Gout and Diet


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Gout and Diet

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Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD

What is Gout?

is a disease that results when crystals of uric acid form in tissues of
the body. Gout is characterized by an overload of uric acid in the body and
recurring attacks of joint inflammation (arthritis). Chronic gout can lead
not only arthritis, but hard lumps of uric acid in and around the joints, decreased
kidney function, and kidney stones. Gouty arthritis
is usually an extremely painful attack with a rapid onset of joint inflammation.
The inflammation is precipitated by the deposition of uric acid crystals in the
lining of the joint (synovial lining) and
the fluid within the joint. Intense joint inflammation occurswhen white blood cells engulf the crystals of
uric acid and release chemicals that promote inflammation. The resulting inflammation causes pain, heat, and redness of the joint.

Diet’s Relationship to Gout

Research from Harvard Medical School reported the results of a national study of
14,809 participants, ages 20 years and older, that looked at the relationship between levels of
meat, seafood, and dairy intake and levels of uric acid in the blood. The
results of this 6 year study (1988-1994) were published in the medical journal
Arthritis & Rheumatism
2005; 52:283-89. The results clearly demonstrated that the blood uric acid
levels increased with increasing meat or seafood intake and decreased with
increasing dairy intake. Those who consumed milk one or more times per day had lower
blood uric acid levels than those who did not drink milk. Moreover, those who
consumed yogurt at least once every other day, had a
lower blood uric acid than those who did not.

Preliminary results of his landmark study were presented
at the National Arthritis Meeting in late 2004 (American College of
Rheumatology). In fact, MedicineNet reported these results from the meeting in
October of 2004. As I noted then, the researchers from Boston found that fruits or vegetables did
not have an affect on the risk of developing gout. It looks like it is time for more milk!

Medically reviewed by Kirkwood Johnston, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Rheumatology
“Prevention of recurrent gout: Lifestyle modification and other strategies for risk reduction”
Last Editorial Review: 2/23/2017