Could alcohol consumption be associated with an increased risk of gout?

Could alcohol consumption be associated with an increased risk of gout?

A new meta-analysis has been conducted to assess the effects of alcohol consumption on the risk of gout.

A total of 12 articles with 17 studies involving 42,924 cases met the inclusion criteria. The authors report that the pooled 'relative risks' for light (=1 drink/day), moderate (>1 to <3 drinks/day), and heavy drinking (=3 drinks/day) versus non/occasional alcohol drinking were 1.16 (95% CI, 1.07–1.25), 1.58 (95% CI, 1.50–1.66), and 2.64 (95% CI, 2.26–3.09), respectively.

The results suggested that alcohol consumption might be associated with increased risk of gout.

Forum reviewers agreed that the analytic methodology in this paper was appropriate. Considerable research has shown that alcohol intake, especially heavier drinking, increases serum uric acid levels and the risk of gout.

There remain some questions about the relation of wine consumption with gout, and the present study did not have data to test beverage-specific responses. 

Overall, data suggests that alcohol intake, especially heavier drinking, raises serum uric acid levels and may trigger an acute attack in persons who suffer from gout, especially those who are not controlling their disease with appropriate medication.

A number of studies, including the present one, suggest that even light alcohol intake may increase the risk of developing gout. In any case, the risk appears to be rather low with light drinking, and is dose-dependent – ie the more you drink, the greater the association.

To read the full critique, click here.

These critiques are published with the permission of The ISFAR.