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Objective

Western studies suggest that beverages may affect serum urate (SU) levels, but data from Asian populations are scarce. We evaluated the associations between beverages and SU levels in Singaporean Chinese.

Methods

The study population consisted of 483 subjects ages 45–74 years from the Singapore Chinese Health Study cohort, recruited between 1993 and 1998. Lifestyle factors, medical histories, and diet were collected through in-person interviews. SU levels and other biomarkers were measured from blood collected between 1994 and 1996.

Results

The mean age was 57.6 years and 44% were men. The geometric mean SU level was 321 μmoles/liter (range 157–719). Mean SU levels increased with alcohol consumption (P = 0.024 for trend). The mean SU level of daily alcohol drinkers was 42.6 μmoles/liter higher than that of nondrinkers. Similarly, increasing frequency of green tea intake was associated with rising SU levels. The highest mean SU level was observed in daily green tea drinkers (difference of 25.0 μmoles/liter) relative to nondrinkers (P = 0.009 for trend). Compared to nondrinkers, daily alcohol drinkers had an almost 5-fold increase in association with hyperuricemia (odds ratio [OR] 4.83, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.10–21.23), whereas daily green tea drinkers had a 2-fold increase in association with hyperuricemia (OR 2.12, 95% CI 1.03–4.36). The present study did not show elevated levels of SU in individuals who consumed black tea, coffee, fruit juice, or soda.

Conclusion

Alcohol consumption increases SU levels. The finding that daily drinking of green tea is associated with hyperuricemia needs validation in future studies.