Is A Little Alcohol Ever Safe If You Have Gout Find Out What Science And Experts Have To Say
According to oft-stated health advice, one drink of alcohol a day is generally safe for women daily and two drinks a day is generally safe for men. But if youve been diagnosed for gout or are at risk for developing gout, you may need to cut back on drinking alcohol.
Gout is a type of arthritis where high blood levels of uric acid, a metabolism byproduct, start to crystallize in the joints, causing pain and swelling that is often sudden and severe. Gout typically develops in stages in the first stage, uric acid levels are rising but not causing symptoms in the second stage, a person has started to experience painful gout attacks, called flares. As gout progresses, it becomes chronic, affecting more joints, with time between flares shortening.
Uric acid crystals can also form in the kidneys and cause kidney stones and can build up in various places in the body, such as below the skin and cause bumps called tophi. People with gout are also at risk for serious comorbidities, including heart disease and diabetes.
If youre at risk for gout or have been diagnosed with gout, your doctor may advise you to cut back on certain foods that can contribute to gout symptoms, such as those high in purines, which break down into uric acid during digestion. On that list is also alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer, and spirits.
Here, learn more the connection between drinking alcohol and gout, and considerations to keep in mind for optimal health.
Foods Contributing To Chronic Disease
Remember, the development of gout is also influenced by other chronic diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, heart failure and obesity. Studies have shown that losing weight lowers the risk of the disease.
Therefore preventing and treating gout means preventing and treating these other chronic diseases as well as effective weight management. While there are certainly some exceptions, the development and treatment of these chronic diseases is also strongly rooted in diet.
High salt diets are strongly associated with hypertension and congestive heart failure. A diet low in salt is a well described treatment for people with these conditions and is literally prescribed for this purpose.
The DASH diet is the most popular of these to date, and people who follow the DASH diet have been shown to have lower rates of gout .
Saturated fats such as fried foods are generally unhealthy choices. They contribute a significant amount of cholesterol and calories while providing very little positive nutritional value. They are a large culprit in the obesity epidemic and the associated comorbid disease.
Its recommended to use caution with processed foods because they so frequently contain either high levels of salt, sugar, saturated fat, empty calories or a combination of some or all of the above.
How Cheese Is Made
Cheese, basically, is curdled milk. The most common milk used is cows, but sheep and goats milk cheeses are very popular too, although any mammals milk can be turned into cheese.
The three basic ingredients used in the cheese making process are:
Milk contains the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and small amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, niacin, and pantothenic acid. It also contains casein and whey proteins, and is a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Milk contains lactose which could be problematical, but well consider this later on.
Cheese cultures are particular strains of good bacteria that are used to:
- develop acidity , and
- promote ripening .
Cheese cultures increase milk acidity by converting the lactose sugar in milk into lactic acid which then helps to ripen the cheese.
Most cultures today are produced commercially in either frozen or powdered form. Typically, just 1/2 teaspoon is used for 6-12 gallons of milk.
Rennet is a complex set of enzymes produced in the stomachs of young plant-eating mammals such as calves, kids, and lambs, etc. The enzymes help to coagulate the milk in the youngsters stomach so that they can get the maximum nutritional benefits from their mothers milk.
These are known as traditional rennets, but theres an increasing use of vegetarian rennets made from plants like the cardoon thistle, nettles, and artichokes, etc.
Recommended Reading: Allopurinol Side Effects Alcohol
Warning Signs Of A Gout Flare
Some people with gout, also known as gouty arthritis, say an attack begins with a burning, itching, or tingling feeling in a joint maybe an hour or two before the flare-up starts. The joint may feel a little stiff or a bit sore. Not long after, the telltale signs of gout begin. If you get repeated attacks, you’ll learn your body’s signals that one is about to begin.
Sometimes, people with gout have no early signs that a flare is about to start. They may just wake up in the middle of the night with a very painful joint.
When the flare starts, most people have redness, swelling, and severe pain, usually in one joint. The most common place for gout is the base of the big toe, but it can happen in other joints such as the elbow, knee, wrist, ankle, and instep.
When To Get Help For A Gout Flare
It’s always a good idea to let your doctor know that you are having a flare. Sometimes, you may need to follow up to make sure your treatment plan is working or if your symptoms don’t improve. Call your doctor if:
This is your first flare-up. There are several other conditions, such as a joint infection, that have some of the same symptoms as gout attacks.
