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Home  /  Patient Resources   /  Gout   /  How Much of Alcohol Puts you at Risk for Gout?

How Much of Alcohol Puts you at Risk for Gout?

A study done a few years back looked at the overall effect of alcohol on gout attacks as well as the individual effects of wine, beer and liquor, while taking diet and other factors into account.

They found very interesting results
A single serving of wine, beer or liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink) in a 24-hour period didn’t significantly increase the chance of repeat gout attacks. But consuming more than one to two drinks a day did – by 36%. With two to four drinks, the risk rose 50%, and it continued to rise with the amount of alcohol consumed.

When the three types of alcohol were compared, wine was actually a significant trigger. Drinking between one to two glasses of wine in the 24 hours before the attack raised the risk of recurrent attacks by 138%; in other words, it more than doubled the risk of a gout attack, compared to drinking no wine.
By contrast, drinking two to four beers in the 24 hours before an attack increased the risk by 75%.

The study conclusion
Based on this study, I would counsel gout patients that any type of alcohol may trigger an attack; it’s not just beer or liquor but also wine. Each patient is different, so a ‘safe’ limit can’t be uniformly set, but obviously abstaining from alcohol would avoid any risk of attack due to [its use].”

Source: Arthritis foundation/ Gout blog

How Alcohol Affects Gout
An analysis of multiple studies on alcohol consumption and gout — which included data on almost 43,000 people — found a “dose response of gout risk to alcohol consumption.” That means that the more alcohol people consumed, the greater the risk of developing gout
Compared with people who never or rarely consumed alcohol, light drinkers (one drink or less a day) had a 16 percent increased risk of gout, moderate drinkers (more than one but less than three drinks a day) had a 58 percent increased risk of gout, and heavy drinkers (three or more drinks a day) had a 264 percent increased risk of gout.

What is the relationship between Alcohol and gout? Some alcohol (particularly beer) is high in purines, which are then broken down into uric acid. All alcohol — including beer, wine, and hard spirits — affect processes in the kidneys that in turn impact how uric acid is eliminated in urine.

Which Type of Alcohol Is the Worst for Gout?
A 2004 study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that “alcohol is strongly associated with an increased risk of gout,” the study authors concluded. Risks varied according to type of alcoholic beverage:

Two or more beers daily increased gout risk over non-beer drinkers two-fold
Two shots of spirits daily increased gout risk over non-drinkers by 1.6 times
Two four-ounce glasses of wine daily was not associated with a higher risk of gout

Can Eliminating Alcohol Reverse Gout?
It is a myth that gout is a dietary disease, and that watching your diet (limiting alcohol, red meat, shellfish, high-fructose corn syrup, and organ meats like liver) will be enough to manage gout. In one word NO, diet and alcohol restriction are not enough the patient has to be on uric acid-lowering medication. Gout is a genetic disease and extremely few people can make enough of a change in their
blood uric acid level with diet to control their gout. Remember that gout is more than the painful joint, it increases the rates of heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and death. Kindly don’t ignore it.

Source:
Choi HK, et al. Alcohol intake and risk of incident gout in men: a prospective study. The Lancet. April
2004
Gout. American College of Rheumatology. https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-
Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Gout.
Interview with Theodore Fields, MD, rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City
Interview with Jonathan Greer, MD, a rheumatologist with Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates of Palm
Beach, Florida