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Is Coffee Bad for Gout? Health Effects & Tips to Reduce the Risks

a white ceramic cup with coffee

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that affects the joints, often the big toe, which can make it difficult to walk if it flares up. Since most people drink coffee regularly, it is natural to wonder if the caffeine can affect flare-ups. Keep reading as we discuss the good and bad of consuming this popular beverage when you have gout. We also discuss other ways to avoid flare-ups, to help you remain healthy and feeling great.

Coffee is not especially good or bad for gout. As always, depends on how much coffee you drink and the rest of your diet. Keep reading for more!

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Is Coffee Bad for Gout?


There is a great deal of concern that coffee and the caffeine that it contains can cause gout. However, this disease is a type of arthritis that results from too much uric acid in the bloodstream, creating crystal urates that build up between the joints, causing inflammation and pain. Genetics and a diet containing excessive amounts of red meat and shellfish are the primary causes. However, coffee is a strong diarrhetic that can lead to the dehydration of the body, including the kidneys, making it more difficult for them to remove uric acid. This process can enable more urates to build up in the bloodstream, which can get deposited between the joints.

Anecdotally, many people state that they experience more frequent flare-ups when consuming coffee regularly. The reason might be that caffeine is similar to the chemical allopurinol, a drug used to treat gout. It causes the deposited crystals to become mobile, leading to a painful flare-up.


Another leading cause of gout besides a diet high in red meat and shellfish is a diet high in fructose. Since many of us put sugar in our morning coffee, it can help increase the risk of gout or cause a flare-up, as sugar increases the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream.

a man with a cup of coffee
Image Credit: Evgenia Terekhova, Shutterstock

Is Coffee Good for Gout?


A few recent studies have shown that consuming coffee regularly might help treat gout. One reason is that it is similar to the chemical allopurinol, which helps cause the deposited crystals to become mobile. While it may lead to more frequent and painful flare-ups at first, the pain will subside as there are fewer crystals between the joints.

Lower Uric Acid Levels

Recent studies show that consuming coffee regularly can also reduce the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. People who drank 2–5 cups of coffee daily were 40% less likely to get gout later. Increasing your intake to at least 6 cups per day can reduce your risk of gout by as much as 59%. Unfortunately, decaffeinated coffee did not seem to have the same effect on uric acid levels in the bloodstream.

a person holding a cup of coffee
Image Credit: Daria Obymaha, Pexels

Is Drinking 6 Cups of Coffee Each Day Safe?

A standard 8-ounce cup of morning coffee usually contains between 90 mg and 140 mg of caffeine, so drinking 6 or more cups per day means you will consume 540 mg–840 mg. Most experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake to less than 400 mg daily to avoid health problems like high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, and other health problems, so the amount that you need to prevent gout will put you in danger of these issues. You can help reduce the risks by spacing out the coffee throughout the day instead of consuming it all at once. Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours, so if you consume 150 mg for breakfast, 5 hours later, there will still be about 75 milligrams in your system.

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Coffee is not exactly bad for gout, though it can lead to dehydration, making it more difficult for the kidneys to filter out the uric acid. Many people also notice more frequent flare-ups due to crystals between the joints becoming mobile. The sugar content in most commercial coffee drinks can also increase the amount of uric acid in your bloodstream. However, regular consumption of coffee can also help reduce the amount of uric acid in your system, reducing your chances of contracting gout, and the frequent flare-ups when consuming it are the early stages of an improving condition.

Featured Image Credit: Beyza Efe, Pexels


Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker, a veteran writer, has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming, and of course, coffee. He drinks a lot of it when he writes, making him an expert indeed. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.

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