Does Coffee (Caffeine) Affect Gout?

Coffee is a stimulant drink that can help you keep alert and may help boost your mood throughout the day. We know well that it has some caffeine. And it contains some antioxidants, too. Drinking it in moderation is commonly considered safe for most people. But if you have gout, does it affect your gout or should you avoid it?

List of nutrients in coffee

When talking about coffee, caffeine may strike first in your mind.  Yap, this beverage is a common source of dietary caffeine. See also the amount of caffeine in coffee and decaffeinated coffee in here!

image_illustration257But it is not only about caffeine. There are other essential nutrients in coffee that can help provide some health benefits. In fact, it is a complex mixture of other nutrients and chemicals. These include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats (lipids), alkaloids, carbohydrate, and even some antioxidants (as noted before).

According to a study, black tea is one of top leading sources for antioxidants in the average American diet. And we know well that antioxidants are the healthy and essential substance to fight against free radicals that are thought as a trigger of cancer.

Even some scientific evidences suggest that drinking coffee moderately may help reduce the risk of some health conditions. These include type-2 diabetes, some kinds of cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Coffee and gout

Gout is an arthritis that starts to occur when excessive uric acid (a breakdown product of protein called purine – this protein can come from diet and natural breakdown of cells) in the blood moves to the joint. Uric acids can stay in the joint and then over time can make deposits of crystals (needle-like crystals), causing an inflammation in the joint where they stay and you have a gout attack.

“Some studies suggest that men who have habit of drinking coffee may have lower risk of gout than men who don’t.

Nevertheless, the use of coffee for gout treatment is not widely used yet. Furthermore, researchers still cannot explain the exact reason of how coffee affects the risk of gout. They admit that more studies are required. However, there are some speculations:

  1. According to a US/Canada study, researchers note that phenol chlorogenic acid (an antioxidant found in coffee) may have a role in lowering gout risk.
  2. Another study found that drinking coffee may help reduce the secretion of insulin in the blood. And it’s thought that excess insulin secreted by pancreas into the bloodstream may cause lower excretion of uric acid. High uric acid level in the blood is the major reason behind gout attacks.

A word of caution

It’s important for sufferers with arthritis (including for gout) to have healthy weight. Obesity can worsen the outcome of gout and other kinds of arthritis.

Plain coffee is low-calorie beverage, good for your weight control. But if you want to add some sugars, be careful on the calories of sugar that you dump into your cup!

Since gout is inflammatory disorder, you need to keep your body far away from anything that can trigger more excess inflammation inside the body!

And excess sugar may worsen the inflammation. Foods containing processed sugars should be restricted if you have gout, because they can stimulate the production of inflammatory messenger called cytokines. See also foods that trigger excess inflammation!

Drinking coffee for people with gout is still considered safe. But remember, it not only has caffeine but also contains low purines. If you drink it too much, this can be counterproductive in your effort in restricting your dietary purine!

So to keep safe, it’s better to drink coffee low in sugar moderately. If you have hypertension, consult first with your physician! Caffeine can lead to sudden increase in BP (blood pressure). Though the effect is usually not permanent, but this could be dangerous if you have hypertension.

There are many foods containing purines, but there are also still many foods you can enjoy with gout (see also the list of these foods in this article).

References:

  1. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/foods/coffee
  2. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/28/6/1390.long