Gout and Alcohol – Does Alcohol Cause Gout?

gout and alcohol

Gout sounds scary, but it is actually an annoying and painful condition or better said type of arthritis. In recent years, there have been plenty of researchers regarding gout and its correlations with alcohol. Here I will talk about those relations. Due to the fact I have been suffering from gout, I am a valuable person for gout and alcohol discussion. Here I will start from the beginning and slowly guide you through the entire explanation of the connection between gout and alcohol.

Gout: Basics

Gout or gouty arthritis is as the name suggests a separate type of arthritis that occurs in most men and women. It is caused by the crystals of the uric acid which will be accumulated in the joints or in a single joint. When the number of crystals reaches high levels, some of the following symptoms will occur. They are:

  • Joint pain
  • Redness
  • Swollen joint
  • Warmth of a single joint
  • Tophi (nodules below the skin)

Basically, gout will cause most the symptoms actual arthritis causes, but they are slightly different. As you can see, they are not severe nor health dangerous, but they are problematic and they can cause annoying problems. The most important fact to know is how gout is diagnosed. In essence, a health care provider will have to drain fluid from a joint and look under a microscope for uric acid crystals. If they are detected, a person suffers from gout.

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There are two types of gout. They are:

  • Primary- Here are categorized by all people who are at a higher risk from gout. Their bodies work on a different principle than usual, so the risk of developing uric acid crystals is higher.
  • Secondary- Here are all people who already have developed gout. They have the aforementioned symptoms.

Gout and alcohol consumption

I personally know that people with gout must avoid certain beverages. As a matter of fact, all beverages which are rich in purine must be avoided. Purines are converted into uric acid in the body, therefore they are a huge issue for those who already suffer from gout. They may make the situation even worse and cause all the symptoms to escalate.

For those who don’t suffer from gout, the risk of this condition is increased on a case of frequent alcohol consumption. Those who consume some, alcoholic beverages daily are even more at risk of developing gout. It is important to add that most beverages with a high purine content are risky and in some cases should be avoided. On the other hand, some can be consumed freely. This is also a matter I will discuss later on.

Because each alcoholic beverage is different, the matter cannot be generalized. Some beverages can be consumed, while others must be avoided at all cost. As such, we must divide them and spend a moment explaining each one separately.

Gout and beer

Beer contains plenty of purines, which are as I have mentioned converted into uric acid inside the body. They are a huge issue for all of you who suffer from gout or are at risk from it. According to a research, men who have been drinking 12 ounces of beer per day have 1.5 times higher risk to develop gout. On the other hand, men who have not been consuming beer have fewer chances to develop the same condition.

Not giving up beer?

Basically, you are free to drink beer, but try to reduce the amount under 12 ounces per a day. Obviously rare consuming of this beverage is less risky and isn’t actually connected with the beverage. The bottom line is that yes, you can consume beer if you don’t have gout, but the risk of developing it will be higher. Those who already suffer from gout should avoid it, but occasional glass or two are harmless.

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beer and gout

Gout and wine

Wine’s relation with gout is a bit complicated to explain. Simply said, the wine has the same effect as beer, but there is a fact you must know. When it is mixed with beer, the risk of getting a gout attack will be increased by 138%. On the other hand, when the only beer is consumed that the risk is 78%.  Only wine is less risky than beer and 1-2 glasses per a day won’t be an issue. The figures are based on 734 people who were participants in a study which tried to link alcohol and gout link. Researchers discovered that the mentioned figures will be possible if a person consumes low or medium amounts of alcohol. Major amounts will make the situation even worse.

Is drinking wine bad for gout?

The best answer is 50%. It isn’t the worst beverage you can consume if you are afraid of a gout attack, but it isn’t the least severe either. Always consume wine in moderation if you suffer from gout.

It must be added that every single person is different and his body acts on a different principle, therefore the figures may not be accurate in your specific case. In addition, due to a low number of women in the survey, figures do not apply to them.

Can you drink white wine if you have gout? The answer is yes, but keep in mind that you must read the red wine section. White wine have the same values as red wine. Basically, the main ingredients of both wines are similar, therefore the risk and the symptoms which may be caused will be the same. (study regarding gout and wine)

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wine and gout

Tequila and gout

Tequila is the favorite alcoholic beverage of many people. Explaining its relationship with gout is complicated as well. There was a study which included 8 people. All of them were men and all of them have been drinking 30 ml of tequila for one month. After that, the scientists measured the level of uric acid in the body. They discovered that the level decreased from 6 to 5.6 mg/Dl. According to the researchers, this change is minimalistic and almost irrelevant, but it is more than just important for us. It means that tequila is less severe for those with gout and those who are afraid of the condition than other beverages.

It is also possible to test yourself and how tequila reacts with your body. All you have to do is to stop drinking tequila for 4 weeks and after that, you can test the levels of the acid in question. If there have been no significant changes, you are free to drink tequila as long as you want. Before the test, make sure you are consuming 30 ml per a day no more!

Can tequila cause gout?

Risk of this issue is low and chances are almost microscopic that they can be even noticed and mentioned. On the other hand, a huge amount of tequila isn’t recommended as any other alcoholic beverage. Tequila is actually one of the best drinks to consume if you are afraid of gout.

glass of tequila

Vodka and gout

Vodka is high in alcohol and it should be avoided. One of the most common illusions is that beer is a much better choice than vodka. Actually, they are the same. In essence, all of you who are fond of this beverage may consume it, but they should know that drinking mineral water alongside it is a much better addition. You will reduce the negative effect this beverage has on you and you will feel better.

