On Gout and Alcohol: Let’s Drink to That!

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Image from altamarkings.blogspot.com

Most doctors would advise against ANY alcohol intake once a patient is diagnosed with gout. Heavy alcohol consumption has long been associated with increased risks of developing gout and gout recurrence. But cardiologists would be quick to argue that moderate amounts of alcohol is good for the heart.

This made me ask, should we REALLY advise against ANY alcohol intake?

Among individuals without disease, intake of >15g of ethanol per day was associated with increased risks of developing gout. Likewise, those who took in more beer and spirits were more likely to get gout. Wine was NOT found to increase the chances of getting gout. Chances were also higher if beer intake was >5 timer week or spirits intake > once a month. No critical frequency of wine intake was found to increase the likelihood of developing gout. These were the findings of a 12-year observational study conducted among health professionals.

But once an individual develops gout, intake of 5 or more servings of alcohol were associated with gout recurrence 24 hours after intake. But if one takes in 7 or more servings of alcohol, the attack of gout would occur much sooner (within 24 hours!). There was no differences of having a gout attack whether one takes in beer, spirits or wine.

So it would appear that moderate intake of alcohol (the current recommendations is 1-2 servings/ day) may be allowed regardless of whether one has gout or not.

But before we start pouring the wine, it would be best to discuss with your doctor the harms and benefits of alcohol intake given your over-all health status.

Footnote. One serving size of alcohol is 355ml of beer, 118ml of wine or 44ml of spirits. Ethanol content per serving of alcohol is 12.8g for beer (11.3g if light), 11.0g for wine and 14.0g for spirits. To calculate the amount of ethanol, multiply the ethanol content by the number of servings.

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