MORINGA AND GOUT: ANY SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE ?

Moringa Oleifera belongs to  the family Moringaceae which  has about  thirteen  species. Moringa Oleifera  is a drought-resistant tree that grows in  Asian and some African countries . InAfrica, it is known by several names  such as Chammwamba , Mlonge , Mulinga, and Moringa  .In other parts of the world , its also known as Horse Radish tree,  Drumstick tree , the Tree of Life , Miracle Tree,  Ben Oil Tree , Zogale and Sahijan.   Its one of  the most sort after superfood  worldwide. The Africa Moringa Hub (AMH NGO) ,a pan-african NGO with its headquarters in Ghana is one of   not-for-profit organisation promoting   cultivation and  consumption of Moringa Oleifera in Africa.

What is Gout ?

Gout is  a medical condition caused by high uric acid  level in blood. This could be due  to overproduction , under reabsorption or both. Normal Uric acid levels are 2.4-6.0 mg/dL (female) and 3.4-7.0 mg/dL (male)[1].  Normal values will vary from laboratory to laboratory.

High uric acid levels (hyperuricaemia) accumulates in joints forming crystals. These crystals lead to inflammation, swelling of joints  and pain. This condition is then called gouty arthritis.

What is the Source of Uric Acid ?

Uric  acid is formed from purine  rich foods. Purines are mainly found in amino acids which are building blocks  of proteins. Therefore ,  high protein or  high purine foods  are avoided uric acid.

Does Moringa Oleifera have purines ?

The answer is  a resounding yes. The plants need these purines to manufacture high quality amino acids and proteins of which moringa Oleifera is treasured for.

Purine food content is classified into three categories. High purine food (150 -800mg/100grams of food. E.g Organ meat ( liver ,kidneys , mussels etc ). Medium purine foods ( 50-150mg/ 100g of food )E.g Beef ,scallops , dried beans , mushrooms etc. Lower purine rich foods ( 0-50mg) 100g of  food e.g Cheese , milk and  eggs.

Moringa dried  leaf powder  has  protein levels between 19 to 30g per 100grammes of dried leaf powder[2],[3]. Although moringa leaf powder has some level of  purines , Scientist from the  Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA  demonstrated that  moderate intake of purine-rich vegetables or protein is not associated with an increased risk of gout .However , the study  reconfirmed that higher levels of meat and seafood consumption were associated with an increased risk of gout, whereas a higher level of consumption of dairy products is associated with a decreased risk [4].

Moringa Scientific evidence in Arthritis

Several studies using  different parts of Moringa Oleifera have  exhibited  scientifically proven evidence for  its use in Arthritis [5][6][7].

IMG_20180805_075840

Picture 1: Moringa Oleifera tree with leaves ,flowers and pods.

A study was done by scientists at the Putra University in Malaysia, with an objective to evaluate Moringa oleifera Aqueous Extract for Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Activities in Animal. The  study revealed that Moringa Oleifera extract had both analgesic ( pain relief ) and anti inflammatory properties exhibiting  potency similar to conventional drugs such as Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory dugs(NSAID).  This study was published in 2008 by the Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology [5].

Another study was  also done  to assess if at all  Moringa Oleifera seeds has any effect against   inflammation associated with development of arthritis. It was scientifically proven that Moringa oleifera ethanolic  extract exhibited significant  reduction in inflammatory indicators ( Rhematoid factors and  cytokines) oedema and  erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The moringa  extract exhibited comparable effects to dexamethasone , which is one  of  effective treatments in Arthritis [6]

 

Late 90s , a study also documented that  moringa oleifera root extract  contains anti inflammatory principle(s) that may be useful in the treatment of both the acute and chronic inflammatory conditions [7] .  However , it  should be pointed out  that moringa roots , especially the bark contains alkaloids which are poisonous  to humans. It is  therefore advised that any root products from human consumption should be sourced from trusted  and  well experienced suppliers.

As above , moringa oleifera leaf , seed and root extract all possess anti inflammatory and pain relief characteristic in animal studies.

Gouty arthritis treatment and Moringa Oleifera.

Does moringa Oleifera have any role in the treatment of gouty arthritis? The answer is Yes.

So far , the best treatment for gout is conventional (modern )medicine which has proven to save  lives. There are drugs that  reduce overproduction of uric acid (urate) (e.g Allopurinol ) or those that reduce the  reabsorption of uric acid(urate) into blood system ( e.g probenecid ) [1]

Further to this , during gouty arthritic attack , medicines that relieve both pain  and inflammation may be  prescribed. Low purine diet may also be advised. Moringa therefore may be used as a supplement to the medicine that relieve pain and reduce inflammation as supported by evidence above. Moringa , especially dried leaves (being vegetable protein ) will also provide  good protein that has to increase risk of gout [4][8]

DISCLAIMER :

This article is  for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. This information should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem.  La Vieherb advises that you consult your health professional if you suspect you have a health problem.

REFERENCES:

  1. http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/side-effects/hyperuricemia-high-uric-acid.aspx
  2. Convance Laboratories. Certificate of analysis for Moringa Oleifera leaf powder provided by Education Concerns for Hunger Organisations( ECHO). Unpublished.2011
  3. Amaglo,NK., Bennet R.N ., Lo Curto R.B et al. Profiling selected phytochemicals and nutrients in different tissues of multipurpose tree, Moringa Oleifera L , grown in Ghana. Food Chemistry , 2010; 122:1047-1054.
  4. Choi HK, Atkinson K, Karlson EW, et al. Purine-rich foods, dairy and protein intake, and the risk of gout in men. N Engl J Med. 2004;350:1093–103

Accessed on 16/08/2018 at  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15014182

  1. R. Sulaiman, Z.A. Zakaria, A.S. Bujarimin, M.N. Somchit, D.A. Israf & S. Moin (2008) Evaluation ofMoringa oleiferaAqueous Extract for Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Activities in Animal Models,Pharmaceutical Biology, 46:12, 838-845, DOI: 10.1080/13880200802366710
  2. Shailaja G. Mahajan, Ravindra G. Mali & Anita A. Mehta (2007) Protective Effect of Ethanolic Extract of Seeds of Moringa oleifera Against Inflammation Associated with Development of Arthritis in Rats,Journal of Immunotoxicology, 4:1, 39-47, DOI: 10.1080/15476910601115184

Available on  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15476910601115184?src=recsys

  1. C Ezeamuzie, A W Ambakederemo, F O Shode & S C Ekwebelem (1996) Antiinflammatory Effects of Moringa oleifera Root Extract, International Journal of Pharmacognosy, 34:3, 207-212, DOI: 1076/phbi.34.3.207.13211 Available on : https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1076/phbi.34.3.207.13211?src=recsys
  2. https://www.themoringa.com/articles/moringa-oleifera-treatment-arthritis-gout