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Equal Coffee Time For The Ladies

A just-released study says that women who cultivate a long-term everyday coffee habit may just lower their profiles for developing gout.

Prior research had already determined that male java drinkers get some protection from the brew against gout. But this study was the first to show that coffee protects women against gout, too. Study author Hyon Choi, MD, DrPH, a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine says that coffee in this case is beneficial rather than harmful.

Severe Pain

Gout is a form of arthritis that is the result of a buildup of uric acid within the body, which then crystallizes within the joints. This causes severe pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation. Over six million people are afflicted with the condition which is far more common in men. However, current research shows that gout in the postmenopausal woman is on the rise. Because gout has always been seen as a male disease, there is less research on the subject of how gout affects women.

26 Years

The new study, which was published in the August 25, 2010 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved the analysis of data that took 26 years to amass and involved almost 90,000 female nurses. The nurses ranged in age from 30-55 and the information was culled from questionnaires filled out by the nurses every 2-4 years. Scientists were able to compare the rates of gout among women who drank tea, decaffeinated coffee, or caffeinated coffee.

The researchers found 896 confirmed cases of gout among the nurses. They found that the rate of gout correlated in large measure to the amount of coffee a woman drank. The more coffee a woman drank, the less likely she was to develop gout. In fact, the risk for gout in women who drank 4 cups of regular coffee each day fell 57%, while women who drank 1-3 cups a day lowered their risk for gout by 22% in comparison to women who refrained from drinking coffee.

Dr. Choi said it was more difficult to generate statistics relating to the ingestion of decaffeinated coffee, since it seems that this version of coffee is not consumed in such large amounts as the regular, caffeinated brew. Choi's team was only able to evaluate the effects of drinking one cup of decaffeinated coffee per day. Drinking one cup of decaffeinated coffee each day lowered the gout risk of the women by 23% in comparison to those who refrained from coffee of any sort.