If you Have Gouty Arthritis Drink Coffee to Lower Uric Acid Levels
Gout is a painful condition that occurs when the bodily waste product uric acid is deposited as needle-like crystals in the joints and/or soft tissues. In the joints, these uric acid crystals cause inflammatory arthritis, which in turn leads to intermittent swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joints.It may be sudden. It usually starts at night, often in the big toe joint. The affected joint becomes red, feels hot and hurts. The joint hurts more when you touch it. Other joints may also be affected.
Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). Hyperuricemia usually does no harm, and most people with high levels of uric acid in the blood never develop gout. When uric acid levels in the blood are too high, uric acid may form crystals that accumulate in the joints.Gout can seem to flare up without specific cause or can be brought on by factors such as being overweight, eating meats and seafood that are high in chemicals called purines, taking certain medications (especially aspirin and diuretics), and drinking too much alcohol.
Medicines that may cause gout include the following
- certain diuretics (“water pills”)
- niacin (a B-complex vitamin)
- aspirin (taken in low doses).Aspirin-containing medicine may make the gout worse and reduce the benefit of the medicines used for gout.
- cyclosporine (brand names: Sandimmune, Neoral, SangCya)
- some drugs used to treat cancer
Gout is the most common form in arthritis linked to inflammation in the United States, prompting an estimated 3.9 million physician visits per year. Even a small increase in risk for people with gout could increase the total number of heart attacks in the nation. Knowing that having gout increases the risk of heart attack can alert men (and women) to symptoms they might otherwise ignore because they may have no other risk factors for a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction).
In many people, gout initially affects the joints of the big toe (a condition called podagra). But many other joints and areas around the joints can be affected in addition to or instead of the big toe. These include the insteps, ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows. Chalky deposits of uric acid, also known as tophi, can appear as lumps under the skin that surrounds the joints and covers the rim of the ear. Uric acid crystals can also collect in the kidneys and cause kidney stones.
Most cases of gout are caused by poor elimination of uric acid by the kidneys, but it can be hard to know why this is happening. The specific problem with the kidney is usually never found.Uric acid levels in men start to go up after puberty. Women's uric acid levels usually do not go up until after menopause. For this reason women are protected from gout until several years after menopause. The uric acid levels have to be high for many years before gout develops. Men with gout usually have their first attack when they are middle-aged.
Gout also causes swelling and severe pain in a joint, although most commonly starting in one joint. It is particularly difficult to distinguish chronic gout in older people from rheumatoid arthritis, however, since gout in this population can occur in a number of joints. A proper diagnosis can be made with a detailed medical history, laboratory tests, and detection in the affected joint of a salt called monosodium urate (MSU), which identified gout.TNF (tumour necrosis factor) plays an important part in different inflammatory diseases. Today, anti-TNF is widely used in the treatment of different kinds of arthritis and primary vasculitis.
Acute and chronic gouty arthritis is an inflammatory disease, in which activation of certain white blood cells occurs owing to the presence of a foreign substance—namely, urate crystals. The activation of monocytes and macrophages releases TNF into the synovial fluid. Increased concentrations of TNF are detectable in joints of gouty arthritis. In certain cases, gout can mimic rheumatoid arthritis.
The most serious health issues are related to the increase in chronic diseases associated with lifestyle, with their roots in improper nutrition and physical inactivity. Significant increases in the prevalence of obesity, in both sexes and at increasingly younger ages, are associated with a number of these conditions. Hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, Type II diabetes mellitus and its complications, arthritis, gout and some forms of cancer are among these important chronic diseases.
A study in 2004 suggests that animal flesh sources of purine, such as beef and seafood, greatly increase the risk of developing gout. However, high-purine vegetable sources did not. Low fat dairy products such as skim milk significantly reduced the chances of gout. The study followed over 40 thousand men over a period of years, in which 1300 cases of gout were reported.
- Eat a diet low in purines and do not overindulge in alcohol. Purine-containing foods include organ meats (such as sweetbreads, liver, and kidney), shrimp, anchovies, sardines, and dried legumes. Your consumption of alcoholic beverages should not exceed 2 ounces a day.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is an old remedy, thought to work by raising blood pH (lowering blood acidity). However, the added sodium may be inappropriate for some people.
Research from the University of British Columbia suggests long-term coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of gout.
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world; more than 50 percent of Americans drink it at the average rate of 2 cups per day. Because of this widespread consumption, its potential effects have important implications for public and individual health. Led by Hyon K. Choi, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, the current study was based on the U.S. Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted between 1988 and 1994. It included over 14,000 men and women at least 20 years old who consented to a medical exam in which blood and urine specimens were obtained. Coffee and tea consumption were determined based on responses to a food questionnaire that assessed intake over the previous month. Researchers estimated the amount of caffeine per cup of coffee or tea using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Coffee is a habit for more than 50 percent of Americans, who drink, on average, 2 cups per day. This widely consumed beverage is regularly investigated and debated for its impact on health conditions from breast cancer to heart disease. Among its complex effects on the body, coffee or its components have been linked to lower insulin and uric acid levels on a short-term basis or cross-sectionally. These and other mechanisms suggest that coffee consumption may affect the risk of gout, the most prevalent inflammatory arthritis in adult males.
The results showed that levels of uric acid in the blood significantly decreased with increasing coffee intake, but not with tea intake. In addition, there was no association between total caffeine intake from beverages and uric acid levels. These results were similar to those found in the only previous study on the topic, which was conducted in Japan. Interestingly, there was an association between decaffeinated coffee consumption and uric acid levels. “These findings suggest that components of coffee other than caffeine contribute to the observed inverse association between coffee intake and uric acid levels,” the researchers state.
A recent study found that coffee was associated lower C peptide levels (a marker of insulin levels). The researchers in the current study suggest that because there is a strong relationship between insulin resistance and elevated uric acid levels, the decreased insulin levels associated with coffee consumption may lead to lower uric acid levels. Coffee is also a major source of chlorogenic acid, a strong antioxidant, which may improve insulin sensitivity. Chlorogenic acid also helps inhibit glucose absorption in the intestine; in another study decaffeinated coffee seemed to delay intestinal absorption of glucose and increase concentrations of glucagon-like peptide 1, which is well known for its beneficial effects on insulin secretion and action. The researchers note further that their results could be due to an effect of non-caffeine components found in coffee, which would also explain why coffee affected uric acid levels but tea did not.
Most significantly, the data revealed that the risk for developing gout decreased with increasing coffee consumption. The risk of gout was 40 percent lower for men who drank 4 to 5 cups a day and 59 percent lower for men who drank 6 or more cups a day than for men who never drank coffee. There was also a modest inverse association with decaffeinated coffee consumption. These findings were independent of all other risk factors for gout. Tea drinking and total caffeine intake were both shown to have no effect on the incidence of gout among the subjects. On the mechanism of these findings, Dr. Choi speculates that components of coffee other than caffeine may be responsible for the beverage’s gout-prevention benefits. Among the possibilities, coffee contains the phenol chlorogenic acid, a strong antioxidant.
While not prescribing 4 or more cups a day, this study can help individuals make an informed choice regarding coffee consumption. “Our findings are most directly generalizable to men age 40 years and older, the most gout-prevalent population, with no history of gout,” Dr. Choi notes. “Given the potential influence of female hormones on the risk of gout in women and an increased role of dietary impact on uric acid levels among patients with existing gout, prospective studies of these populations would be valuable.”