The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Does Red Wine Cause Gout?

Posted by on Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

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There are plenty of reasons to love red wine – from cardiovascular benefits and a lowered risk of ovarian cancer, to improved resistance to bacteria and improved memory. It’s especially hard to resist when you can find amazing wine club deals online! Yet, red wine isn’t recommended for everyone – particularly people who fall prey to a debilitating condition known as gout.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body. Crystal deposits form in the joints, under the skin and sometimes in the kidneys. Often, the first gout attack occurs in the big toe and awakens a person from slumber with a burning sensation. Other symptoms of gout include: redness, tenderness, swelling, warmth and stiffness. Often times, it can be downright debilitating for sufferers. A podiatrist is usually the first person to diagnose gout, since the foot is almost always affected.

What Causes Gout?

If gout is caused by too much uric acid in the body, then you may be wondering: what causes an overabundance of uric acid? Risk factors for gout may include:

  • Family members with gout
  • Male
  • Overweight
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Eating foods rich in purines
  • Lead exposure
  • Organ transplant
  • Using medicines such as: diuretics, aspirin, cyclosporine, or levodopa
  • Supplementing with niacin.

According to WebMD, food triggers for gout include: liver, sardines, anchovies, mussels, salmon, spinach and sugary drinks.

Does Red Wine Cause Gout Flare-Ups?

Medical professionals cannot seem to agree on the wine / gout connection. On one hand, many experts will say to avoid red wine because it has a high concentration of purines. Alcohol in general can interfere with the removal of uric acid from the body, due to dehydration. A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that drinking any type of alcohol, red wine included, increased the odds of having a gout attack.

On the other hand, a 2004 study found that drinking beer increased the risk of a gout flare-up 2.5-fold, but there was no connection between having two glasses of (white or red) wine a day and gout. “It is well-known that alcohol can raise levels of uric acid in the blood, but its role in actually increasing the risk of gout had never been confirmed,” said the study’s lead author Hyon Choi, who assessed 50,000 gout sufferers. Another study published in The Lancet found a “slightly protective effect” in people who drank less than two glasses of red wine a day.

Remedies For Gout

If you are suffering from gout in your foot, you can try one of these home remedies:

  • Medicate early with Aleve, Motrin, Advin or Celebrex.
  • If this doesn’t help, try doctor-recommended medication like Zyloprim, Uloric, Colcrys or Benemid.
  • Try icing for 20-30 minutes, several times a day.
  • Rest the joint and elevate your feet.
  • Drink lots of water and avoid trigger foods.
  • Drink cherry juice or take cherry supplements daily to prevent uric acid buildup.

 

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.