Going vegetarian can reduce the risk of gout because fewer crystals build up around joints

Going vegetarian can reduce your risk of gout: scientists believe that those who cut meat have lower blood levels of the substance known to cause the painful condition

  • A study found the results after analyzing the diet of nearly 14,000 people
  • Vegetarians had the lowest amount of uric acid known to cause gout
  • They also had the lowest incidence of gout that looked at health records

Vegetarians have a lower risk of gout – the painful condition that Henry VIII once suffered, research shows.

Scientists analyzed the diet of thousands of adults to discover that those who cut meat have the least chance of developing the disease.

Tests also showed that the vegetarians had lower blood levels of uric acid, the substance known to cause gout.

The findings of researchers in Taiwan add to the existing evidence that a poor diet can lead to the crippling form of arthritis.

Figures show that about two percent of people in the UK and the US have gout.

Vegetarians have a lower risk of gout - the painful condition that Henry VIII once suffered, research shows

Vegetarians have a lower risk of gout – the painful condition that Henry VIII once suffered, research shows

Experts from Fu-Jen Catholic University interviewed 13,935 participants about their diet, in particular what food they eat and how often.

Hoping to find a connection between gout and nutrition, their dietary habits were compared with their health records.

The participants, who were recruited between 2005 and 2009, were followed up until the investigation ended in 2014.

A total of 4,903 participants were from the Tzu Chi Health Study, whose levels of uric acid were almost monitored.


Gout is a form of arthritis that can be very painful.

Roaming attacks occur very quickly, often at night.

It affects around two percent of people in the UK and 8.3 million in the US.

Gout was once thought to be caused by too much food and drink, but that's not the whole story.

The condition occurs as a result of the build-up of uric acid, which may be because a person's kidneys cannot remove the substance quickly enough.

Over time, uric acid crystals can form in and around the joints, leading to severe inflammation that usually settles within a week.

About two thirds of a person's uric acid is already present in their body, while the remaining third comes from the breakdown of the chemical compounds purines in certain foods and beverages.

Foods and drinks with a high content of purines include:

  • Alcohol
  • Red meat and offal
  • Fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon
  • Foods that are rich in yeast extract, such as Marmite and Bovril

In addition to pain, the symptoms may include joints:

Without treatment, gout attacks can occur more often, affecting more joints.

The two most common painkillers for treating gout are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and colchicine.

Source: Arthritis examination UK

High levels of uric acid in the bloodstream can lead to crystals, which are then built up in soft tissues and joints, causing the painful symptoms of gout.

The rest, 9,032 participants, were from the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study.

The study showed that vegetarians had a lower risk of gout and that vegetarians who eat egg and dairy, known as lacto-ovo vegetarians, had the lowest levels of uric acid concentration, followed by vegans and then meat eaters.

& # 39; We found a significant difference in uric acid concentration between lacto-ovo vegetarians and non-vegetarians in both men and women, & # 39 ;, wrote the authors.

& # 39; A vegetarian diet, compared to a non-vegetarian diet, has been consistently associated with a lower risk of gout. & # 39;

The researchers said that the reason a plant-based diet is protective is because meat and seafood are high in the purine compound that increases uric acid production, as other studies have shown.

In addition to this, vegetarian diets tend to contain lower saturated fat and more foods rich in phytochemicals that can prevent inflammatory reactions that cause gout attacks.

Well-known sufferers include Henry VIII, where the Tudor monarch is the reason that gout is known as the & # 39; disease of the kings & # 39 ;.

And the founder Benjamin Franklin is said to have missed many meetings held to prepare the Declaration of Independence for gout.

Gout may return every few months or years, but if left untreated, it may become chronic according to the NHS, leading to kidney stones and joint damage.

What starts as unbearable pain and swelling in the big toe can move to other joints of the lower body, such as the ankle or knee.

The research comes after a myth-bunkering study in October confirmed that the painful form of arthritis is not caused by unhealthy eating.

Excessive eating with beer, wine and red meat increases the risk of gout by just one percent, researchers at the University of Otago discovered.

Instead, the inflammatory condition is largely determined by genetics, the academics conclude in the British Medical Journal.