Often based on anecdotal information, there are conflicting opinions on the effect of wine on gout. However, the results of a relatively small 2006 study of 200 people would suggest the answer to the question, “Should I drink wine if I have gout?” is “No.”
While the study concluded that alcohol triggers recurrent gout attacks, it did not find that the risk of recurrent gout attacks varied by alcohol type. The final conclusion being that amount of ethanol in any alcoholic beverage is responsible for the recurring gout attacks, as opposed to any other components.
In other words, you do not reduce the risk triggering gout attacks by drinking wine instead of beer or cocktails.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis that develops with uric acid building up in the joints. This buildup is either because you are producing more uric acid or because you are unable to eliminate enough of it.
Your body may experience excess uric acid if you eat food or drink beverages that contain purines. Purines are naturally occurring chemicals that your body breaks down into uric acid.
If you have been diagnosed with gout, your doctor will likely prescribe either over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Your doctor will also likely suggest lifestyle changes, such as a diet to lower uric acid. Depending on your specific situation, your doctor might also recommend colchicine or corticosteroids.
The study showed that more than one drink in a 24-hour period was associated with a 36 percent increase in risk of a gout attack. Also, there was a correlation to an increased risk of gout attack within a 24-hour period of drinking:
- 1-2 servings of wine (one serving is 5 oz.)
- 2-4 servings of beer (one serving is a 12 oz. beer)
- 2-4 servings of hard liquor (one serving is 1.5 oz.)
The study concluded with the recommendation that people with established gout should, to lower their risk of recurrent gout attacks, avoid drinking alcohol.
There are lifestyle changes that, along with adjusting alcohol consumption, that can reduce your risk for gout and gout flare ups. Consider:
- Losing weight. A
2018 review of studiesindicated that obesity more than doubles the risk of gout.
- Avoiding fructose. A
2008 studyconcluded that fructose contributes to heightened uric acid production. Fruit juices and sugar-sweetened sodas were included in this study.
- Avoiding certain high-purine foods. To avoid gout and gout flare-ups, the Arthritis Foundation recommends limiting or eliminating consumption of certain seafood (shellfish, shrimp, lobster) and animal proteins such as organ meat (liver, sweetbreads, tongue and brains) and some red meats (beef, bison, venison). Some cuts of beef and pork are considered lower in purines: brisket, tenderloin, shoulder, sirloin. Chicken contains a moderate level of purines as well. The bottom line here may be to limit all meat portions to 3.5 ounces per meal or a portion about the size of a deck of cards.
- Increasing vegetable and dairy product consumption. According to guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology, vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dairy products can help gout treatment. The guidelines also indicate that vegetables that are high in purines do not increase the risk of gout.
Although anecdotal evidence might suggest that wine is less likely to impact your gout than beer and alcohol, research shows that there is no major difference associated with gout attacks and the type of alcoholic beverage you consume.
Of course, everybody is different, so ask your doctor’s opinion about your specific diagnosis of gout and whether or not they feel you can safely use alcohol in moderation to see how it affects your gout.