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Beer raises risk of gout

The findings from recent research reinforce the belief that drinking increases the risk of gout. This association is strongest with beer, weaker with spirits, and apparently non-existent with wine.

Beer raises risk of gout

The findings from recent research reinforce the belief that drinking increases the risk of gout. This association is strongest with beer, weaker with spirits, and apparently non-existent with wine. Although a link between alcohol use and gout has been suspected since ancient times, there have never been any prospective studies investigating the association. Researchers from the Harvard Medical School in Boston included nearly 47,150 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The subjects were gout-free when they entered the study in 1986 and were followed until 1998. During that period, 730 cases of gout were confirmed. As total alcohol consumption increased, so did the risk of gout. For example, subjects who consumed most alcohol were 2.5 times more likely to develop gout than subjects who did not drink. The strongest association was seen with beer. For each 350 ml serving per day, the risk of gout rose by almost 50 percent. Spirits was also significantly linked with gout, but for each shot per day the risk increased by just 15 percent. Drinking wine was not significantly associated with risk of gout. The study population was male and predominantly white, so it remains to be determined if the findings apply to women and to other ethnic groups. Avoiding beer and spirits is probably a good idea for people who have been diagnosed with gout, but further research is needed before additional recommendations can be made.
The Lancet,
April 2004
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