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Soy and gout

Gout or inflammatory arthritis is affecting more than 3 million people in the United States. Gout is a disease created by a build-up of uric acid in the body fluids. The elevated level of uric acid results in the deposition of monosodium urate or uric acid crystals on the articular cartilage of joints, tendons and surrounding tissues. These crystals provoke an inflammatory reaction of these tissues. All cells contain purines, which are building blocks for RNA and DNA. During digestion the purines are converted into uric acid which is secreted by our kidneys and our gut. Defects in the functioning of the kidney that may be genetically determined are responsible for the predisposition of individuals for developing gout. Individuals with increased risk of gout should limit the intake of purine-rich food such as meat and seafood. Soy is considered as a food rich in purines and often considered less suitable for individuals with gout. But is soy really that bad for gout sufferers?

Studies about soy and gout

A Japanese study by Yamakita and co-workers of Hyogo College of Medicine concluded that tofu is a safe source of protein for gout patients due to its small and transient effect on plasma urate levels.
They found that the intake of tofu by normal individuals only slightly increased the plasma level but no such significant rise was observed in gout patients (1). Another study by Hyon K and co-workers found that a moderate intake of purine rich vegetables is not associated with increased risk of gout. This was a large scale study involving more than 45.000 men over a period of 12 years. Higher intake of meat and seafood consumption showed and increased risk of gout, whereas a high intake of dairy products was linked with a decreased risk. The consumption of purine-rich vegetables or individual purine-rich vegetables was not associated with the risk of gout. Protein rich foods tend to contain higher levels of purines but the proteins seems to lower the serum uric level, especially vegetable protein (2). A recent review study conducted at the Loma Linda University by Messina and co-workers concluded that based on the existing data there is no reason for individuals with gout or at risk of developing gout to avoid soyfoods (3). The researchers took data from six epidemiologic studies and found no evidence that consumption of soyfoods is associated with uric acid levels, hyperuricemia or gout.


(1) Yamakita J, Yamamoto T, Moriwaki Y, Takahashi S, Tsutsumi Z, Higashino K. Effect of Tofu (bean curd) ingestion and on uric acid metabolism in healthy and gouty subjects. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1998;431:839-42.
(2) Choi HK, Atkinson K, Karlson EW, Willett W, Curhan G. Purine-rich foods, dairy and protein intake, and the risk of gout in men. N Engl J Med. 2004 Mar 11;350(11):1093-103.
(3) Messina et al. Soyfoods, hyperuricemia and gout: a review of the epidemiologic and clinical data. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(3):347-58.

Comments (14)

soya proteine and gout
Do people who suffer from gout have to avoid soya protein ? The should avoid alcohols and red meats but also anything that produces purines like beans and so on , What about soyabeans ?
#1 - walter55 - 09/20/2013 - 08:12
soya proteine and gout
Soya belongs to the products with "moderate high levels" of purines. Therefore soya products should be eaten with moderation if you suffer from gout.

Purine content of some foods per 100g:
- liver: 230 mg
- soya beans: 120 mg
- meat: 60-90 mg
- tofu: 29 mg
- brocolli: 21 mg
- cheese: 5 -13 mg
- apple: 6 mg

