Is Green Tea Good For Gout?

'A Quick Readers Question From A Gout Sufferer'

The Short Answer –

Green Tea makers will claim it has infinite benefits for the body, but is green tea good for gout?

Can gout be prevented or nullified by simply drinking green tea regularly? Several reader asked if there was indeed a strong link, so we did the research to give the fullest answer. In theory it should help, but the problem is in what concentration you have to drink it. Below we reveal the reality…

An image of traditional japanese green tea being poured from a teapot into a cup

Is Green Tea Good For Gout – The Background

Gout is a form of arthritis that is principally derived from your bodies’ ability, or rather lack of ability, to handle uric acid.

Uric acid is a bi-product created by your body, principally from certain foods/ drinks. The body is in balance when the amount of uric acid produced matches the amount of uric acid your kidneys secrete that leaves your body as urine.

Hyperuricemia…

When your body is producing more uric acid than it can get rid of, then a build up will occur. This build up of uric acid then has a technical name – hyperuricemia.

If you have hyperuricemia it doesn’t always follow however that you will definitely suffer with gout. Gout or ‘gouty arthritis’ only occurs when your excess uric acid starts to be converted into urate crystals and these urate crystals start building up around particular joints.

The end result is the swelling, heat, inflammation and pain that we know to be a gout flare up.

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An info graphic showing 8 of the main alleged benefits of drinking green tea

The Case For Why Green Tea Might Be Good For Gout..

Allopurinol is a drug frequently used to combat gout. It works by attempting to lower your uric acid levels, by blocking the enzyme xanthine oxidase.

Without getting too technical xanthine oxidase is an enzyme that facilitates the production of uric acid by your body.

Blocking it inhibits your bodies’ ability to produce the uric acid required to form urate crystals.

Allopurinol, perhaps not surprisingly, is described as a ‘xanthine oxidase inhibitor’

Why this is important…

The relevance of my explaining this is that green tea contains high levels of what are known as ‘catechins’, of which ‘Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)’ is the most frequent.

This particular substance within green tea is thought to also inhibit xanthine oxidase and therefore reduce uric acid production.

So the logic runs that if green tea can inhibit xanthine oxidase in the same way that popular gout drug, Allopurinol does, but without many of the side effects of allopurinol, then it must be a great idea? Green tea must be able to help gout.

Is Green Tea Good For Gout – The Evidence…

Unfortunately, while theory is one thing, practice is frequently another. In the case of green tea, a number of studies have been carried out on the same theories – that green tea could help gout.

However, the results were at best, mixed. One particular trial which summed up most of the others quite well, was conducted by Jatuworapruk et al in The Journal Of Clinical Rheumatology

Disappointing results…

They concluded that while green tea extract did ‘modestly’ reduce uric acid production, it’s effect was not huge and was very short-term.

Green tea also contains a number of anti-oxidants and, again in theory, these may help with inflammation during a gout attack.

The only problem is there has been virtually no comprehensive trials done in patients already suffering with gout – previous trials have focused mostly on healthy patients and their uric acid levels.

Huge amounts of green tea needed to see a result…

The results that we do have would suggest that the volumes of green tea needed to make a difference could be quite substantial, but it’s still very difficult to know how much is needed – or even if it works the same on gout sufferers.

So…. is green tea good for gout? As much as I hate sitting on the fence, on this occasion I’m going to have to say the clinical data just doesn’t know.

Neither have I met enough patients that say it has helped in order to offer some anecdotal support.

Tips On Making Green tea.

Just a quick tip that if you decide to drink green tea for whatever reason, you should always try to brew it in a traditional teapot and for at least 5 minutes in order to release the antioxidants and ‘flavonoids’ from the tea into the boiling water.

The Final Word –

I was asked the question ‘does green tea help gout’? I haven’t really had much experience with patients reporting that green tea was their saviour, but

I have conducted a thorough review of what little data exists.

In the end, I can’t back the theory that green tea does help gout – there are too many question marks to be sure.

Certainly pure green tea has many benefits and, if you quite enjoy it anyway, then increasing consumption to combat gout is an option.

Will it work at all…

Whether it works is another question and I certainly would question some of the sites trying to sell ‘green tea extract’ as a tablet to counter gout.

We know that putting any enzyme/ antioxidant into a tablet version typically reduces the concentration substantially and may remove the benefits altogether.

Given that there are already concerns over the strength of the xanthine oxidase inhibition to pure green tea, an extract is likely to be just a waste of money.

But as always, I will keep abreast of any changes and update you if new data becomes available.

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Further Gout-Related Reports...

References –

1. Jatuworapruk K, Srichairatanakool S, Ounjaijean S, Kasitanon N, Wangkaew S, Louthrenoo W. (Sept 2014)

Effects Of Green Tea Extract On Serum Uric Acid And Urate Clearance In Healthy Individuals. The Journal Of Clinical Rheumatology.

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