In fact, patients who typically took in low levels of caffeine and then drank six servings of caffeinated beverages in a day more than tripled their risk for an attack. However, habitual drinkers of more than two servings of caffeinated beverages per day were not affected by a rise in daily consumption.
The study did not focus exclusively on coffee but rather on all beverages that contain coffee, including tea, soft drinks and products such as "Red Bull."
According to Neogi, the chemical structure of caffeine is very similar to that of a standard chronic gout medication called allopurinol, which is commonly used to control gout by lowering uric acid levels. Allopurinol is effective at easing gout and preventing attacks in the long-term but in the short term it can actually trigger a flare-up among patients taking it for the first time.
Caffeine might have a similar short-term effect, Neogi reasoned.
A third study, also out of Boston University School of Medicine and also slated for presentation at the meeting, found a connection between higher intake of sodas and other fructose-sweetened beverages, and a rise in gout risk for women.
Researchers led by Dr. Hyon Choi looked at data on nearly 79,000 women over a 22-year period.
They found that women who consumed one serving per day of beverages such as sugar-sweetened soft drinks and/or orange juice were nearly twice as likely to develop gout as women who drank less than one serving per month. Risk more than doubled among those women who drank two or more such servings per day.
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