Study links increased familial risk of gout, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption

The development of gout is linked to prolonged consumption of a purine-rich diet. Heavy alcohol is known to be a significant risk factor, as it can increase uric acid production and impair its excretion. A recent study published in Arthritis Care & Research has reported an increased risk of developing gout in patients with a family history, obesity, or moderate alcohol consumption.

The population-based cohort study conducted by Dr. Kyoung-Hoon Kim and co-researchers evaluated the impact of family history and environmental factors on the development of gout. They analyzed data from the Korean National Health Insurance database and the National Health Screening Program dataset. The study findings showed significantly elevated disease risk in individuals who were both overweight and had a family history of the disease (hazard ratios [HR] = 4.39), as well as in moderate drinkers (HR = 2.28). A dose-response interaction was also observed, as the interaction was more prominent in obese (RERI = 1.88) or heavy drinkers (RERI = 0.36) as opposed to overweight or moderate drinkers. Subjects who had gout-affected first-degree relative demonstrated a 2.42-fold (95% CI 2.39, 2.46) elevated risk for the disease compared to those with unaffected first-degree relatives.

In contrast, a Mendelian randomization study conducted in 2022 has found no evidence of a causal relationship between higher alcohol consumption and the onset of gout. The study used genetic predictions of weekly alcohol intake and found that this factor did not have a causative impact on either the risk of gout (P = 0.35) or blood uric acid levels (P = 0.73). Additionally, when the blood uric acid levels were divided by alcohol status, no significant difference was observed for both gout (P = 0.92) and hyperuricemia (P = 0.23) subgroups.

The current study findings show that genetic and lifestyle factors such as obesity or heavy alcohol consumption could potentially increase the risk of developing gout more than either factor alone. However, further research is necessary to corroborate such interactions and to provide the necessary counseling to patients with a family history of gout.


  1. Kim KH, Choi IA, Kim HJ, Swan H, Kazmi SZ, Hong G, Kim YS, Choi S, Kang T, Cha J, Eom J. Familial Risk of Gout and Interaction with Obesity and Alcohol Consumption: A Population‐Based Cohort Study in Korea. Arthritis Care & Research. 2023 Jan 30.
  2. Syed AA, Fahira A, Yang Q, Chen J, Li Z, Chen H, Shi Y. The Relationship between Alcohol Consumption and Gout: A Mendelian Randomization Study. Genes. 2022 Mar 22;13(4):557.