What are the Causes of Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis condition that is caused by the buildup of excessive uric acid in the body. Uric acid is created from the breakdown of substances called Purines. Purines are naturally found in the body's tissues, but can also be found in certain foods such as red meat, beans, anchovies and certain vegetables.

Normally, uric acid dissolves into the blood. It is then filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and leaves the body in urine. Under certain circumstances, uric acid can build up in the blood. This can occur when:

  • The body increases the amount of uric acid it makes
  • The kidneys are unable to filter out enough uric acid
  • A person consumes too many foods high in purines

When too much uric acid accumulates in the blood a chemical reaction occurs where the blood's pH environment changes to enable the uric acid to form need-like crystals. These crystals localize around the joints and articular tissues and cause an inflammatory response that results in pain and discomfort in the joints and surrounding tissue.

Variety of things can cause gout

If you believe you are having gout attacks make sure to check our gout quiz to find out your severity level.

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There are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood of uric acid buildup and eventually lead to gout:

  • Age and Gender
  • It's been determined that men produce more uric acid than women. Men in particular between the ages of 40 and 40 are more likely to develop gout. Whereas women rarely develop the condition before menopause. Additionally, according to the National Arthritis Data Workgroup 1 young adults at age 20 and older are reported to developing gout.

  • Genetics
  • In an estimation between 20 and 80% of individuals who have a family history of the gout condition have been shown to be more likely to develop the condition as well later on in their life.

  • Lifestyle Choices
  • While uric acid can be found naturally in the body, consumption of certain foods and drinks introduce additional compounds that create uric acid. Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with the body's ability to dispose of uric acid and can contribute to the accumulation or uric acid. Additionally, eating a diet that comprises of foods that are high in purines can also increase the amount of uric acid in the body. Recognizing foods that are high in purines is an important step to gout relief and prevention, you can find an extended list of foods here.

  • Lead Exposure
  • According to the American Journal of Medicinei have high amounts of lead present in the system can contribute to gout.

  • Medications
  • Usage of certain medications can contribute to the increase of uric acid levels in the body. These drugs include:

    • Diuretics
    • Salicylate containing drugs
    • Niacin
    • Cyclosporine
    • Levodopa

There are many other medications that we have not listed here that could cause gout make sure to consult with your doctor.

  • Weight
  • Being overweight can increase the risk of accumulating uric acid due to there being more tissue available for turnover or breakdown.

  • Other Health Problems
  • Having other conditions that effect the efficiency of your kidneys, blood levels or even the breakdown of your body's systems as your age can contribute to gout. Other medical problems that contribute to high levels of uric acid include:

    • High blood pressure
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Conditions that cause an excessive rapid turnover of cells, such as psoriasis, hemolytic anemia or other cancers
    • Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome or Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, two rare conditions that affect the presence or completely rid of the enzymes that control uric acid levels.

Frequently Asked Questions About Causes

Can you list some foods that can cause flare ups?

  • Beer
  • Red Meats
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Anchovies
  • Codfish
  • Haddock
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Mussels
  • Clam
  • Roe
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Trout
  • Eat shellfish is moderation
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Grapes
  • Prunes
  • Dates

Can apple cider vinegar cause gout?

Apple cider vinegar is actually an excellent ingredient for homeopathic treatments, it's recommended to consume apple cider vinegar to help lower blood pH levels and contribute to the filtration of uric acid in the blood.

Can bendroflumethiazide causes gout?

Bendroflumethiazide can interact with some medical conditions, this includes gout. If you are currently on this medication, discuss with your doctor options to help overcome your gout condition.

What are the causes of chronic/severe gout?

Acute gout flare-ups can affect individuals once in their lives or can be recurring. In some cases, gout can even become severe overtime. Some conditions can contribute to the increased severity of your gout condition, this includes:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Kidney or liver disease

Can alcohol cause gout attacks?

Drinking excessive amounts of beer has been shown to raise uric acid levels. It's best to avoid drinking beer and if put in a situation where alcohol is involved, opt to drink wine in moderation.

Causes of tophaceous gout?

Tophaceous gout or chronic gout are caused by the localization and accumulation of uric acid crystals in the tendons, bones, cartilage and even in softer tissues of the body.

Can coffee cause gout?

Arthritis experts have found that excessive coffee consumption can contribute the rise of uric acid levels. It's recommended that gout sufferers only drink 1 to 2 cups a day or drink tea instead of coffee as a caffeine substitute.

Can cranberry juice cause gout attacks?

Cranberry juice has actually been found to decrease the level of uric acid in both the urine and blood. A study from the Journal of Urology from 2005 found that subjects that drank cranberry juice decreased uric acid amounts significantly.

Can dehydration cause gout?

Dehydration can often contribute to both the cause of gout as well as the worsening of pain from gout. This is due to the increase of blood uric acid concentration which can lead to a gout attack. Aim to drink at least eight cups of water a day to combat a gout attack.

Can diet coke cause gout?

