Daily Dose of Enriched Milk can Help Deal With Gout

GLOBAL - A study supported by Fonterra and published this week in the British Medical Journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases has shown that a daily dose of skimmed milk, enriched with two value add ingredients naturally found in dairy products, may reduce the frequency and intensity of gout flares.
calendar icon 30 January 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

The groundbreaking study is the first clinical trial to study dietary intervention in gout, and was conducted by Dr Nicola Dalbeth from the University of Auckland Bone and Joint Research Group in conjunction with scientists from the Fonterra Research Centre and the University Department of Medicine.

Dr Dalbeth says the results are likely to come as welcome news to the millions worldwide who suffer from gout - the most common form of inflammatory arthritis and a disease associated with extreme joint pain.

"While gout is largely seen as a nutritional disease, until now there have been no clinical trials to show the positive impact of dietary intervention," she says.

"If developed further, this discovery has the potential to give patients more control over their condition, and could become a very useful tool in the ongoing management of gout," said Dr Dalbeth.

Global prevalence of gout appears to be on the increase with recent estimates suggesting that the New Zealand prevalence of gout is around 2.9 per cent of the population , while a rate of 1.4 per cent is reported in Australia . Up to 8.3 million Americans (four per cent) now suffer from gout and a prevalence of 1.4 per cent has been reported in the UK and Germany , while a comparative study in China showed an increase in prevalence from 0.36 per cent in 2000, to more than 1 per cent in 2006 .

The research has been driven by Fonterra's Premium Ingredients division, which has patented the use of the two ingredients in relation to gout and is currently investigating opportunities to bring this new solution to gout sufferers globally.

Fonterra Premium Ingredients Group Director of Marketing, Innovation and Ventures, Joanna Mobley says the company is excited by the study's finding and its potential to provide gout sufferers with a dietary intervention.

When you look at the statistics, a prevalence level of more than 1 per cent in China sounds small, but it actually equates to over 15 million sufferers in one country alone.

"We know that incidence of gout is growing in adult populations all over the world, so we expect this discovery to play an important part in our innovation strategy to support healthy ageing through advanced nutrition," said Ms Mobley.

A sample group of 120 gout sufferers were enrolled into the three month study, which analysed the frequency and intensity of gout flare ups. The results showed that those taking the enriched skimmed milk had significantly greater reduction in gout flares compared with two control groups, and experienced greater improvements regarding pain intensity.

The research was originally funded by LactoPharma; a joint venture between Fonterra and The University of Auckland, which is funded by Fonterra and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

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