Monday, November 16, 2015

Beer drinking doubles gout risk

Gout is an extremely painful form of arthritis. Episodes of gout strike suddenly without warning. Severe cases of gout may lead to major disability and even kidney failure. More men experience the condition than women, although the difference is less dramatic among the elderly. What can cause gout? Alcohol use… especially beer drinking. (Share the YouTube video or read the transcript

In a research study performed by the medical journal Lancet, more than 47,000 male medical professionals with no history of gout were followed for up to 12 years. In that period, men who drank the most alcohol daily had twice the risk of developing the disorder as men who did not drink. Beer drinkers increased their risk by 50 percent for every daily beer, while those who drank hard liquor increased their risk by 15 percent for each drink.

The alcohol decreases water in the body. That's part of the problem. What makes the difference is yeast. Beer is made with yeast, yeast is a purine, purines cause an increase in uric acid which is produced by the kidneys. (Think urine… which is the way the body gets rid of uric acid.) Too much uric acid in the blood causes gout and triggers attacks, which are felt in the joints. The uric acid is actually crystalized in the joint, which causes the pain. The big toe is a common gout target.

It's not a life threatening condition except when you consider it signals a problem with the kidneys. Sure you have two of them… but you only have two of them and the uric acid problem impacts both.

Hereditary factors lead to gout, but environmental causes, such as regular alcohol consumption, are behind the increase in cases of gout in the past thirty years. It's a quality of life kind of thing: Is the temporary relaxation from a beer worth the discomfort of recurrent, tender, hot, joint pain long after the buzz is gone? Not to mention the increased risk for more than 60 other diseases brought on by alcohol use.

Visit for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.  Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on, plus the NEW book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, is now available. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today