Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world and may affect serum uric acid levels and risk of gout via various mechanisms. Our objective was to evaluate the relationship between coffee, tea, and caffeine intake and serum uric acid level in a nationally representative sample of men and women.
Using data from 14,758 participants ages ≥20 years in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988–1994), we examined the relationship between coffee, tea, and caffeine intake and serum uric acid level using linear regression. Additionally, we examined the relationship with hyperuricemia (serum uric acid >7.0 mg/dl among men and >5.7 mg/dl among women) using logistic regression. Intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire.
Serum uric acid level decreased with increasing coffee intake. After adjusting for age and sex, serum uric acid level associated with coffee intake of 4 to 5 and ≥6 cups daily was lower than that associated with no intake by 0.26 mg/dl (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.11, 0.41) and 0.43 mg/dl (95% CI 0.23, 0.65; P for trend < 0.001), respectively. After adjusting for other covariates, the differences remained significant (P for trend < 0.001). Similarly, there was a modest inverse association between decaffeinated coffee intake and serum uric acid levels (multivariate P for trend 0.035). Total caffeine from coffee and other beverages and tea intake were not associated with serum uric acid levels (multivariate P for trend 0.15). The multivariate odds ratio for hyperuricemia in individuals with coffee intake ≥6 cups daily compared with those with no coffee use was 0.57 (95% CI 0.35, 0.94; P for trend 0.001).
These findings from a nationally representative sample of US adults suggest that coffee consumption is associated with lower serum uric acid level and hyperuricemia frequency, but tea consumption is not. The inverse association with coffee appears to be via components of coffee other than caffeine.