Jim Belushi is one of those famous people with gout. To his credit, he is out there bringing much needed attention to this painful problem.  There are so many people with gout who try to ignore it or live in denial about it. This is not the best way to overcome this excruciating omen of worse things to come.

Dr. Manny of Fox News is trying to understand what gout is. He did an interview with Mr. Belushi and the video of it can be seen on the Fox News blog post. There are 8.3 million people with gout in the US alone.  Having a celebrity like Jim Belushi go public with it is a big deal!


Dr. Manny’s Interview with Jim Belushi

Most people with gout try to fool themselves into thinking that it’s never going to happen again.  I want to applaud Mr. Belushi for adding his star power to the public awareness of gout.

But…there were some inconsistencies in the interview.  I feel responsible to clarify those inconsistencies for the benefit of my readers. The following is a sort of “blow-by-blow” of Dr. Manny’s interview with him, and my added comments.

Early in the interview, Jim Belushi tells us that he first got gout 12 to 15 years ago.  In my opinion, that gives him credibility. Having gout for so many years makes me think that he really does know gout pain.  That makes him one of us! He goes on to say that every time he got a gout attack, he thought he’d stubbed his toe or sprained it or something.  This is confirmation!  People with gout ALWAYS think they injured themselves somehow. No one can comprehend that kind of pain can come from anything else.

Let’s call him “Jim” shall we?

Mr. Belushi seals it by mentioning that if you just breathe on the big toe under attack, the pain could send you through the roof. Only a gout guy knows this. He mentioned that he went to see a rheumatologist and found his uric acid to be at 8.9 mg/dl.  Personally, I found to be sort of low. I had mine up to 9.9 when I was in the thick of it!

Where Jim Goes Wrong

From that point on in the interview, I feel like Jim sort of does a bit of a disservice to people struggling with gout.

He does a poor job of explaining uric acid and how it crystallizes and causes gout pain. But the article itself comes to the rescue and clarifies it nicely…I paraphrase it as follows:

‘Gout is in part, caused by the metabolism of purines, which are in virtually every food source to varying degrees. Uric acid is produced as the by-product of this process. In lesser amounts, uric acid is a healthy antioxidant, but in excess creates the problem of gout.’

In my opinion, this is the information people with gout really need to know!

Allopurinol and Gout Drugs

At this point in the video, Jim (were old buddies now) talked about how he got started on allopurinol…s l o w l y. This is wise, because when you first start allopurinol it causes more gout attacks. Believe me, this is true. But this is the way you really need to look at it – drugs are like credit cards; sooner or later you gotta pay.

At this point Dr. Manny and Jim start to talk about how he was advised to “change a couple of things”. This of course meant diet changes.

However, this part of the interview makes no sense. The conversation begins with the concept that gout is hereditary, but shifts focus quickly to Jim eating “very” well because he lives in California…as if eating well in California is hereditary. Tell me, what does heredity have to do with eating well in California?

Then, he goes on to say “but not at Christmas!”  Then the two of them attempt beat the same old dead horse about “red wine, red meat, and organ meats”…which only have minor relevance in the big picture of gout. This part of the conversation about gout is basically vague and confusing.

Big Man on Campus

Jim Belushi is a star…Chicago-born with a degree in theater. He’s worked hard. The death of his self-destructive brother was surely not easy on him. The movie industry is a crazy place: sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

From all that stress, I’m not surprised Jim showed up with gout…and if Savient Phamaceuticals was my company, I’d hire him too! According to Wikipedia, Jim and Savient have teamed up to market Savient’s gout drug called Krystexxa. In other words, it appears that Jim is not doing all of this gout-awareness promotion from the goodness of his big old Mad Magazine heart.

Interestingly, Jim also talks a lot about his use of the gout drug Allopurinol, which is the most well known and well tolerated drug for gout. However, Krystexxa is not. Krystexxa had some very serious problems in the clinical trial phase of the FDA approval process. So, could it be that Jim is trying to make it sounds like Krystexxa is just as acceptable as Allopurinol? Maybe its just me . . . but I smell something fishy here.

What People with Gout Need to Know

I want to make sure that everyone with gout is clear about the role drugs play in the war on gout. They are a resource…a resource to be taken advantage of…but not abused.

All too often, drugs are rationalized by “genetics”. Most people with gout – whether your dad had it or not – have it because of poor lifestyle choices.With diligence and some commonsense, gout can be easily managed without drugs.

The worse thing about gout drugs is that they enable a person with gout to continue on with the same destructive habits and tendencies that created gout in the first place. Sadly, later in the interview, Jim makes a statement that if you just take these drugs, you can do whatever you want! (Jim, we need to talk!)

I’ve made it my mission to SQUASH this kind of misinformation!

. . .

Hey Bert,

The whole process has helped me. Not only that putting into practice with correct water and hydration, the regular addition of Apple cider vin, and meal planning has dropped weight and created a better lifestyle. I still have some knee pain but most swelling has gone down and it gets a bit better everyday.

~ Greg

. . .

Gout Tips?

The rest of the video sort of wanders around without much direction and Jim and Dr. Manny (is he really a doctor? LOL!) attempt to bestow some holiday season  tips for people with gout:

  • Jim says: Stop Eating Organ Meats. I say: HUH? When was the last time YOU ate any organ meats…like kidneys, hearts or tongues? Are they trying to say that the current gout epidemic is caused by a sudden rise in everyone eating organ meats?! These guys are either misinformed or living under a rock! Think “Big Mac” or “genetically engineered foods” as contributors to the gout epidemic . . . not organ meats.
  • Jim says: Drink White Wine Instead of Red. I say: WRONG. White wine generally has more sulfites and more sugar. Gout thrives on sugar. Red wine is dryer and a fairly good source of the antioxidant, Resveratrol. Dark-skinned fruits in general are good sources of antioxidants, especially flavonoids.
  • Jim says: Eat Turkey Instead of Red Meat. I say: WRONG again. Fowl can be just as loaded with purines as red meat. What you need to do is get high-quality, organically grown meats . . . whether white or red meat. Organic, grass-fed beef is HUGE in omega-3 fatty acids, which are really good for you. When eating any kind of meat, limit the portion size to 4 to 6 oz and only about 3 times a week.
  • Jim says: Moderate Consumption of All the Sweet Holiday Foods. I say: YES…finally. Gout thrives on sugar. Studies have shown that high fructose corn syrup is especially responsible for elevating uric acid levels. If there is any one thing that can be blamed for this modern day gout epidemic, it’s high fructose corn syrup.

RCG – Refractory Chronic Gout

Jim and Dr. Manny finish up with more BS that basically continues to promote the myth that gout is some kind of food allergy or hereditary condition, that we have no control over…which I’m sure is what Jim’s boss (Savient Pharmaceuticals) wants him to promote.

It’s at this point that Jim commits his biggest crime:  He states that if you want to watch what you eat then you don’t have to take the drugs…but if you don’t want to watch what you eat then all you have to do is take the drugs! Dude! Love ya man, but you need some education! For people with gout, that is not the way to help them!  And I speak from experience…for 13 years I took plenty of gout drugs and my gout just continued to get worse and worse till I got a handle on my contributing lifestyle choices.  I talk more about those choices in my book Kill Your Gout Now!

To set the record straight:

  1. Allopurinol and Krystexxa do NOT cure gout…they only manage the symptoms…and not without significant side-effects.
  2. Gout is NOT all about uric acid levels . . . it is more about your overall lifestyle choices.
  3. Red wine and steak (and other diet choices) are only a small part of the overall lifestyle choices that contribute to gout.

Lastly, they talk about RCG, Refractory Chronic Gout, which is the newly “invented” terminology to describe tophaceous gout, and was designed to scare the hell out of people with gout. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about this because if you read between the lines, Jim Bob is saying that there is now a new drug that makes tophi go away.  Could it be this new one that Savient makes?

Before we wrap up, let me state that Tophi actually is something to be very concerned about. Tophi are deposits of urate crystals that are ugly as hell and they grow out of control. I know because I had three separate surgeries for it on the fingers of both hands and one of toes on my right foot.

If you think a gout attack hurts, just wait till you encounter the pain of getting Tophi scraped out of your fingers and toes.  Do NOT go there!

  Remember!  Gout drugs are like credit cards; sooner or later you gotta pay.


Bert Middleton

“I know your pain. Let me help you kill your gout for good!  And teach you to advocate for yourself and take ownership of your gout recovery, by showing you how to live the gout-free lifestyle.” Two decades ago, Bert Middleton found himself diagnosed with gout. Like 8.3 million other people in the United States (approximately 4% of the population), he struggled helplessly with the physical, emotional, social, and financial impact that gout left unchecked can have on your life. Prescription drugs were of limited help… And the terrible pain of regular gout attacks left him unable to enjoy even the simplest daily pleasures. His marriage was suffering. His finances were spiraling due to the impact gout had on his ability to work. And maintaining a social life was often nearly impossible. Tophi surgeries left him in terrible pain.  And he found himself depressed … and angry … that gout was stealing years of his life.

Until one day, after hundreds of hours of research and self-experimentation, Bert finally had a breakthrough and created a blueprint for a way of living that would prove to be “the answer” to living gout-free for nearly a decade now. Today, Bert and his “Gout Wife” Sharon devote their evenings and weekends to educating other gout sufferers on how to live the gout-free lifestyle. Showing others his 911 Emergency Response Gout Recovery Plan for getting PAINFUL gout attacks under control in as little as 4 hours. And then, how to make daily choices that keep gout under control for GOOD! So you can finally start LIVING again!