gout


If anyone is between the ages of 30 and 60 and especially for men, gout (a type of arthritis caused by uric acid) is increasing becoming a risk. To reduce the risk, traditionally, the public is advised to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol as well as avoid eating food high in purines (see chart).

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Now, medical researchers in the US, UK & Canada are putting the blame on sweet drinks (non-Diet soft drinks) which contains a type of sugar called fructose.

They said that the increase in gout cases had coincided with a substantial rise in the consumption of soft drinks. A 12-year study covering 46,000 men aged 40 years and over with no history of gout concluded that with an intake level of five to six servings of sugary soft drink per week, the risk of developing gout was significantly increased.

The study suggests that “Men who consume two or more sugary soft drinks a day have an 85% higher risk of gout compared with those who drink less than one a month“.

Apart from sweet drinks, researchers said that fruit juice and fructose rich fruits (apples and oranges) were associated with a higher risk. So, they are advising patients with gout to reduce intake of apples and oranges.Last year, it was reported that coffee drinking reduces risk of gout. So for sure, coffee should now be preferred over sugary soft drinks, but over fruit juice?

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Hello Tongkat Ali, Cat Whiskers Tea is MY Tea

While on a trip to our factory, 200km away in Melaka (formerly known as Malacca), I was pleasantly surprised to hear and read that the local government is promoting Cat Whiskers Tea in this second smallest state of Malaysia.

It was reported on 24th May in the Malaysian’s Chinese newspapers, Nanyang Siang Pau that Melaka Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Ali Rustam had announced that the Melaka Government has classified Cat Whiskers Tea “猫须茶”as its official beverage and was given the name “MY Tea”. The daily has reported that this traditional herbal tea is good for health and beneficial for illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

It looks like the Malaysian government is serious about making this Cat Whiskers Herb another popular herb after Tongkat Ali. It can be drunk as normal Cat Whiskers tea or can be blended with other herbal ingredients used by products such as our Good Image Cat Whiskers Tea. Prior to the news, I had already heard that plantations has been created or converted to grow Cat Whiskers Herb (locally known as Misai Kuching).

What’s in coffee drinking that lowers gout risk ?

There is no answer as it is not caffeine.

It is recently researched by the University of British Columbia that coffee (including decaffeinated) drinking (4 or more coffees a day) is more likely to have a much lower uric acid level in the blood.

I will take it that the kind of coffee mentioned in the research is the usual “diluted” “no-kick” morning coffee found in hotels and fast food restaurants and not those dark and strong kopi (coffee) that we drink in the kopitiam (coffee shop) in Singapore and other Asian countries. Drinking 4 or more local kopi per day even for a coffee drinker like me will be too much for my heart.

Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines. Although purines are found in all of our body’s tissues, uric acid can build up in the blood when a person eats too many foods high in purines, such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies.

When the kidneys do not get rid of enough of the uric acid, it can later crystallize out of the blood into the joints. The result is gout, one of the most painful forms of arthritis. It can wake one up in the middle of the night with pain, swelling, heat and or stiffness in the joints in the big toe, ankles, heels, knees, insteps, wrists, fingers, etc.

A gout attack can be brought on by stressful events, too much beer, or eating too much red meat or drugs, or another illness. Early attacks usually get better within 3 to 10 days, even without treatment. The next attack may not occur for months or even years.

The main way to tackle the condition is to take anti-inflammatory pills, change diet and drink more water, or in more severe cases, to take more powerful drugs to reduce uric acid levels in the blood.

Researchers said that coffee drinking can lead to lower insulin levels in the blood, and that there is an established link between higher insulin levels and higher uric acid levels. However, high blood uric acid levels does not necessarily lead to gout attack as some people with high uric acid levels throughout life don’t suffer such attack.

So it looks like it is about not letting the uric acid crystallises out of the blood into the joints. That means healthy kidney, healthy diet with balanced purine-producing food. So, apart from my kopi-O (black coffee with sugar), I’m continuing with my daily consumption of Clerodendranthus Spicatus or Cat Whiskers tea and start drinking more red wine than beer.