Four or more cups of coffee a day may help keep the gout away, suggests a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism. Gout, the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in adult males, is caused by having an excess of uric acid in the joints.

The Study

American and Canadian researchers tracked almost 46,000 men for 12 years. They were aged 40 to 75 at the start of the study and had no his-tory of gout. The researchers found that men who drank six or more cups of coffee a day were 59% less likely to develop gout than those who never drank coffee, while the risk was 40% lower for men who drank four to five cups a day. The findings were independent of all other risk factor for gout.

Decaffeinated coffee offered somewhat less protection against gout. Tea drinking and total caffeine consumption did not have an effect on the incidence of gout. This suggests that it's not caffeine but other components of coffee that are responsible for helping prevent gout, said researcher Dr. Won K. Choi of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

While he and his colleagues did not suggest that men should start drinking four or more cups of coffee a day, they said their findings may help men make an informed decision about coffee consumption.

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