Alcohol Consumption and Hydration

hydrate to lower gout painAs far back as the late 1800’s, people have been making statements about alcohol consumption related to gout. There seems to be quite a correlation, however, it may be due to something that alcoholic drinks contain rather than the alcohol itself: “Beer contains not just alcohol, but also contains purines. Standard beers have an alcohol content of about 1 gram per 100 mL, but they also contain about 8 mg of purines per 100 mL. Some, especially low-alcoholic beers, contain more. In a small study of four men with gout, beer, but not orange juice, vodka and orange, nor non-alcoholic beer resulted in a small but significant increase in serum uric acid” (3). Fermentation is suggested to be the culprit when it comes to creating purines in beer, so avoiding beer all together, may eventually be your best bet. This relationship of fermentation and purines has also been examined and discovered in wine, however wine does not seem to present the same amount of risk in developing gout, the way beer and spirits do (4). The relation with alcohol containing purines goes even deeper. Mixed cocktails may contain additives, preservatives and sugars that can lead to high levels of uric acid in the body. Abstaining from alcoholic drinks is not an easy task, but it may help save you from a painful and debilitating case of gout, even for those who only occasionally drink during social gatherings. Another very good reason from refraining from alcoholic beverages is the simple fact that they increase dehydration. When you are dehydrated (not having enough water in your system) you increase the amount of uric acid in your blood. When this happens, you put yourself at a greater risk of developing gout. To make sure you are in the clear when it comes to hydration, make sure that you are drinking around 8 cups of water a day. A sudden dramatic increase in water intake may complicate things if you have other medical conditions related to hydration, so it may be necessary to talk with your doctor before chugging a lot of water. If you drink coffee regularly or take diuretic supplements, it may be time to cut back a little. Diuretics may be used to lower blood pressure by flushing water from the body, but they also block the flow of uric acid from your kidneys, causing it to build up and result in gout.