Consuming clean vodka is possible, but should be avoided. It is a much better choice to drink some other beverage. If you must drink vodka, make sure you don’t drink more than 2-3 glasses of it. In addition, there are no surveys and studies regarding the correlation between vodka and gout, therefore this matter is difficult to discuss.

vodka and gout

Whiskey and gout

All of you who like drinking whiskey, but at the same time suffer from gout should know that this is one of the best alcoholic beverages for them. Another study was conducted in the United States which discovered that whiskey actually reduced the levels of uric acid in the body. An interesting fact is that the uric acid was reduced for 20-30% depending on the person, gender, and age.

Whiskey may be the answer to the question what is the best alcohol to drink with gout. On the other hand, the aforementioned survey also discovered that this applies in a case when the whiskey has been consumed in moderate amounts. For those who consume it in high amounts, the situation may be different. Gout and beer have been linked to more severe issues that whiskey and gout. As such, I must say that you are free to drink whiskey if you suffer from gout.

Don’t forget that whiskey has a high alcohol level, therefore be careful when drinking it. It may be a bit more complicated matter to explain how whiskey reacts with the human body, but in essence, it is a pure alcoholic beverage.

whiskey and gout

Best alcohol beverages for people with gout

Here is the main part of the topic. Let’s take this case scenario for an example. You suffer from gout, but you like drinking alcoholic beverages. Which one is the best? First of all, there is no such thing as the best alcoholic beverage for people with gout. In addition, each body reacts differently so the matter cannot be generalized. The bottom line here is that before starting to drink alcohol, you will have to test levels of uric acid. After you have been drinking one type of drink, test the levels and then switch to another drink. After two weeks repeat the test. This should be performed for all types of alcoholic beverages. If the levels of uric acids are increased, that beverage isn’t suitable for you. If the levels of uric acid are the same or even decreased, you are free to consume that beverage.

Gout friendly alcohol depends on your body, the kidneys, and urinary tracts more specifically. It is characterized by the action of kidneys, how they work and how much they are capable of maintaining the levels of uric acid in the body. Keep in mind that the aforementioned test is more than just important and it definitely should be taken into consideration.

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What alcohol is bad for gout?

The answer is complicated, once again. All alcohol beverages with a high level of purine are bad for gout. They can increase the pain, make symptoms more pronounced and they can cause further development of gout. On the other hand, beverages with a low level of purine are safe to consume. In the simplest words, I will explain which alcohol beverages should be avoided.

Believe or not, the first beverage to avoid is beer. First of all, it is rich in purine levels. Then it is common for a person to consume a huge amount of this beverage on a single occasion. Due to this reason, the risk of gout and the severity of symptoms will probably be increased. As such, beer should be avoided. The situation is the same with wine, red and white. Gout and wine are commonly linked to the same issues as the beer.

It is a problematic issue for most people due to the fact most of you believe that wine is healthy and that it should be consumed. Yes, this is partially true. One glass of wine is healthy and it has a positive effect on the heart and the entire system. On the other hand, consuming too much of wine isn’t safe and it will be a huge issue if you frequently consume a lot of it.

Tequila and whiskey are the best beverages for people who suffer from gout. They don’t increase the levels of uric acid and in some cases, they will even decrease it. That’s why it is important to remember that these two beverages can be consumed freely, even if you suffer from gout. Of course, moderate amounts are recommended while increased consumption isn’t.

Alcohol and its positive effect on gout

Believe or not, alcohol may have a positive effect on gout and the symptoms. In some cases, it is known that alcohol can decrease the levels of uric acids. In other cases, it is known that alcohol beverages will actually reduce the pain a person must withstand. Of course, there is no need to tell you that this matter cannot be generalized, therefore you will have to perform the test I have mentioned earlier in order to understand your situation.

It is still unclear how alcohol reacts with gout in a case when the pain is decreased. Some say that it doesn’t actually react with the joints and the pain, but with the brain. It will decrease the pain levels simply by making the brain less sensitive. This is not recommended way to reduce the pain.

One matter I must explain is that all gout patients will drink some medications all in order to decrease the pain. The main thing here is to read the label and to understand can those medications be mixed with alcohol or not. Most painkillers shouldn’t be mixed simply because alcohol will cancel their action. Because I know that you will probably consume alcohol at some point, try to drink the type of beverage which decreases the uric acid in your body and decreases pain. Try several beverages and the one which actually helps is the answer to your question.

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Mixing alcohol

Mixing alcohol is another, huge issue. When mixed, usually all starts with beer. Mixing alcohol is not recommended simply due to two reasons. The first one, you will probably consume much more than usual, which increases the risk of gout and can make symptoms more severe. The second reason is that you will likely get increased levels of uric acids, which will cause gout and may do the same thing for the first reason I have mentioned here.

The final word

Ideally, gout and alcohol should not be mixed, but in some cases, it is possible to mix them and still have a happy life. In general, all alcoholic beverages are fine to consume in moderate amounts, one or two glasses per a day. On the other hand, consuming too much of any drink will cause severe issues which must be solved immediately. Also remember that some alcoholic beverages are beneficial for people with gout and they can be consumed freely. The only way to discover which one suits you the best is to perform a uric acid test at your health care provider. After that, you are free to drink that drink as much as you like. There won’t be any risk of symptom worsening or risk of developing gout in the first place.

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  1. Preston Brown September 3, 2020
    • Sally February 22, 2021

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