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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.


Try these herbs to flush out uric acid

I'm also a gout sufferer since in my 30's and I'm now into my mid-60's. In the early days of suffering from gout, I resorted to medication (sorry, forgot the Brand & type as I took it 2x only), which upped the pain intensity during the next attack.

One day 30+ years ago, while browsing in a bookshop, I came across a book that provided info of herbal cure for gout & other ailments.

For gout, it recommended the following herbs to flush out the uric acid:
1. Alfalfa
2. Sasaparilla
3. Celery
4. Cod liver oil
5. Drink at least 1.5 liter of water.

Word of Caution: As with all herbs, it is imperative that you know it's good and bad properties ( i.e Cod liver oil is good, but people with low blood pressure must take it with caution as it thins the blood & causing a person to faint).

However, I have changed the herbal combination as the herb 'sasaparilla' is no longer on sale in Malaysia since the 1980's. I'm now taking the following herbs for my gout, which is now starting to make it's presence felt again, probably, due to the increased consumption of soya bean products, i.e tofu & etc, or the medicine I'm taking after undergoing angioplasty last year. It was in hiatus for the past 2 years.

Bought from Pharmacy
1. Devils claw
2. Milk thistle & Dandelion (combination)
3. Celery
4. Cod liver oil
5. Drink at least 1.5 liter of water as this is the medium in the form of urine that enables the herbs to do their magic to flush out the uric acid from the body.

With a high consumption of uric acid causing foods and drinks, I had to resort to the dosage as indicated below:

1. During attack
a) 3 tabs each (item 1, 2, 3 & 4) x 3 times per day (on 1st day of attack)
b) For me, the 3 tabs x 3x per day is sufficient to diminish the pain/swell to a mere 5~15%, but can still take another 1~2x, if still required. Then stop taking any more.

2. Maintenance
a) Depending on a person's ability to accumulate uric acid, 1~2 tab x
1~3x per week for 2 weeks.

Important Note: Do not continue to take the herbs continuously, if the attack
had subsided completely Take them as and when required.

I've been eating food and drinking beverages (beer, wine & etc.) that's known to cause gout attacks until after my angioplasty in October 2009, but yet after avoiding these gout causing food and drinks, I'm again getting gout.

Sometime last month, I experienced that 'gouty feeling' on my left knee, but choose to ignore it as it was ever so slight. However, at 3.00am that morning that 'gouty feeling' had reached an intensity of at least 60% of full blown. Can still lift & bend the knee as the pain was still bearable. Took a dose (items 1~4, but only half a glass of water as it was 3.00am). Started drinking extra water the next morning and by about 10~11.00am, the pain/swell had completely subsided.

The next attack was about 3 weeks ago, which was on my right knee and that 'gouty feeling' came at about 11.00pm. Immediately, took a dose together with only a glass of water as I didn't want a full bladder before going to bed. Drank extra water the next morning. No more pain/swell felt.

The 3rd attack happened last week, which attacked a spot on my palm just below the 1st & 2nd finger of my right hand. Sorted it out with a single dose of the herbal combination together with many cups of water. Pain/swell subsided to 5% left. Drank more water and it completely disappeared by 10~11.00am.

Note that the dosages are lower due to the lower consumption of uric acid causing foods & drinks and all I needed for each of these 3 attacks was a single dose of the herbal combination to flush out the uric acid to a level where the pain/swell had completely subsided. Did not need to take any maintenance dosage.

Hope this info helps.
tnlrandall - 28/09/2009

Soy milk and gout

I am 46 old male. I too is suffering from Hi Uric Acid from last 25 years and lactose intolerance. From last 6 years i am suffering from acute joint pains, specially knees. Earlier doctors said that there is no need to take any medication untill uric acid levels cross 8. Then after 3 years, X rays report of knees confirmed osteoarthritis in right knee. My uric acid levels reached upto 8.6 and then doctor put me on the medication. I don't have any typical symptoms of Gout pains like swollen big toe, inflammed joints but I suffer from svere pain in both the ankles, specially during change of season. I am an Indian, Vegetarian, non drinker, non smoker - I am unable to understand what exactly is the problem with me. I have reduced intake of food items from my vegetarian menue which the doctors and dieticians have advised like - All beans, Legumes, Tomatoes, Cheese, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Green leafy vegetables. Now I am left with very little choice of vegetables which are not available round the year. Recently from 5 months all big joints which earlier were not affected have also become painfull like hip joints, elbows, shoulders. I chanced upon this discussion since I was trying to find out whether soyabeans are bad for hi uric acid, since I had read from a book that soya protein doesn't have any bad effect. But the confusion has increased. Can any body clarify?
Anju - 10/09/2013

