Gout And Alcohol Debate
August 15, 2011 in What Are Purines? Gout Diet Forum
Arguments about gout and alcohol continue, and I have summarized my thoughts on the main gout information site. I am sure I need to add more detail in some areas when I have a clearer idea about the real issues that affect gout sufferers. I have recently introduced a debate about uric acid lowering treatment and alcohol, and this debate runs alongside it, as I do not want to dilute the treatment debate with remarks about alcohol consumption and gout in general.
I have been particularly scathing in the past about remarks stating that gout will stop if you stop drinking alcohol. This annoys me on many levels, but the most significant is that there is never a single simple answer to stopping gout, or at least controlling it to the point where it does not impede your quality of life.
Every gout sufferer needs to understand their own personal circumstances with respect to gout, and develop their own personal plan to deal with it.
From that base, your starting point is clear, and the first consideration is if you are taking uric acid lowering medicine or not. So if you are taking allopurinol, febuxostat (sold under the Uloric brand in the States, and Adenuric elsewhere), probenecid or any other treatment designed to lower uric acid, please leave this debate now. You belong in the debate about uric acid lowering treatment and alcohol.
Alcohol And The Untreated Gout Sufferer
Just because you are not taking treatment to lower uric acid, you should still get a uric acid test at least once a year, and know your uric acid number. Forget about meaningless labels like high, normal or low – it is the number that is important.
You need this, because the only thing that matters about gout and alcohol is how it affects you. There are hundreds of investigations into links between alcohol consumption and gout, but almost all of them are statistical studies that do little or nothing to explain how alcohol affects gout. They certainly do not, and cannot, explain how alcohol affects your gout.
By all means, use the statistical studies to give yourself hints about how different types of alcohol might affect your gout. For instance, switching from beer to wine or cider might improve your gout. Total abstinence may make it better or worse depending on who you believe.
If you want to test these theories, you should get a first get uric acid test. Then change your amount or type of consumption for 4 weeks, then get another test and compare results. One test is not enough, so you have to keep testing different combinations until a pattern arises.
You should not measure results based on the number of gout flares, as this is no indication of how your gout is progressing.
I have added some clarification about the best way to ask about gout and alcohol. Also, I have summarized the latest advice and best practice in the Gout and Alcohol guidelines.
Find more (see gouty search hints).