Coffee and Gout

Coffee and gout are not as straight forward in their relationship as alcohol and gout.Coffee and Gout

In fact the relationship between coffee and gout is quite complicated. It requires a good look at the chemical behavior that is going on inside your body.

It really is not as simple as coffee is one of the gout trigger foods. There is a little more to it that helps understand the gout and coffee mystery!

Essentially coffee is quite a hard substance for your body. It contains a lot of substances, acids and oils. The most famous thing in coffee is the caffeine, but this is not really the game changer for gout.

As always what we want to focus on is the uric acid levels of your blood that are or are not affected by your wake up juice!

The strange thing about coffee and gout is that those people that drink coffee on a regular basis, (everyday) seem to suffer less gout attacks. For those that randomly drink coffee this would seem to be one of the foods that trigger gout for them.

But WHY?

Coffee is quite well known to be hard on the kidneys. But like most long term drug use your body can and does adapt to the drug, and learns to function reasonably well regardless. As a result, regular consumption of coffee activates various controls within your body which either:

  • increase the elimination of uric acid or
  • decrease the production of uric acid.

This is done through the fluctuations to do with the proteins xanthine and hypoxanthine and an enzyme called xanthine oxidase. This is a substance that allows the combination of the two proteins to form uric acid.

However, when we occasionally drink coffee what we are actually doing is shocking our system, and our kidneys. This irregular coffee consumption is why coffee and gout is at first glance confusing!

coffee and goutIt’s similar in principle to the observation that a frog will sit in water and not jump out if it is heated up slowly. However if you drop a frog in boiling water it will kill it.

Your body gets aggravated by the sudden influx of coffee and creates more uric acid.


…because the coffee intake is not regular or reliable, there simply is not enough to force your body to put its controls in place.

As a result we have the peculiar situation where coffee which is not good for your kidneys actually helps reduce gout attacks by stimulating this protective control system.

So then when it comes to coffee and gout the best thing is to make a decision.

  1. Admit you are a full blown coffee addict and make sure you take in coffee in regular amounts on a regular basis – (for most people this is probably the easiest option).
  2. The other option with the coffee and gout conundrum is to cut coffee out completely. This is what I personally chose to do, opting instead for green tea which is much gentler on the kidneys and doesn’t have the problematic uric acid aggravating effects!

Giving up your coffee may well be a big ask, especially if you are living a very busy, stressful or active lifestyle.

But to understand that an all or nothing approach to coffee and gout are you best two options should hopefully reduce the risk for you of having coffee as one of your foods that trigger gout.

It is also worth remembering that coffee is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more. Because of this you should keep an eye on how much water you drink to keep you from getting dehydrated.

To Your Bright & Pain Free Future,

~ Jim

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