Acupuncture Continuing Education

Fight Gout with Acupuncture Research

New research concludes that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of gouty arthritis.  A meta-analysis of ten studies with a total of over 850 test subjects reveals that acupuncture helps to reduce uric acid levels for patients with gouty arthritis. In addition, subjects demonstrated clinical improvements by means of the visual analogue scale.

Acupuncture needles are shown. Acupuncture NeedlesHistorically, acupuncture has been documented to treat several forms of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis. The new research, taken from controlled trials, investigated the measurable effects of acupuncture on uric acid levels. In gouty arthritis, elevated levels of uric acid in the blood lead to its crystallization in the tendons, joints and sinew. This triggers a powerful and often painful inflammatory response. The great toe is often affected at the metatarsal-phalangeal joint. Biomedicine treatments for gouty arthritis include medications including steroids, colchicine and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The new research concludes that acupuncture is an effective complementary modality to biomedical treatments.

Biomedicine physicians and Chinese medicine licensed acupuncturists both recommend dietary modifications for patients who are prone to gouty arthritis inflammatory episodes. Dietary causes account for over 10% of gouty arthritis attacks. Specific foods tend to trigger this type of gout, especially those with high levels of purine. Foods high in purine include organ meats, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, liver, scallops, mussels, herring and yeast. Alcohol and fructose sweetened foods are also associated with the triggering of gout. Many vegetables contain purine but vegetable source purine acts differently upon the body and does not contribute to gout. Although dairy products contain purine, they have been shown to reduce the incidence of gout.

The new findings are complemented by additional research demonstrating that electroacupuncture reduces the inflammation and damage to joint cartilage associated with arthritis. The research demonstrates that the application of electroacupuncture reduces articular joint degeneration. The level of joint cartilage preservation was confirmed with X-ray imaging.

There is an aging populace in the USA with a high prevalence of joint damage due to arthritis. Gouty arthritis affects approximately 2% of the population. The good news is that gout is treatable. Manual and electroacupuncture have proven to be an important part of a treatment regime to help prevent and treat gout.

Lee, Won Bock, et al. "Acupuncture for gouty arthritis: a concise report of a systematic and meta-analysis approach." Rheumatology (2013).

Wu MX, Li XH, Wu GW, Li L, Chen WL, Liu XX. Electro-acupuncture treatment inhibits inflammatory reaction and postpones articular cartilage degeneration in osteoarthritis. Zhongguo Zuzhi Gongcheng Yanjiu yu Linchuang Kangfu. 2011;15(50):