You have a highfever and chills. Gout attack symptoms may include a mild fever, but a higher temperature may be a sign of an infection.
Your symptoms don’t get any better after 48 hours or don’t end after about a week. If you don’t start to feel somewhat better after a few days, call your doctor. They may suggest a different treatment. Most gout attacks will go away by themselves in several weeks, even without treatment.
Rebecca Manno, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine, division of rheumatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Robert T. Keenan, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine, division of rheumatology and immunology, Duke University School of Medicine.
Scott Zashin, MD, clinical professor of medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School attending physician, Presbyterian Hospital.
Lan Chen, MD, PhD, attending rheumatologist, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
Gout and Pseudogout Treatment & Management: “Treatment.”
Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center: “Gout — Treatments for Gout.”
Merck Manual: “Gout.”
Recommended Reading: Is Pistachio Bad For Gout
Which Type Of Alcohol Is The Worst For Gout
All types of alcohol affect gout, but the impact on flares and symptoms may vary by type of alcohol, depending on which studies you look at. Some research suggests that beer is especially bad for gout because it contains higher levels of purines that break down directly into uric acid.
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
However, other research has found a link between wine consumption and gout risk. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2014 looked at how much alcohol consumed over a 24-hour period was associated with a recurring gout attack. It found that all types of alcoholic beverages, including wine, were associated with an increased risk for recurrent gout attacks. Even though one drink didnt raise the subjects risk for a gout attack by that much, having one to two drinks in a 24-hour period was associated with a 36 percent higher risk of recurrent gout attack, compared with those who had consumed no alcohol in that time period.
Foods And Drinks That May Be Good For Gout
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is important if you have gout. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Drinking water can help keep uric acid from building up and help release it from your body. If you have fluid restrictions because of kidney disease, talk to your doctor or dietitian about managing your fluid and gout
Cherries and foods with vitamin C
Some foods like cherries and fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C have been shown to lower the level of uric acid in your blood, which can have a positive effect on gout. Some examples of foods high in vitamin C are:
Don’t Miss: Is Tofu Good For Gout
What Should Gout Patients Avoid
What Blood Test Is Done To Check For Gout
What blood test is done to check for gout? If you have symptoms of gout, you need to test a uric acid blood test, which measures how much uric acid you have in your blood. You may also hear this test called a serum uric acid test, serum urate, or UA.
What Lab test Shows gout? The uric acid blood test is used to detect high levels of this compound in the blood in order to help diagnose gout. The test is also used to monitor uric acid levels in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
Can gout be detected in a blood test? A blood test can check the level of uric acid in your blood. A high level of uric acid could mean you have gout. A uric acid level in the blood between 3.5 and 7.2 milligrams per deciliter is considered normal for most people. When you have gout, doctors recommend your uric acid level stay below 6.0 mg/dl.
When should I get a blood test for gout? Levels taken during an acute attack of gout may be normal as the uric acid has deposited in the joint making the blood levels fall. Therefore, your doctor may take uric acid levels 4-6 weeks after the attack for a more accurate diagnosis.
Recommended Reading: Almond And Gout
What Is The Best Thing To Drink If You Have Gout
Are you trying to alleviate your gout symptoms naturally? A slight adjustment of your diet chart can give you significant results. Most gout patients are conscious of the foods they eat to prevent complications. However, it is also essential to focus on drinks that they consume every day. Thus, what is the best thing to drink if you have gout?
Gout can result from the high uric acid level in your blood. The uric acid buildups can create needle-like crystals in your joints and soft tissues. The breakdown of purines can cause the production of uric acid. Although purines are naturally occurring chemicals in our body, we take them through our beverages and foods. That is why you must choose drinks containing low purines.
Be Choosy About Carbs
Carbs can be helpful or harmful to your gout health. The most helpful carbs are found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Sweet potatoes, beans, apples, and popcorn can all be served in wholesome and delicious ways as part of a healthy gout diet.
Other carbs come as natural and refined sugars. Candy, sports drinks, some breakfast cereal, and some pasta sauces all contribute to dietary sugar from unhealthy carbs.
Read Also: How Many Cherries Should I Eat For Gout
Health Conditions And Treatments
Certain drugs, health problems, and lifestyle choices can trigger gout, too.
Medications. Aspirin, certain diuretics for high blood pressure , and drugs for people who had organ transplants can trigger gout. After a flare, go over all the medicines you take with your doctor. If needed, they should be able to find another option.