While soda has been shown to increase uric acid levels, studies have shown that diet sodas do not increase uric acid levels and have not been directly linked to gout attacks.

Can stress or emotional issues cause gout?

Stress or emotional stress has not been directly linked with gout, however it can contribute to habits that can cause gout. Stress and emotional issues can lead to poor dietary habits that can result in weight gain or excessive drinking. Maintaining a balanced state of mind is optimal for a better quality of life.

Can exercise cause gout?

Exercise has not been clinically shown to affect the levels of uric acid in the body. Instead, it's encouraged to help in weight loss and overall maintenance of health. If already suffering from a gout attack, it's best to avoid exercise as any stress on the inflamed joints will only prolong inflammation and heighten the severity of your gout attack.

Can Gatorade cause gout?

While Gatorade is touted as a sports drink and excellent replenishment, it's not necessary and can easily be replaced by a banana or coconut water. Gatorade should be avoided due to its high fructose content which can lead to gout attacks.

Can glucosamine cause gout?

Glucosamine is a concern for gout sufferers due to it containing shellfish, a food potentially high in purines. However since the medication is made from the exoskeleton and not the meat it doesn't contain purines. Therefore, this medication should not be cause of worry for a gout attack.

Can gluten cause gout?

Allergic reactions from wheat and wheat gluten can cause flares in arthritis and gout.

Can gravy cause gout attacks?

Many rich sauces and dressings that are high in fat tend to increase the risk for a gout attack. Try avoiding brown and white gravy as well as hollandaise sauce.

Can green tea cause gout?

Green tea is considered a low purine food. It's recommended that you drink green tea in moderation to avoid overconsumption and future gout attacks.

Can high fructose corn syrup cause gout?

High fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar that can lead to excessive weight gain and poor health. Excessive weight can lead to the risk of decreasing the kidney's efficiency leading to poor filtration of uric acid.

Can high protein diet cause gout?

Going on high protein diets that generally include red meats and fish that are on the high purine list can contribute to a gout attack. When considering a high protein diet, be mindful of your protein sources to ensure you are not consuming high amounts of purine.

Can aspirin cause gout?

Aspirin can contribute to the elevation of uric acid levels due to its impairing effect on the kidneys. Since the kidneys have to work to filter the aspirin through the body, it leads to the accumulation of uric acid.

Can diurectics cause gout?

Diuretics can cause a gout attack due to it making your urinate more and reducing the amount of fluids in your body. This increases the risk of the development of uric acid crystals thus causing gout.

How hypertension cause gout?

Conversely, gout or the high levels of uric acid present in the blood has been shown to cause high blood pressure. Additionally, certain high blood pressure medications can cause a raise in uric acid levels and eventually lead to gout.

Can Obesity Cause Gout?

Obesity is a result of poor lifestyle choices that can lead to the development of insulin resistance which causes elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, chronic kidney disease, heart attacks and uric acid levels. The combination of these conditions alone makes an obese person more likely to develop gout among other health conditions.

How thiazide causes gout?

Thiazide is a diuretic that forces your body or expel more fluids that lead to a significant loss of fluids in the body that can increase the risk of uric acid forming crystals that lead to gout attacks.

Hydrochlorothiazide causes gout

Hydrochlorothiazide is used for treating high blood pressure and fluid retention, it is a type of diuretic that increases the amount of salt and water the kidneys remove from the blood which causes a decrease of fluid volume in the body. This causes the uric acid to become concentrated and form crystals that result in a gout attack.

insulin resistance causes gout

Insulin resistance can be linked to many conditions that include, elevated uric acid levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and heart attacks. Insulin resistance is very common in overweight and obese individuals who are more likely to be predisposed to develop gout.

Can ketosis causes gout?

Following a keto diet has no real connection to elevated uric acid levels. However what should be a consideration with weight loss (no matter what dietary plan or method you choose), it should be noted that the breakdown of tissue will release and elevate uric acid levels. While this is not a cause for concern on the negative effects of weight loss, it's important to remember that certain compounds can be kept in fat tissue that can then be exposed when broken down.

Kiwi fruit causes gout?

Kiwi is a fruit that has moderate levels of purine that should not affect your uric acid levels unless consumed in excess. However, those predisposed with gout are likely to develop kidney stones. Stones can form from either too much uric acid or calcium oxalate. Fruits like Kiwi can cause the precipitation of calcium oxalate in the kidneys and increase your risk of developing kidney stones.

Can lactic acid cause gout?

Lactic acid is formed when alcohol is broken down by the body. Lactic acid can block the secretion of urate in the kidneys which can lead to uric acid accumulation and increase your likelihood of a flare up.

Can lemon juice cause gout?

Studies have shown that consumption of Vitamin C and vitamin C supplements help dissolve the uric acid present in your blood. Lemon juice is a citrus fruit that is naturally high in vitamin c and can help to prevent gout attacks by ridding of uric acid in the blood.

Can lipitor cause gout?

Lipitor is a high blood cholesterol medication that has been shown to elevate uric acid levels, thus leading to the increased risk of gout. It is especially true for men over 60 who have been taking the medication for 5 to 10 years.

