Reduce your intake of sugary drinks, if you suffer from Gout!

Reduce your intake of sugary drinks, if you suffer from Gout!

Drinking sugary drinks raises the risk of developing gout, a new local study shows.

Research from Otago University, which examined blood samples from about 1600 New Zealanders between 2007 and 2012, revealed sugar-sweetened drinks reversed the effectiveness of a human gene variant designed to protect against gout.

Associate Professor Tony Merriman, from the university's Biochemistry Department, said the gene variant took on "Jekyll and Hyde" characteristics when people consumed sugary drinks.

Downing a 300ml serving of sugar-sweetened drink increased the chance of gout by 13 per cent, he said.

A standard can of soft drink was about 355ml.

Having two servings in a day would double the risk, Professor Merriman said.

Study findings showed when the variant of the gene behaved correctly, it assisted in the transport of uric acid out of the blood stream and facilitated its excretion through the kidney.

Sugary drinks reversed this action, causing uric acid to be transported back into the blood-stream.

Because gout was caused by a build up of uric acid in the blood, those who consumed sugary-drinks were more likely to develop it.

Professor Merriman referred to the interaction as "unpredictable."

"So, not only does sugar raise uric acid in the blood due to processing in the liver, but it also appears to directly interfere with secretion of uric acid from the kidney."

The study also showed consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks increased the risk of gout to all New Zealanders, including Maori and Pacific people, independent of their weight.

Previous US research has already proved people of European ancestry were more likely to develop gout from drinking high-fructose corn syrup soft drinks.

Study participants, who were mainly from Auckland and Christchurch, were also asked how much soft-drink and fruit juice they consumed.

Five per cent of participants of European heritage were drinking more than 1 litre of sugar-sweetened drink, compared to 14.4 per cent of Maori and 16.6 per cent of Pacific Island people.

Professor Merriman said gout attacks could be prevented by the prescribed daily use of the medicine allopurinol, which lowered the production of uric acid in the blood.

People suffering from gout should not drink any sugary drinks and take this medication, he advised.

The study was published in the international journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases today.



People helping with the gout condition.....

Your stories – Gout

Ashton developed Gout when he was 27 years old. At the time, he wondered “Why me?”

“I was physically fit and thought I was invincible. When gout came into my life, I thought I was doomed. There didn’t seem to be enough help out there. I had no one to turn to in the beginning, no role models.”

Ashton turned to an Arthritis Educator for advice and guidance.  Ashton now helps with seminars to promote lifestyle changes and give support to others.

“I’m working with Arthritis New Zealand to promote cooking Maori kai (food) in healthy ways that are still reka (yummy) to eat. I realised it was the food we’re eating that was affecting us. I want to change the path our ancestors went down, to improve our diet.”

“When I discovered Arthritis New Zealand, it gave me comfort to know there was an organisation out there to help people like me.”

“When my gout flares, it is the most excruciating pain that would bring any grown man to tears, no matter how tough you think you are. It is a lifetime of pain, but with the proper management we do have a chance.”


Acetaminophen caution warning, during a gout attack.

CAUTION: Do not use Acetaminophen (main Tylenol ingredient) in any form during a gout attack. It can also be found in over the counter liquid cold and pain reliever formulas as well as some leading prescription pain relievers. Acetaminophen may cause the gout attack to more severe and prevent a gout attack from subsiding.

New Gout news

Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis with a prevalence of 8 million in the U.S. Gout is commonly misrepresented as a lifestyle disease. While diet can contribute to elevated levels of uric acid, the majority of uric acid is produced by the body's naturally occurring processes, and gout is most often caused by the inefficient excretion of uric acid by the kidneys.

In patients with gout, abnormally high levels of uric acid in the blood known as hyperuricemia lead to deposition of needle-like crystals in joints and soft tissues throughout the body, causing inflammation. Hyperuricemia results when the kidneys do not efficiently remove enough uric acid, or when the body produces too much. A person's genetics play a significant role in their risk of developing gout. The most common symptom of gout is extremely painful arthritis. Over time, the deposits of uric acid crystals may lead to joint damage, visible nodules called tophi, and impaired quality of life. Additionally, gout has been associated with serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and kidney damage.