How Does Coffee Affect Gout?

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

When too much uric acid (a chemical created when the body breaks down compounds called purines) builds up in the joints, it creates needle-like crystals that cause intense pain, known as gout flare-ups or gout attacks. Certain foods or beverages like coffee may affect uric acid levels and gout flare-ups.

This article discusses research regarding the advantages and disadvantages of coffee on gout, how to prevent gout, and ways to treat the condition.

A man with gout preparing his morning coffee.


What Is Uric Acid?

Uric acid is a chemical the body creates when it breaks down purines, compounds produced in the body and found in certain foods and drinks. Most uric acid passes through the urine. However, when the body produces too much uric acid or doesn’t get rid of enough, it builds up in the blood, causing a condition called hyperuricemia, which can eventually lead to gout.

Coffee and Gout

Diet plays a role in preventing gout flare-ups. Understanding how different foods affect uric acid levels helps in managing gout. Some studies have found that coffee may have some potential benefits for people with gout, but the findings are inconsistent. 


A 2016 systemic review looked at nine studies and found that serum uric acid levels and the risk of gout both decreased with coffee consumption in men and women. The review also found that drinking at least one cup of coffee daily was associated with a reduced risk of developing gout.

However, researchers do not fully understand how coffee lowers uric acid levels. One likely explanation is that one of the polyphenols (compounds) in coffee, chlorogenic acid, suppresses the process of breaking down purine to uric acid.

Similarly, another 2016 systemic review looked at 11 studies and found an association between a lowered risk of gout and coffee consumption. However, the researchers didn’t find a significant relationship between coffee consumption and uric acid levels or hyperuricemia.

Coffee consumption might be beneficial in lowering a person’s risk of gout, but further studies are needed to support the use of coffee to prevent or treat gout.


Overall, researchers found that the systemic review had limited studies with large enough sample sizes followed over time to support an association between coffee consumption and uric acid levels.

Furthermore, a recent 2021 Korean study looked at the relationship between coffee and hyperuricemia and found that coffee consumption wasn't associated with uric acid levels.

There may be a connection between drinking coffee and a lower risk of gout, but the results are inconsistent when studying the association between coffee and uric acid level or hyperuricemia. 

One of the challenges is the lack of consistent reporting on the concentration and amount of coffee consumed across studies. Methods of coffee preparation were also not considered, such as adding sweeteners or milk, which can impact results.

Preventing Gout Attacks

Understanding the risk factors for gout is the best way to lower your risk.

Risk factors for gout include:

  • Being male
  • Having excess weight or obesity
  • Medications like diuretics (increase urine flow), low-dose aspirins, niacin (a form of vitamin B), or Cequa, Restasis, Restasis Multidose, Verkazia (cyclosporine) 
  • High levels of uric acid 
  • Family history 
  • Aging  
  • Congestive heart failure
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Poor kidney function or chronic kidney disease
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating too many foods with fructose or purine-rich foods

Symptoms of Gout

A joint affected by gout will experience symptoms such as:

  • Intense pain 
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat

Fortunately, there are lifestyle factors that can help prevent flare-ups and help you cope with gout, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Following a DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension)
  • Avoiding foods high in purines 


 Although gout is not curable, treatments are available to help manage flare-ups and reduce the risk of further complications.

Treatment may include:

  • Joint injections
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during a flare-up
  • Dietary changes to prevent flare-ups

Managing gout can help reduce the risk of developing advanced gout, tophi (chunks of accumulated uric acid that come along with advanced gout), and kidney stones.


For individuals with gout, diet and lifestyle behaviors can help prevent flare-ups. Coffee is safe to drink if you have gout and will not contribute to the build-up of uric acid.

Some studies, although inconsistent, have found some association between coffee consumption and a lower risk of developing gout. However, more research is needed to determine the relationship between coffee and gout, uric acid levels, and hyperuricemia.

A Word From Verywell

While studies on whether coffee helps lower uric acid levels are inconsistent, it does not raise levels and may even lower your risk of developing gout. You don't need to skip your morning cup of coffee, but you should be mindful of the sweeteners you use since fructose is a risk factor for gout.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does coffee raise uric acid levels?

    Some studies have shown that coffee may lower uric acid in the blood. Other studies haven’t shown an association between coffee and uric acid levels but are inconclusive about whether coffee causes those results. Coffee will not raise uric acid levels, and there is some evidence that it may even lower your risk of developing gout.

  • What kind of coffee is good for gout?

    It's best to avoid sweetening your coffee with fructose, like using sweeteners or creamers that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Studies have shown that dairy may lower uric acid levels, so adding milk to your coffee may be a good option if you have gout.

  • Does caffeine cause gout flare-ups?

    Caffeine does not cause gout flare-ups and coffee is a gout-compliant food.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MedlinePlus. Gout.

  2. MedlinePlus. Uric acid - blood.

  3. Park KY, Kim HJ, Ahn HS, et al. Effects of coffee consumption on serum uric acid: systematic review and meta-analysis. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2016 Apr;45(5):580-6. doi:10.1016/j.semarthrit.2016.01.003

  4. Zhang Y, Yang T, Zeng C, et al. Is coffee consumption associated with a lower risk of hyperuricaemia or gout? a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2016;6(7):e009809. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009809

  5. Lee JS, Kim TJ, Hong SK, et al. Impact of coffee/green tea/soft drink consumption on the risk of hyperuricemia: a cross-sectional study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(14):7299. doi:10.3390/ijerph18147299

  6. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Gout. 

  7. Center for Disease Control. Gout.

  8. Underwood M. Sugary drinks, fruit, and increased risk of gout. BMJ. 2008;336(7639):285-6. doi:10.1136/bmj.39479.667731.80

By Rebecca Valdez, MS, RDN
Rebecca Valdez is a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition communications consultant, passionate about food justice, equity, and sustainability.