Alcohol and Arthritis: Is It OK in Moderation? (2022)

When it comes to alcohol and arthritis, there are mixed recommendations. The effects of alcohol vary depending on the type of arthritis, medication, and lifestyle. It is important to check with your healthcare professional before consuming alcohol. Here is some information to consider.

Alcohol and Arthritis: Is It OK in Moderation? (1)

Alcohol and Arthritis

Consuming alcohol should be taken into consideration for arthritis patients. For some it can cause complications such as increased inflammation and stomach bleeding—depending on the medication. Although some studies share that moderate amounts of alcohol can help some symptoms of arthritis, it is not recommended to consume or start consuming alcohol. There are other ways to ease the pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease that affects the joints in the knees, wrists, and hands. It can create chronic pain in the body. When RA affects the joints, they become inflamed and cause damages to the joint tissue. Other areas impacted by RA are the lungs,
heart, and eyes.

Studies show that RA patients who drink alcohol may see improvement. One study found a modest association between a reduced risk of RA and long-term moderate alcohol consumption. However, researchers stated that other studies need to be conducted to accurately conclude findings.

Another study with patients who had early stages of RA suggested that alcohol was not associated with joint inflammation. With the inflammation due to RA and if patients are on medication for their condition, it is important to check the liver function. All options can be discussed with your healthcare professional.

How Much Alcohol Should You Drink?

The suggested amount is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of spirits.

Gout

Gout is an inflammatory arthritis. The most commonly affected joint is the big toe. Some of the symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and heat. Other affected areas can include the ankle, smaller toe joints, and knees.

Studies have shown that individuals with gout who consume alcoholic beverages have an increased risk of a gout attack. The study recommended that people with gout should limit all types of alcohol intake to reduce the risk of the attacks. Alcohol is a source of purine which forms uric acid when it is broken down in the body. Beer and liquor specifically are known to increase uric acid levels in the blood. Beer is known to have the highest level of purine content.

There was a study of 724 participants with gout, and it concluded that moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages, regardless of the type, increased the risk of gout attacks. The study also advised that individuals with gout should limit alcohol intake of all types to reduce the risk of reoccurring attacks.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It most commonly affects the knees, hips, and spine. When a patient has osteoarthritis, the tissues in the joints start to break down over time. The severity depends on the level of pain and how it affects their daily activities.

There was a study that concluded that wine is a risk factor for knee OA while beer consumption appears to be a risk factor for both knee and hip OA. Additional studies need to be concluded to determine the different types of alcoholic drinks and how they relate to OA.

(Video) Does alcohol cause arthritis inflammation and will quitting drinking help with pain?

Other Types of Arthritis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory immune-mediated disease. Individuals who have psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis (PsA). This is an inflammatory arthritis that is associated with psoriasis.

Research shows that high levels of alcohol intake may contribute to systemic inflammation and could trigger a psoriatic eruption. This is due to the fact that alcohol is known to influence the immune system. Because the immune system is triggered in different ways, consistent alcohol can lead to increased inflammatory cell responses. Although high levels of alcohol can contribute to the inflammation and psoriasis eruption, more research needs to be conducted to confirm the proper recommendations of alcoholic intake amount for individuals who have psoriasis and PsA.

Alcohol and Arthritis Medications

You should always talk to your healthcare provider about your medications and alcohol/drugs consumption, but it’s especially important with certain medications.

Disease Modifying Medications

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) are known to stop or slow the inflammatory form of arthritis. Each works differently. DMARDs are considered classified or conventional and primarily used for patients who have RA and PsA. The medication is given as a shot, taken as a pill, or infused into the vein. If a patient has arthritis and taking DMARDs, they should not consume any type of alcohol as it could increase the risk of liver disease.

DMARD Medication

  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • Leflunomide (Arava)
  • Methotrexate (Trexall)
  • Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • Minocycline (Minocin)
  • Abatacept (Orencia)
  • Rituximab (Rituxan)
  • Tocilizumab (Actemra)
  • Anakinra (Kineret)
  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Etanercept (Enbrel)
  • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
  • Golimumab (Simponi)

NSAIDs and Other Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are drugs that are frequently used to ease inflammation, pain, and stiffness. NSAIDs can be rubbed on the skin or taken orally. These drugs prevent an enzyme called cyclooxygenase from making a hormone-like chemical called prostaglandins, one of the body’s biggest contributors of inflammation.

