Gout is a painful joint disorder caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood.
In the past, patients at risk of gout were advised to avoid coffee, but Dr. Hyon Choi of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and colleagues at Harvard Medical School in Boston, wanted to see just what effect coffee might have on the condition.
Choi and his colleagues analysed data from a US health and nutrition survey between 1988 and 1994.
The study is based on a survey of about 50,000 men aged 40 to 75 with no history of gout. They filled out detailed questionnaires about dietary habits, including what they drank.
Over the 12 years of the study, during which 757 men developed gout, the risk was lower for those who drank more coffee, Choi reported in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
â€œWe found that when they are drinking four to five cups of coffee, there was a 40% reduction. Drinking six or more cups resulted in a 50% to 60% reduction (in the risk for gout),â€ Choi said.
Choi said the findings appear to suggest that something in the coffee other than caffeine â€” such as a strong antioxidant â€” may be helping to reduce uric acid levels.
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world.
Coffee may cut risk of gout