Gout is a painful arthritic condition that results when too much uric acid builds up in the body. The uric acid forms crystals, which settle in the joints and generally attack the big toe, instep, heel, ankle, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows.
Uric acid is normally present in the body and works to break up component called purines, which are present in the tissue of the body as well as in certain foods. When the kidneys don’t effectively process uric acid or too many purines are consumed, the uric acid begins to build up which leads to gout.
Interesting Study Measuring Alcohol Consumption and Gout
In one of the largest studies of its kind researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, American College of Rheumatology, and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland studied the effect of alcohol consumption on gout on 47,000 male participants over the course of 12 years.
Beer: The results concluded that alcohol intake is strongly related to an increased risk in gout. Beer, containing the most purines, was the greatest offender. As few as two to four beers per week increased the risk of gout by 25%. Those drinking two or more per day increased their risk by a whopping 200%.
Hard Liquor: Hard liquor fared only slightly better. Those consuming as little as one drink per month were at an increased risk for a gout attack. Those who drank daily increased their risk by 60%
Wine: Wine is the clear winner when it comes to beverage of choice for gout sufferers. Though wine also contains purines, the study concluded that it had no measurable effect on the instances of gout.
“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.
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