Does Drinking Beer Cause Gout?

Gout is a painful condition that is affecting more and more people every year. It has always been speculated that alcohol is a leading cause of gout; a recent study put it to the test. Does drinking beer cause gout? Read on to find out.

What is Gout?

Gout is a painful inflammatory arthritis that commonly affects men. Gout is typified by sudden and severe pain, tenderness, and swelling in joints, usually in the big toe.

What causes Gout?

Gout is triggered by an excess of uric acid crystal deposits in the joints. These deposits provoke the immune system and an inflammatory response is produced, usually beginning in the big toe.

Some factors that may contribute to gout include:

  • Genetics
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor dietary habits like increased alcohol and red meat intake

Recent research has highlighted alcohol, especially beer, as a certain cause of gout (1).

Alcohol and Gout

You know that gout is your body reacting to uric acid buildup in the joints. Did you know that alcohol is a large contributor of uric acid in your body? Researchers have illuminated two ways in which alcohol factors into your risk for gout:

  1. Alcohol impedes removal of uric acid in the body. Alcohol is metabolized into lactic acid in the body. The lactic acid then competes with uric acid in the kidneys for elimination through urine; thus, greater levels of uric acid remain in the body.
  2. Alcohol contributes to uric acid levels in the body. Alcohol raises the amount of ATP that is converted into AMP-a good foundation for uric acid.

The study found that one alcoholic beverage per day was enough to significantly increase the risk of gout in that person. The risk grew as number of drinks consumed grew.

Does Drinking Beer Cause Gout?

The study reported interesting these interesting results:

  • Compared with non beer drinkers, those who drank two or more servings of beer per day suffered a 2.5 times greater risk of gout.
  • Compared with non liquor drinkers, those who drank two or more servings of liquor per day suffered a 1.6 times greater risk of gout.
  • Wine was not associated with an increased risk of gout compared with those who did not drink wine.

Also interesting, the risk grew as servings grew. For example, the risk of gout increased by 49% with each serving of beer per day. The risk of gout was increased by 15% per serving of liquor each day. Because liquor is more alcoholic in beer, researchers concluded that a non-alcoholic factor in beer was the real culprit of the risk.

Beer, There and Everywhere

Some researchers postulate that non-alcoholic ingredients in beer, like purines, play a factor in the risk for gout. This is widely debatable though, as purines have also been shown to decrease the risk of gout. Most researchers feel that the link lies in the lifestyle of the beer drinkers-those who choose to drink beer may be more likely to be less active or eat risky food than those who drink wine.

Drink to Your Health

Your best plan to steer clear of gout is to follow a healthy diet and exercise plan. Don't drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages a night, and don't let your drinking affect your diet and exercise plan. If you have gout and need help keeping it under control, try natural supplements guaranteed to maintain healthy uric acid levels.

Sources:
(1) http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/g/gout

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