How Alcohol Affects Your Uric Acid Levels

man sitting on couch, being offered a beer, but holding out his hand to say

I'd like to have a heart-to-heart about a powerful movement gaining traction: Dry January. This month-long challenge involves abstaining from alcohol, and while it might seem like a trendy endeavor, for those of us wrestling with joint or muscle discomfort, high uric acid levels, or the agony of gout, this could be a game-changer.

Taking a break from alcohol during Dry January is a chance to hit pause, check how we're feeling without those drinks, and possibly ease the discomfort. It's like a reset for better sleep, more energy, and hey, who knows, maybe even some relief for those flaring pains.

Plus, it's a way to start the year on a healthier path. So, let's dive in a little deeper and discover why Dry January might be a good option for us.


The Science Behind It

First, let's break down the science behind it.

Hyperuricemia is a result of gout, and it's basically a fancy way of saying you have an excess amount of uric acid in your body.

Uric acid is a byproduct of purine breakdown and can form crystals in our joints when levels go off-kilter. Enter gout—the unwelcome guest causing severe pain.

Alcohol, especially beer and spirits, complicates this. When we indulge, our kidneys prioritize processing alcohol over flushing out uric acid, giving those crystals a perfect hideout in our joints.

Alcohol's dehydrating effect exacerbates the concentration of uric acid in our system, potentially triggering more gout flare-ups. Thus, Dry January offers more than a break from libations; it's an opportunity to allow our bodies to recalibrate, potentially reducing the likelihood of these painful episodes.


Alcohol & Gout

Alcohol can affect gout in three ways: 1) it can increase your uric acid levels, 2) it can reduce how much uric acid is removed from your body, and 3) it can cause dehydration.

1) Beer specifically contains very high levels of purines. The more purines in your body, the higher your uric acid levels are. Drinking even two beers daily can more than double your risk of developing gout and increase the likelihood of experiencing a gout attack.

2) Consuming any type of alcohol will actually work to pull the uric acid back into your body, reducing the amount and the speed at which the uric acid is released.

3) As you continue to drink alcohol, your body becomes more and more dehydrated. This is because alcohol is known as a diuretic, which increases the amount of water that is expelled through urine. Diuretics work to get rid of extra fluid in your body. The more you go, the more vital fluids you lose.

Eliminating alcohol from your routine will not eliminate gout, but cutting back on it may help to lower your uric acid levels and reduce the frequency and severity of gout attacks.

 Stay on top of your Uric Acid Levels

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