A daily dose of skimmed milk, enriched with two components found in dairy products, may help to curb the frequency of painful gout flare-ups, indicates research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Previous long term research has shown that the risk of gout is greater among those whose diet is low on dairy products.
And experimental studies indicate that certain components of dairy products, particularly glycomacropeptide (GMP) and G600 milk fat extract (G600), seem to dampen down the inflammatory response to gout crystals.
The authors studied the frequency of gout flare-ups in 120 patients with the condition over a period of three months. All the patients had experienced at least two flare-ups in the preceding four months.
The patients were divided into three different treatment groups: lactose powder; skimmed milk powder; or skimmed milk powder enriched with GMP and G600. Each powder was mixed in 250 ml of water as a vanilla flavoured shake and drunk daily.
The patients attended a rheumatology clinic monthly to check on their requirement for medication and their symptoms, which they recorded using a daily flare diary and validated pain scale.
There were no significant differences among the three groups at the start of the study in terms of frequency of gout flare-ups, pain, or drugs used to treat the condition.
In all, 102 patients completed the three month study. And the results showed that those on the enriched skimmed milk diet had a significantly greater reduction in gout flare-ups compared with the other two groups.
They also had greater improvements in pain and the amount of uric acid in their urine than those in the other two groups. This was matched by a trend towards a reduction in the number of tender joints.
The enriched skimmed milk diet did not boost weight gain or increase the levels of potentially harmful blood fats.
"This is the first reported randomised 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," conclude the authors.