Many people do not suspect that gout affects a significant part of the population, or beyond the painful joint symptoms, aging is also accelerating. It is rare at a young age and can be traced back mainly to genetic factors, but people over 50, every tenth may be affected, it is worth being aware of the nature of gout.
During the digestion, the purine compounds are degraded to uric acid, and pass with urine. However, if the kidneys – for some reason - are not able to excrete the appropriate amount, its concentration in the blood increases, and above solubility level, uric acid forming tiny needlelike crystals precipitates in the joints. These spiky crystals lead to arthritis, commonly known as gout.
Once gout has developed, to avoid recurrence, the eating habits or even the change of lifestyle may be necessary. It seems drastic for the first place, but compared to the complications of gout - more frequent seizures occurring often in the middle of the night, or reduced mobility, kidney stones, kidney failure – it no longer seems like a big price.
Those who are prone to gout may be advised to consume less meat, offal and seafood, as well as recommended to eat higher dose of vegetables and fruits. While these changes may indeed contribute to risk reduction, by minimizing or rather eliminating alcohol consumption, much more significant results can be achieved, since alcohol significantly slows down uric acid excretion.
Beer, wine, brandy? Not in that order!
Comparing the results of group studies in Italy, Norway and Australia, we can say that among the alcoholic beverages beer increases the risk and progression of gout the most. The explanation is that beer has a high purine content, so keeping uric acid at a healthy level is under a 2-side attack. In the case of concentrated spirits and wine, it is less clear. It is safe to say that it is mainly men and postmenopausal women who are most exposed. According to 2 studies (Norwegian, Australian), the lowest risk was related to wine, while in the case of Italians the concentrated spirits meant lower risk.
The difference may depend on the drinking habits of the spirits. Concentrated drinks in the form of a cocktail with fructose syrup or long drink can also be considered a double attack, as the breakdown of fructose produces much purine, as well as uric acid, further overload the kidneys that still struggle with alcohol.
Reading the studies, it seems that gout and alcohol consumption do not go hand in hand. Unfortunately, this does not change the fact that for healthy people with moderate consumption of beer, it functions as ‘kidney cleansing’, especially, that we must stop at one glass (not one jug) in this case.
Australian and Norwegian study:
- Cross-sectional analysis of nutrition and serum uric acid in two Caucasian cohorts: the AusDiab Study and the Tromsø study