#2 - Hildergard - 09/20/2013 - 10:03
Is soya the trigger?
Just got back from the ED of the local hospital this morning and was diagnosed for the first time with gout near my big toe on my left foot. Couldn't believe it! I'm relatively fit and healthy, been losing weight steadily for about six months as I'm now 48 I thought I'd work a little harder at looking after myself. Anyway, getting back to the point I came home and got straight on to the computer to find out more about gout, how it's caused, what to do about it etc. and discovered this site and these posts. I'm quite sure I'm lactose intolerant although I've never been to a doctor about it, just always avoided milk, ice cream and yogurts etc. at least for the past 10 years. Recently, however, I have been buying and eating soya yogurts from the supermarket. I've not had many, probably 8 small pots over the past 3-4 weeks. After reading these posts I'm now wondering if they could have triggered my attack? (The most pain I've ever experienced!). I'm going to knock soya on the head now and avoid it to see what happens, but I would like to know if rice or non-lactose milk are as beneficial to gout sufferers as Harvard and others indicate dairy is?
#3 - Milmanix - 10/10/2013 - 14:00
Gout triggers
I was just looking to see what the effect of soya is on gout and veryglad to see your info posted. Thanks! Just another thing> My husband has had sever gout for about 13 years. What we did find was that since we cut mushrooms from his diet, he has had no major attacks and has even been able to eat some red meats without suffering afterwards. Any comments on this?
#4 - M from Jhb - 10/10/2013 - 16:12
My mate her arthritis and tummy pains have dissapeared since she stopped drinking any cows milks. Soya milks better 4 u. Her hand r also healed now du to stopping cows milk too
#5 - SemenOV - 10/10/2013 - 18:17
Effect of Soya to those with uric acid
My laboratory test showed that I have a high uric acid. My doctor recommended that I should avoid eating beans. Monggo and Soya beans are my favorite food. Despite of warnings, I keep on eating soya beans. I did not feel any changes nor any bad effect in my body. Could you please confirm any negative effect of eating soya beans to those who have high uric acid?
#6 - Adoniram - 10/14/2013 - 06:35
Soy is extremely difficult to digest and leaves a lot of waste in the colon making digestion of anything else difficult as well. It also interferes specifically with protein digestion. Read the research Clean your system.
#7 - Julia - 10/24/2013 - 13:03
Effect of Soya to those with uric acid
Soybeans contain indeed high levels of purines (which break down to uric acid in the body). Soybeans are a concentrated food; they also contain high protein levels. When you express the purine levels as a percentage of total protein, soybeans contain less purines than meat. So there should be nothing wrong when using soy instead of meat. On the other hand, dairy products are low in purines.
#8 - Rob - 10/24/2013 - 16:44
i used to with meals soya beans 3 times a week when i minimize my joints my back pains relieved
#9 - Guest - 10/24/2013 - 18:22
Soya milk and gout
Following ahysterectomy7years ago, Iwas advised to include soya in my diet.
Ihad never suffered with gout or any other form of arthritis up until then. I tried to eat more healthily, give up the toast for breakfast and have cereal each morning with soya milk.
I have suffered agonies over the last 6/7 years with what was diagnosed as gout. My ast and most severe attack left me with what I thought was permament damage in my ankle. So much so I was sent for x rays as the pain and swelling went on for 4 months or more.
Over the years I had blamed various foods such as tomatoes, lemonade etc. Then due to various circumstances in December, I was unable to shop as normal, relying on local shops who did not stock soya milk.
Within 3 weeks there was considerable improvement. The swelling had gone down and the pain was easing.
Now I am completely pain free and can wear normal shoes for the first time in years.
I would never have associated the soya milk as a trigger, but after looking up soya milk/gout on the computer discovered your website and realised I was not alone.
I feel as though I've got a part ofmy life back I thought was gone forever.

Roz Eaton
#10 - roslynne - 11/12/2013 - 13:32
Update to last post
It's just over a month now and I thought I'd post an update. My gout was gone after about 4 days, the diclophenic (Pain killers) helped alot before it went of its own accord. I haven't had any more soya products and found that the lactose free milk works fine with me. I can have this without any of the side effects I experienced with regular milk. I've tried to take in dairy at least twice a week. I can't say if it is actually beneficial to my gout situation but psychologically it helps and it's nice to be able to have custard (Lactose free!) again on my mince pies! I know gout can sometimes disappear and then show up again years later, this might be the case with me too. I'll have to wait and see. But the only thing I've changed in my eating habits over the past month is the soya, I've even eaten mackerel, sardines and salmon (I love fish!), all of which are supposed to be off the menu for gout sufferers because they increase uric acid - I've had no problems, so make your own conclusions...
#11 - Milmanix - 11/12/2013 - 14:13
Soya mil causes gout
I never had a gout attack until 8/28/11 after I drink qt. of soy milk for the frist time
#12 - Guest - 11/20/2013 - 08:05
You say : soybeans contain less purines than meat
You write :
Purine content of some foods per 100g:
- liver: 230 mg
- soya beans: 120 mg
- meat: 60-90 mg

Which is correct ?
#13 - Patrick R. Lim - 07/14/2014 - 08:52
Started drinking Soya milk 4 weeks ago and have had a Severe gout attack. I am 100% convinced it has been the trigger
#14 - Milton - 11/04/2014 - 08:27
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