(HealthDay News) – Eating cherries or cherry extract is associated with a significantly lower risk of gout attacks, and this effect is intensified when cherry intake is combined with allopurinol use, according to research published online Sept 28 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Yuqing Zhang, MD, of the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a one-year, prospective, case-crossover study involving 633 adults with gout to evaluate whether eating cherries or cherry extract affected the risk of recurrent gout attacks. One serving of cherries was equal to one half cup or 10–12 cherries.

The researchers found that cherry intake over a two-day period correlated with a 35% reduction in the risk of gout attacks, compared with no intake (multivariate odds ratio, 0.65). A similar association was seen with cherry extract (odd ratio, 0.55). The association persisted across subgroups. When combined with allopurinol treatment, the risk of gout attacks was reduced by 75% compared to without exposure to either cherries or allopurinol (odds ratio, 0.25).

“In conclusion, our study findings suggest that cherry intake is associated with a lower risk of gout attacks,” the authors write. “Should our findings be confirmed by randomized clinical trials, cherry products could provide a novel non-pharmacological preventive option against gout attacks.”

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