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January 2012

Enriched Skim Milk May Relieve Gout Symptoms

Drinking enriched skim milk may reduce inflammation associated with gout, according to a new study.

Milk is an important source of calcium. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and is mostly found in the teeth and bones. This element is important for muscle contraction, blood vessel constriction and relaxation, hormone secretion and nervous system signaling.

Researchers recruited 150 patients with recurrent gout flares. They divided participants into three groups, one of which received lactose powder, one of which received enriched skim milk and one of which received unenriched skim milk. The scientists recorded gout flares over a period of three months.

At the end of three months, gout flares improved in all three groups. However, researchers found the most significant improvement in the patients who had been given enriched skim milk. These individuals experienced less pain, compared to those in the other two groups.

The researchers concluded that drinking enriched skim milk may help reduce the symptoms of gout. However, more evidence is needed to confirm this association.

Gout is an intensely painful form of arthritis that causes the joints to become red, swollen, and stiff. Symptoms are most likely to develop in the big toe. Other commonly affected joints include the ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows. Individuals typically experience acute attacks of gout, meaning symptoms develop suddenly and go away after a couple weeks.

This type of arthritis occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product that forms when the body breaks down purines, which are chemicals commonly found in red meat, poultry and fish. In healthy people, uric acid is continuously broken down in order to maintain normal levels in the blood. A person's gender, genetic makeup, hormonal changes, diet and some medications may cause may cause the body to produce too much uric acid or prevent it from being properly broken down. Symptoms of gout can be treated, and medications and lifestyle changes can help prevent gout attacks from recurring.

For more information about gout, please visit Natural Standard's Medical Conditions Database.


  1. Dalbeth N, Ames R, Gamble G, et al. Effects of skim milk powder enriched with glycomacropeptide and G600 milk fat extract on frequency of gout flares: a proof-of-concept randomised controlled trial. Ann Rheum Dis doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-200156
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
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