Research confirmed: alcohol increases gout risk

American scientists discovered that consuming alcohol causes the risk to have gout. But unlike beer and spirits, moderate consumption of wine does not affect the risk.

Over 12 years, a team at the Massachusetts General Hospital examined the records of 47,000 medical staff, who did not have gout at the start of the study.

The researchers investigated the lifestyle and diet of the 730 men who developed gout, and found four or five daily drinks increased the risk by 2 times, while one drink increased the risk by 30 per cent. The study, published in The Lancet, found two or more beers a day increased the risk, in comparison with non-beer drinkers, by 2 times. Two shots of spirits a day increased the risk 1.6 times, but moderate wine consumption - two glasses daily - had no effect.

Gout, a painful condition affecting one in 500 people in Australia, is caused by a build-up of uric acid in blood. The acid forms crystals around damaged joints, often the ankles, feet or toes, causing inflammatory arthritis, inform

For those who consumed between 10 and 15 grams daily, the risk was 30 per cent greater. For inebriates who soaked up more than 30 grams, the risk at least doubled. And increasing beer consumption posed a greater risk than increasing consumption of other alcohol.

The researcher in the 12-year study, Hyon Choi, a rheumatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, said the findings suggested that varying degrees of purine, a substance the body converts to uric acid and then excretes, in the drinks played a part. "Beer is the only alcoholic beverage acknowledged to have a large purine content... , " he said.

University of Sydney rheumatologist Neil McGill said beer possibly posed a greater danger of gout because beer drinkers may weigh more than wine drinkers, report

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