Gout — commonly referred to as the disease of kings — is a painful swelling of a joint due to the build-up of uric acid in the bloodstream. It is commonly associated with eating food high in purine, a type of protein. Foods like beer, meats, some fatty seafoods, and even some beans and vegetables are all high in purine and can bring on a gouty attack.
Gout is a type of arthritis. It has been shown that arthritis sufferers can benefit from a sauna treatment. The heat from the sauna helps reduce the perception of pain in the area, and can also help with the inflammation. However, unlike arthritis, a gouty attack is usually temporary, relieving itself in a day or two with medication and diet change.
In 2004 the Hyogo College of Medicine in Japan conducted a study of five healthy subjects and the effect on sauna bathing and beer consumption. With sufficient time between tests, each of the subjects took a sauna, drank a beer, then took a sauna and drank a beer immediately afterwards.
Beer is a known high-purine food. When they tested the subjects who drank a beer, they found that the level of purines in the blood increased, and the amount of uric acid excreted also increased.
After the sauna alone, they found that the concentration of purines in the bloodstream had decreased, with more being converted to uric acid. However, the amount of uric acid excreted from the body was also lowered.
With the sauna and the beer together, the subjects experienced significantly elevated uric acid levels in the blood, and decreased excretion of uric acid.
Their conclusion: People prone to gout should not drink beer and other alcoholic beverages after their sauna.