Being overweight. When you slim down, you can protect yourself from another flare.
Fasting or crash diets. If you lose weight too quickly or fast, you could raise your chances of an attack.
High blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease. These health conditions make you more likely to have gout, especially if you donât get treatment. Work with your doctor to keep them under control.
Injuries or surgery. When your body is stressed or sick, youâre more likely to have a flare. Of course, you canât always avoid this trigger. But if you need to have an operation, make sure your doctor knows youâve had gout in the past.
Does Fructose Cause Gout
Fructose is a sugar that is found in fruits and vegetables. It is also found in high levels in foods sweetened with corn syrup, such as bread, cereal, soft drinks and fruit juices. An American study found that men who drank five to six servings of fructose-sweetened soft drinks per week were more likely to have gout. However there is no research showing that fructose actually causes gout. Cutting down the amount of food artificially sweetened with high fructose corn syrup may be beneficial for your overall health. However naturally occurring fructose in fruit and vegetables also provides general health benefits and should not be completely avoided without advice from your doctor or dietitian.
Don’t Miss: Gout And Tofu
Alcohol And Gout Risk
Although beer may be the worst drink for gout, any alcoholic beverage can trigger gout symptoms in people who are prone to the disease. “Alcohol causes the kidneys to excrete alcohol instead of excreting uric acid. That increases the amount of uric acid in the blood, which could provoke a gout attack in about one or two days,” warns David Freeman, MD, a rheumatologist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass.
How Much Alcohol Is Safe To Drink If You Have Gout
People with gout should limit their intake of alcohol, especially in the first six months after starting a uric acid-lowering medication such as allopurinol to manage it, suggests Dr. Fields. Once a person is on allopurinol and hasnt had any gout flares for six months, often they can liberalize their alcohol intake, at least a little, and not get flares, he says. This seems to be because the allopurinol has led to uric acid being pulled out the joints, so that there isnt an overflow situation when the uric acid suddenly rises due to alcohol.
That aforementioned American Journal of Medicine study mentioned above found that when people were on allopurinol, it helped mitigate the effects of their alcohol intake. Taking colchicine, a medicine used to treat gout flares, also helped decrease the effects of alcohol, but to a lesser extent.
If youve been diagnosed with gout and are managing it with medication for the long term, occasional intake of high-purine foods, like red meat and shellfish, and a small amount of alcohol is generally okay, says Dr. Fields. High quantities of any of these have a good chance of setting off gout flares, especially in the untreated patient or the patient early-on in the use of a medication such as allopurinol.
Read Also: Allopurinol And Alcohol Interaction
Tired Of Regular Gout Flare
If so Ive got some goods news
The cause of gout is simply too much uric acid build up in your joints. Before you rush to the doctor, you can take steps to fight back against too much uric acid â the safe and natural way!
Nutritionist Evan Burns, reveals how in his FREE report, with a dozen ways to fight excess uric acid â without prescriptions or steroids!
Warm Water With Apple Cider Vinegar Lemon Juice And Turmeric
Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and turmeric are each frequently recommended anecdotally for gout. Together, they make a pleasant beverage and remedy.
Read Also: Cherry Juice For Gout Mayo Clinic
What Is The Fastest Way To Flush Gout
Avoid Sweets And Sodas
Unlike fruit with its natural sugar, artificial sugars are widely recognized as gout flare dangers. Consuming too many sugary sodas has been found to provoke attacks, but no association has been found with artificially sweetened sodas. Other foods loaded with high-fructose corn syrup can also bring on gout pain.
Recommended Reading: Are Oranges Good For Gout
Caffeine And Gout Risk
Studies show that caffeine may protect you from gout because caffeine is similar in chemical structure to a common gout medication. But other research shows that increasing your caffeine intake can actually trigger gout pain in fact, one study found that suddenly doubling your caffeine intake could increase the risk of gout symptoms by up to 80 percent. So if you are a coffee or tea drinker, caffeine could be helping protect you just remember that a sudden binge could bring on a gout attack.
Can You Walk On A Foot With Gout
It is safe for people to walk with gout. In fact, doing joint friendly activities such as walking can help improve gout-related pain. Gout is a form of arthritis that usually affects the big toe joint, but it can also affect the lesser toes, ankles, and knees. It normally affects one joint at a time.
Read Also: Are Almonds High In Purines