Coffee Lowers Gout Risk
Coffee-Swilling Men Get Less Gout, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
May 25, 2007 - The more coffee men drink, the lower their risk of gout. At
least four cups a day lower gout risk by 40%, a Canada/U.S. study shows.
Gout starts with a buildup of uric acid in the blood. This results in
deposits of uric acid crystals in the joints and surrounding areas, causing
swelling and intense pain.
The new study is based on data from nearly 46,000 male medical professionals
enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Over 12 years, 757 of
these men developed gout, report Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH, of the University of
British Columbia in Vancouver, and colleagues.
Because the men filled out detailed diet questionnaires, Choi's team was
able to track the men's self-reported use of coffee and tea.
They found that the more coffee the men drank, the less likely they were to
Drinking one to three cups of coffee a day lowered gout risk by only 8%. But
drinking four or five cups a day dropped gout risk by 40%. And true coffee
addicts -- those who drank six cups a day or more -- had nearly a 60% lower
risk of gout.
Caffeine, whether from coffee, tea, or both, was not related to gout risk.
Tea, it turned out, did not decrease gout risk.
But decaffeinated coffee did have an effect, although it wasn't as large as
the effect of the high-test brew. Men who drank one to three cups of decaf had
a 33% lower risk of gout. Those who drank four cups of decaf a day -- or more
-- had only a 27% lower gout risk.
It's not clear why coffee lowers gout risk. Choi and colleagues note that
coffee is a major source of a strong antioxidant, phenol chlorogenic acid, that
may affect gout risk.
"Our findings are most directly generalizable to men age 40 years and
older (the most gout-prevalent population) with no history of gout," Choi
and colleagues suggest.
It's not yet known whether women who drink coffee are at lower risk of
The findings appear in the June 2007 issue of the journal Arthritis &
- Will this news make you think about having a few more cups of coffee?
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