric acid, the primary source of your suffering.
Tea as an aid in fighting gout.
Many tea enthusiasts claim that tea can help minimize your gout attacks, or even help out in flushing uric acid away. Unfortunately, this is only one of the many myths revolving around gout.
Tea enthusiasts relate this to the caffeine content of Teas. It is indeed true that tea contains caffeine, (it does, no matter how much the manufacturer denies) a substance that is alkaline in nature. Because of this nature, tea is claimed to flush out uric acid.
However, despite the fact that tea has the alkaloid caffeine, its prevailing nature is acidic. Tea is not an alkaline. But, it is true that caffeine did help in some point. If not for caffeine, the ratio of Hydronium ions against Hydroxide ions will be overwhelming. In short, without caffeine, the acidity of tea could be higher.
If you are drinking tea because of the alkalinity of caffeine, you should rather try alternatives such as water alkalized by Calkaline. It will produce the alkalinity you are looking for with assurance.
Another popular claim is that caffeine inhibits insulin production which in turn lowers uric acid production in your blood. The myth here is the effect of insulin against uric acid.
Several experiments have shown that insulin does lower uric acid concentrations. However, these experiments are purely empirical; they are based on what the subjects experience and not all factors are taken into account. Unlike chemistry and physics experiments, researches on that particular topic will require a more advance tier of technology to be able to yield accurate results. One should calculate all the substances in a person’s body along with every change over time. As of today, such knowledge and technologies are from our grasps.
In fact, some researches about the effects of insulin against uric acid are disproven. Take a look at this article. It is clear that other factors flushed the uric acid away and not insulin.
Tea can cause gout flare-ups. What now?
Now that you have a clearer picture of which is superstition and which is science, your choice of diet will be relatively easier. You will be more confident in your choices.
Choose your diet wisely. Don’t overburden yourself with such simple choices. Get the most out of your life.