Milk and Gout: Milk as Part of a Healthy Gout Diet

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When I had my first gout attack very many years ago I was told to drink less milk and consume less dairy produce. (Way back then not all general practitioners were clued-up on gout.)

Since then, however, studies have shown that consuming skim or low-fat milk can actually lower uric acid and help reduce the risk of gout attacks.

This is good news for gout patients since milk provides many other important health benefits that would be sorely missed if excluded from one’s diet.

Milk and Gout Studies

At the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October 2009, researchers presented the results of a study of 16 gout sufferers.

The results showed that drinking skim milk had beneficial effects in all 16 participants. There was an average 10% reduction in serum uric acid levels, with corresponding reductions in the frequency of gout attacks.

But the same study also showed that the consumption of soy milk had the opposite effect, leading to increased uric acid blood levels of around 10%. So soy milk should definitely not be part of your gout diet.

And in an earlier longer-term study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004, the findings were similar, in that the regular consumption of low-fat milk could reduce the risk of having a gout attack by up to 43%.

According to these and other studies, then, the regular consumption of skim or low-fat milk can form part of a good gout diet.

So, as a minimum, drink 1 glass of low-fat milk every day. You might even want to consider drinking a glass of low-fat milk with each meal?

How Milk May Work to Reduce the Risk of Gout

Milk is low in purines.

Uric acid is produced when natural chemical compounds called purines breakdown during the body’s metabolizing process.

Thus higher concentrations of purines will naturally produce more uric acid than lower concentrations of purines. And we know that high serum uric acid levels are directly associated with gout.

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However, milk is low in purines. Therefore milk consumption, in and of itself, does not increase serum uric acid and so does not increase the risk of gout.

But milk also has constituents that actually lower serum uric acid.

Although the exact mechanism for milk being able to lower uric acid in the bloodstream isn’t precisely known, researchers opine that certain proteins and other milk constituents help the kidneys to excrete uric acid more readily and also prevent uric acid reabsorption back into the bloodstream.

The net result is to reduce serum uric acid levels and, therefore, the risk of gout attacks.

  • It is thought that the milk proteins casein and lactalbumin have an uricosuric effect on the kidneys which increases uric acid excretion in the urine.
  • In addition, the orotic acid in milk is thought to decrease the reabsorption of uric acid back into the bloodstream and aid its removal by the kidneys.
  • Calcium and lactose have also been associated with lower serum uric acid concentrations.

So milk is now definitely being recognized as an important part of a healthy gout management diet. Consuming low-fat milk can help to reduce serum uric acid and lower your risk of gout attacks.