Can lisinopril cause gout?

Lisinopril is a medication that treats high blood pressure. Studies have shown that high blood pressure medications can elevate uric acid levels and contribute to an increased risk of gout.

Paleo diet causes gout?

The paleo diet supports the high consumption of fruits, vegetables and meats. This can be problematic when considering that many of the high value meats in the paleo diet are also on the high purine list. While it's important to monitor your purine intake through meats, it's more important to get rid of fructose and beer when trying to keep uric acid low. Additionally, white meats and certain fish are low in purines which makes them a viable option when it comes to being paleo and restricting your purine intake. Moderation and careful consideration of your intake is what is the most important when preventing a gout attack.

Peanut butter causes gout?

Peanut butter and most nuts are considered to be low in purines and safe to eat when considering a gout diet. They are also valuable sources of protein, however can be high in fat and can lead to some weight gain so it's important to consume in moderation.

Quinoa causes gout?

Quinoa is a low purine food that can also help to alkalize your body's fluids. This is extremely beneficial when it comes to ridding the body of uric acid and preventing gout.

Ramipril causes gout

Ramipril is a medication that treats high blood pressure. Studies have shown that high blood pressure medications can elevate uric acid levels and contribute to an increased risk of gout.

Can red wine cause gout?

While beer has been directly linked to the elevation of uric acid levels, wine has not shown any association with gout flare ups. Red wine can be enjoyed in moderation, which equates to 1 to 2 cups a day.

Rhubarb causes gout?

Rhubarb contains oxalic acid, when it is dissolved into the bloodstream it reacts with the calcium oxalate present in your system which can clog your kidneys and lead elevated uric acid levels. This can happen when you eat an excess of rhubarb and can even lead to oxalate poisoning.

Shrimp causes gout?

Shrimp contains moderate levels of purine. It should be enjoyed infrequently and only be consumed in moderation to avoid elevating uric acid levels.

Soy milk causes gout

Compared to cow's milk, soy milk has been shown to elevate the level of uric acid in the body. This is because soybeans contain a moderate amounts of purines and are on the list for foods to avoid in excess when it comes to a gout related diet. Instead of soy milk opt for almond, cow or coconut milk.

Spinach causes gout?

Spinach contains oxalic acid, when it is dissolved into the bloodstream it reacts with the calcium oxalate present in your system which can clog your kidneys and lead elevated uric acid levels. This can happen when you eat an excess of rhubarb and can even lead to oxalate poisoning.

Can vegan diet cause gout?

A vegan diet can prove to be useful in combating gout as it avoids purine rich meats and other animal by products that can elevate uric acid levels. Even the vegetables that contain purines do not contribute significantly to the uric acid levels in your blood. The only consideration would be to avoid eating excess soy products as soy has a moderate level of purines.

Can viagra cause gout?

Viagra is known to have the side effect of severe dehydration. Dehydration or the lack of fluid in the body can lead to the heavy concentration of uric acid that can then form gout and trigger gout flare ups.

Can vitamin b cause gout?

Vitamin B is a soluble substance that when introduced into bloodstream can actually help stave off a gout attack. Vitamin V, specifically Folic acid plays a helpful hand by combating xanthine oxidase, an enzyme that's essential in the creation of uric acid. Vitamin B can be consumed as a supplement or found in collard greens, broccoli, papayas and strawberries.

Can vitamin c cause gout?

In a study conducted by Choi et al in USA, it was found that individuals who consumed vitamin C were likely to lower their risk of gout. This is thought to be due to vitamin C's influence on the excretion of uric acid in the urine. Evidence has also shown that vitamin C can help in reducing the production of uric acid in the body.

What nuts causes gout?

H.K. Choi a rheumatologist published a study that found that nuts don't contain purines or have very low levels that have little effect on uric acid levels. It's encouraged to include nuts in your diet as they are good sources of proteins and healthy fats. However, if you are overweight or trying to lose weight, eating nuts in moderation is absolutely necessary as their high fat content can lead to weight gain. Excessive weight and weight gain can lead to gout.

Can yeast causes gout?

Yeast which can be found in beer and breads are high in purines and can contribute to the increase of uric acid in the blood. It's often recommended that you significantly decrease your bread and beer intake in order to avoid gout attacks.

Can zinc cause gout?

Zinc has a direct effect on various enzymes that are involved in the synthesis of proteins and tissues. This is especially important for gout sufferers because zinc can help speed the recovering from the inflammation caused by gout and can help speed up recovery and tissue repair. Zinc is a great supplement to take when seeking relief and long term damage to your tissues and joints.


National Arthritis Data Workgroup, this estimate is based on self-reports, which may produce an overestimation of prevalence, as cited in Helmick CG, Felson DT, Lawrence RC, Gabriel S, Hirsch R, Kwoh CK, et al.; National Arthritis Data Workgroup. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States. Part 1. Arthritis and Rheumatism 2008;1:15-25.