Yes, beer can contribute to gout.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a painful arthritic condition that is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a normal component in the body and functions to break up purines. Purines are present in the body’s tissue and are also found in foods. Under normal conditions, uric acid is simply eliminated through urination. There are instances where the body cannot process the uric acid properly such as the failure of the kidneys to process it sufficiently, the body suddenly creating an excess of uric acid, or by eating too many foods that contain purines. Beer is one of the foods that contain purines. Beer contains more purines than both hard liquor and wine.
Beer Causes Gout
A study following 47,000 men over the course of twelve years found that drinking as few as two to four beers a week increased the chance of gout by 25%. The men who drank two beers a day had an increased risk of gout by 200%. The more beer they drank, the more likely to get gout indicating that beer is directly related to gout.
Wine May Be the Drink of Choice
The study also measured the increased risk of gout for those who consumed hard liquor and wine and found interesting results. Those who drank as little as one hard drink per month had an increased risk of gout. Those drinking daily were 60% more likely to suffer from gout. Wine had no effect on gout.
Choi, H. The Lancet, April 17, 2004; vol 363: pp 1277-1281. Hyon K. Choi, MD, department of medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Roland Moskowitz, MD, spokesman, American College of Rheumatology; professor of medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
“Uric acid – blood: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003476.htm.