It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
I was plagued with Gout for a while until I discovered and began taking Cherry Fruit Extract. I had no flareups while on that.
But now I'm on Coumadin (Warfarin), and was told to stay off Cherry Fruit Extract, along with CoQ10 and Vit C. What are your thoughts on me going back to Cherry Fruit Extract while on Coumadin?
I am glad that your physician told you to not take these supplements. He or she was right to tell you that.
There is no evidence that cherry fruit extract helps with gout. There is some evidence that eating cherries decreases plasma urate levels. A good study in The Journal of Nutrition investigated this in 2003. While this is good evidence, there is no reliable evidence to support that eating cherries prevents gout (only that there are lower urate levels). Likewise, this used cherries and not cherry extract.
In science if A = B and B = C, A doesn't necessarily = C. Only when cherry extract is tested in well designed research can you take it and feel both that it will work and that it will not harm you. There are many reports of such unregulated supplements causing illness and death, so it's best to not take them at all.
There's no reason to take such supplements and both CoQ10 and Vitamin C. as supplements have not been shown to have any significant benefit. At the same time you have no idea how these might interact with other medications you are taking, including Coumadin.
Here's some information on gout and diet:
The key to controlling gout is to limit animal protein. Whether fruits or vegetables or juices will help prevent gout has not been proven.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS