Gout – How Did Seneca and Cicero Know What Doctors Don’t?


Majid Ali, M.D.

One of the early, if not the earliest, recorded epidemic of gout occurred during the years of the decline of the Roman empire. The Roman philosopher, Seneca (4 B.C.) recognized its association with intemperance and gluttony. He stated that was so because women “rival men in every kind of lasciviousness.” How did Seneca know this about gout?

Rheumatologists blame uric acid for gout. I do not think they consider the fact that uric acid is a powerful antioxidant, nearly fifty-fold stronger than vitamin C. Like all bodily antioxidants that act as anti-inflammatory substances, uric acid is an anti-inflammatory agent within the physiologic range. Nor do they seem to recognize other crucial physiologic roles of uric acid in e healing immune responses. Specifically, the acid provides a molecular link between cell injury and immunity. Most intriguingly, uric acid facilitates conversations between dead and living cells. I present this subject at length in Integfrative Nutritional Medicine (2001%0, the fifth volume of my 14-volume textook entitled The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine.

Now to Cicero. The Roman sage once visited a friend sick with gout who suggested that Cicero not eat his food. Cicero told his friend that he could eat the food because the cook did not have gout. How did Cicero know that gout was not an infection that he could contract by sharing a meal with a friend with gouty arthritis?

Seneca and Cicero came to mind today when I saw limp into my office. I had not seen her for about two years. I glanced at the chart. Her previous doctor had diagnosed the following: gout arthritis, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder), memory lapses, and brain fog episodes. The outcome sheet recorded When looked up from the chart, her companion said, “She had a good run of about a year and a half and came X-mas and New Year eating and she came off your program. Within six weeks her symptom-complexes returned and within another a few weeks she developed incapacitating gout attack.”

I recognize this pattern of gouty attack every time I see a patient with acute gouty attack. This is how Seneca and Cicero must have figured out the causes and clinical course of gout. Why don’t doctors today this? I leave that to your imagination.

Causes of Gout

Gut fermentation and mitochondrial dysfunction due to toxicities of food, environment, and thought. Treatment: detect and address all relevant causes on an individual basis. See my article entitled “Dr. Ali’s Top Seven for Gout.”

The bliss of pharmaceutical companies is that doctors are eager to prescribe their drugs but reluctant to think about what they prescribe.

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