Gout Risk and Alcohol Intake.





Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Gout
Professional Data: Gout


Gout has been defined as one of the most painful rheumatic diseases. It results when crystals of uric acid are deposited in connective tissue, joint spaces, or both, and is due to a disorder of uric acid metabolism. It is caused by either an overproduction, or under excretion of uric acid and is manifested by hyperuricemia, acute or chronic recurrent arthritis, and deposits of monosodium urates.

This abnormally high level of uric acid in the blood, called hyperuricemia, may result when a person eats too many high-purine foods such as liver, dried beans and peas, anchovies, and gravies. Hyperuricemia is not a disease and by itself is not dangerous.

About two thirds of uric acid is eliminated through the kidneys. The remaining one third is eliminated through the GI tract as a result of the digestive process. There are a number of conditions that affect either uric acid clearance or increase its production. Therefore, a person with these conditions has a greater risk of developing gout.

A recent study stated that consumption of alcohol was suspect in the risk of gout since ancient times, but has not been confirmed in studies. Published in the journal The Lancet, researchers used questionnaires to determine the risk of gout and its association with alcohol intake. Over 47,000 participants completed these questionnaires over a 12-year period. At the end of this study, 730 cases of gout were recorded. When compared to men who did not consume alcohol, those who did had an increased risk of gout. In addition, it was found that the intake of beer especially was linked to gout. Wine did not show an increased risk. The authors concluded that, “Alcohol intake is strongly associated with an increased risk of gout. This risk varies substantially according to type of alcoholic beverage: beer confers a larger risk than spirits, whereas moderate wine drinking does not increase the risk.”1


1. Choi HK, et al. Alcohol intake and incidence of gout in men; a prospective study. Lancet. Arp 2004;363:1277-81.