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 ?
walter55 - 20/09/2013

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

Hildergard - 20/09/2013

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?
Milmanix - 10/10/2013

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?
M from Jhb - 10/10/2013


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
SemenOV - 10/10/2013

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?
Adoniram - 14/10/2013


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.
Julia - 24/10/2013

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.
Rob - 24/10/2013

i used to with meals soya beans 3 times a week when i minimize my joints my back pains relieved
Guest - 24/10/2013

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
roslynne - 12/11/2013

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...
Milmanix - 12/11/2013

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
Guest - 20/11/2013

Soy milk and gout

It is safe to drink, even you have the history of GOUT Arthritis?
leo c. areola - 26/11/2013

Soy milk and gout

There is indeed a widely-held belief that consumption of soy milk increases the risk of gout or induces gout attacks. But a recent review study conducted at the Loma Linda University concluded that "although there is a need for long-term research, on the basis of the existing data there is no reason for individuals with gout or at risk of developing gout to avoid soyfoods." They took data from six epidemiologic studies and found no evidence that consumption of soyfoods is associated with uric acid levels, hyperuricemia or gout.

Reference: 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.

Rob - 26/11/2013

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 ?
Patrick R. Lim - 14/07/2014


Started drinking Soya milk 4 weeks ago and have had a Severe gout attack. I am 100% convinced it has been the trigger
Milton - 04/11/2014

im a 23 and suffering from gout, i had first gout attack last 3 years ago, i really loved drinking soya milk, i love eating eggplant and mongo beansi really would love to this Alot. i really dont like meat,but i occasionally eat burger wayback when i am not aware of me having a high uric acid. i am on low purine diet now. i would like to use tofu as my substitute for meat, could tofu trigger a flare/gout?
pkp - 11/03/2015

Soy Milk and gout

I have also found that I was flair up free for months until I started having cereal with soy milk. I didn't realize soy could be the problem . I actully thought it was good for me until reading about many others who experienced the same thing.
daveosac - 21/03/2015

role for critical thinking

I suspect walking could be expected to result in people being run over by cars, but do we dispel its benefits. Look at the context. There is a lot of bad science around, and use your critical judgement. The Japanese tend to have a high soy diet and low cancer. Maybe the low fat offsets the bad aspects of low fat. I'm not a professional in this field...I am just suggesting good thinking habits. There is a lot of bad science around.
Guest - 21/03/2015

kalonji in morning reduces uric acid level

I stopped all high uric acid diets for 2 months but my uric acid remained same. Then i started taking kalonji black seed in morning before breakfast that reduced my uric acid level in 20-25 days from 456 mg to 406 mg. Now i am continuing this, it may reduce more inshaAllah. In parallel i am taking low purine diet, trying to bring my weight to bmi level, having more water before food and no water after food. Walk after dinner.
Qaiser - 27/09/2015

Can Soy Extract cause uric acid too?

My mum currently consumed a tablet called Nuvafemme where one of the main ingredient is soy extract (Glycone Max) which is 100mg per tablet. My mum took 2-4 tablets per day previously but has now reduced to only 2 tablets per day. She felt pain in some parts of her joints and has consume the medicine to cure the joint for at least 1-2month but nothing seems to be better. I need some advice as to whether she should stop consuming the Nuvafemme medicine which contain soy extract. Please note that that medicine is good to balance her hormone and help her in her sleep. She can't without taking that medicine. Sleeping pills did not work either. I need help. Thanks if you can give me some advice
Eve Koay - 08/11/2015

For me, soy causes gout attack.

When soy was first heralded as a good thing, I added soy milk to my diet. Had several acute gout attacks before I pinned the cause to soy. Now I avoid soy. But you have to read labels. Soy in form of texturized vegetable protein is added to many food products. Small amounts may not cause a full gout flare but can definitely feel achy in joints.
PN McKenzie - 20/12/2015

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