Gout, the buildup of uric acid in your body, is a painful condition which affects an estimated 6 million Americans. Men over the age of 40 are at the biggest risk. This condition is caused when the body is unable to process purines or when you kidneys are unable to remove the uric acid from your blood stream.
In either case, high levels of uric acid can lead to the build up of uric crystals in your joints, typically in your big toe but other small joints can also be affected.
The symptoms of a gout attack are, from WebMD.com:
- Warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in a joint, usually a big toe joint. This symptom is called podagra. Symptoms sometimes start in a different joint, such as the ankle or knee.
- Pain starts during the night and is so intense that even light pressure from a sheet is intolerable.
- Rapid increase in discomfort, lasting for some hours of the night and then easing during the next few days.
- As the gout attack subsides, the skin around the affected joint may peel and feel itchy.
Other symptoms may include:
- Very red or purplish skin around the affected joint, which may appear to be infected.
- Limited movement in the affected joint.
Potassium citrate, such as Effer-K®, helps control the symptoms of gout. This is because potassium is very alkaline, and when it is consumed it raises urine pH which may aid in releasing uric acid from the blood stream and prevent a gout attack. Potassium citrate (in a liquid form) as opposed to potassium chloride (in a tablet or capsule form) is better than for the treatment of gout because it’s easier for the body to absorb.
If you have prolonged high levels of uric acid in your body, there is a 20% chance or higher that you body will start to form kidney stones. To prevent this, potassium citrate is used to raise the pH levels of urine up to 6.8 mg/dL(0.401 mmol/L) for men, and 6.0 mg/dL(0.354 mmol/L) for women. This level of pH in urine is referred to as alkaline urine.
Potassium citrate has also been found to help the body break down kidney stones that have already started forming and has been proven to help prevent future gout “attacks”.