Generally speaking, a drink a day is safe for women, while men can easily do with a couple of drinks daily. But then, there are certain situations when alcohol could be a problem. Particular affections – such as gout – could be influenced by alcohol. This is one of the main reasons wherefore the dietary changes required to keep gout flareups under control tend to contraindicate alcohol.
Now, the thing is there are more types of alcohol out there and each of them is unique. Some types of alcohol have a higher strength and could be harmful, while others are relatively mild – you could probably take a few drinks without feeling dizzy. This is when beer kicks in. When diagnosed with gout, lots of people ask themselves – are beer and gout connected in one way or another?
Understanding how gout works
In order to understand the connection between beer and gout, you first have to understand how gout works. If you have been diagnosed with it, you probably know already that it can cause excruciating pains in joints. It mostly affects feet – and especially the big toes. Other than that, you know that it can bring in visible inflammations that will interfere with your lifestyle. But how does it get so far?
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Gout comes in more stages. During the first stage, levels of uric acid in the bloodstream go up, but they fail to cause any symptoms. You feel perfectly fine. The second stage involves gout attacks, flareups and visible inflammation. This is the most common stage. The third and most harmful one involves chronic gout – it happens when you ignore gout for too long and it affects more joints.
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Too much uric acid will build deposits around joints. With time, they crystallize, so they feel like tiny pieces of glass in your joints – hence the painful sensations. People with gout may also experience other problems if they fail to look after themselves, such as diabetes and heart related problems. If you have been diagnosed with gout, chances are your doctor has also recommended some strict dietary changes.
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Beer and gout – Is there a connection?
The connection between beer and gout is fairly simple to understand. Drinking beer will affect potential flareups in a few different ways. Many alcohols – not all of them, but particularly beer – are high in purines. Purines represent the main cause of uric acid, as they are broken down into this acid before getting into the bloodstream.
On the other hand, all alcohols – including beer – will affect your kidneys. Kidneys work in different ways when exposed to alcohol. In other words, alcohol will affect how kidneys deal with uric acid. Their efficiency is drastically reduced, so they will no longer be able to eliminate all the uric acid from your blood.
To keep it simple, alcohol makes the body pull the uric acid back into it, rather than eliminate it through urine. As a direct consequence, you will obviously end up with small buildups around joints. With time, they gain in size and inflammation and pains occur. Moreover, a couple of beers a day will increase the risk of gout flareups by 200%.
How about non alcoholic beer?
Now, what about non alcoholic beer and gout? Most doctors will recommend ditching alcohol from your diet – nothing wrong with that. However, you like the taste of beer. Even if you do not get the buzz, can you drink non alcoholic beer?
What most doctors fail to mention is the fact that alcohol is not really the culprit, but the beverages having it. Apart from alcohol, beer also has high concentrations of purines. Some beers may have around eight milligrams of purines per 100 milliliters.
Believe it or not, many non alcoholic beers may have even more than that.
In the end, is there a connection between beer and gout? Absolutely. Forget about the alcohol and focus on the purines. Both alcoholic and non alcoholic beer is rich in purines, which represent the main cause of uric acid. From this point of view, beer should be completely eliminated from your habits. Focus on water instead, as it helps flushing the uric acid out of the body.
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