TUESDAY, Jan. 24, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- If you have gout, drinking enriched skim milk may help reduce the frequency of painful flare-ups, new research suggests.
The new study included 120 patients who had experienced at least two flare-ups in the previous four months. They were divided into three treatment groups that consumed either lactose powder, skim milk powder or skim milk powder enriched with glycomacropeptide (GMP) and G600 milk fat extract (G600).
Gout, a common form of arthritis, is caused by uric acid buildup in blood. Often, the big toe is the first place where gout strikes. Previous research has shown a higher risk for gout among people who consume fewer dairy products, and earlier work suggested that GMP and G600 tone down the inflammatory response to gout crystals.
The powders were mixed in roughly 8 ounces of water as a vanilla-flavored shake and consumed once a day. The patients recorded their flare-ups and went to a rheumatology clinic once a month.
The findings from the 102 patients who completed the three-month study showed that those who drank the enriched skim milk had a much greater reduction in gout flare-ups than patients in the other two groups.
The patients who drank the enriched skim milk also had greater improvements in pain and the amount of uric acid in their urine, and a trend towards having fewer tender joints, according to the report published online Jan. 23 in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Drinking enriched skim milk did not lead to weight gain or a rise in levels of potentially harmful blood fats, the study authors noted in a journal news release.
"This is the first reported randomized controlled trial of dietary intervention in gout management, and suggests that daily intake of skimmed milk powder enriched with GMP and G600 may reduce the frequency of gout flares," Nicola Dalbeth, associate professor in the department of medicine at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and colleagues concluded.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about gout.