These products are inexpensive and often prescribed for people with achy joints. Some you can get over the counter. They are also used to relieve headaches and reduce fevers. Prescription-strength ibuprofen and other NSAIDs are associated with an increased risk for GI bleeding that can become worse when combined with alcohol.

NSAID Medication

  • Aspirin(brand names include Bayer, Ecotrin, Bufferin)
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
  • Meloxicam (Mobic)
  • Diclofenac (Voltaren [available by brand name in topical form])
  • Fenoprofen (Nalfon)
  • Indomethacin (Indocin [available by brand name in liquid form])
  • Ketorolac tromethamine (Toradol)

A Word From Verywell

If an individual is on any type of medication, alcohol consumption is not recommended. If you are on medication and would like to know your specific options regarding consuming alcohol, contact your healthcare provider.

14 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis.

  2. Lu B, Solomon DH, Costenbader KH, et al.Alcohol consumption and risk of incident rheumatoid arthritis in women: a prospective study.Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Aug;66(8):1998-2005. doi:10.1002/art.38634

  3. MangnusL,van SteenbergenHW,NieuwenhuisWP, et al . Moderate use of alcohol is associated with lower levels of C reactive protein but not with less severe joint inflammation: a cross-sectional study in early RA and healthy volunteers. RMD Open2018;4:e000577.doi:10.1136/rmdopen-2017-000577

  4. Arthritis Foundation. Alcohol and arthritis.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Gout.

  6. Neogi T, Chen C, Niu J, Chaisson C, Hunter DJ, Zhang Y. Alcohol quantity and type on risk of recurrent gout attacks: an internet-based case-crossover study.Am J Med. 2014;127(4):311-318. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.12.019

  7. Roddy E, Choi HK. Epidemiology of gout.Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2014;40(2):155-175. doi:10.1016/j.rdc.2014.01.001

  8. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease.Osteoarthritis.

    (Video) How To Drink Alcohol The Healthy Way (MAX LUGAVERE)

  9. Muthuri, S.G., Zhang, W., Maciewicz, R.A.et al.Beer and wine consumption and risk of knee or hip osteoarthritis: A case control study.Arthritis Res Ther17,23 (2015).doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0534-4

  10. Wu S, Cho E, Li WQ, Han J, Qureshi AA. Alcohol intake and risk of incident psoriatic arthritis in women.J Rheumatol. 2015;42(5):835-840. doi:10.3899/jrheum.140808

  11. Arthritis Foundation. DMARDs.

  12. Humphreys JH, Warner A, Costello R, Lunt M, Verstappen SMM, Dixon WG.Quantifying
    the hepatotoxic risk of alcohol consumption in patients with rheumatoid arthritis taking methotrexate
    .Ann Rheum Dis. 2017;76(9):1509-1514. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210629

  13. The Arthritis Foundation. NSAIDs.

  14. Moore N, Pollack C, Butkerait P. Adverse drug reactions and drug-drug interactions with over-the-counter NSAIDs.Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2015;11:1061-1075. doi:10.2147/TCRM.S79135

(Video) RA Risk Lower with Moderate Alcohol Use

Alcohol and Arthritis: Is It OK in Moderation? (2)

By Yvelette Stines
Yvelette Stines, MS, MEd, is an author, writer, and communications specialist specializing in health and wellness.

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(Video) ALCOHOL IS UNBELIEVABLY DANGEROUS! (you should stop drinking alcohol now) - Jordan Peterson

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FAQs

Does alcohol flare up arthritis? ›

There's no direct evidence that alcohol has either a positive or negative impact on the condition of arthritic joints, says Rebecca L. Manno, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine in the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center in Baltimore. That said, individuals differ in how alcohol influences how their joints feel.

Why is alcohol good for arthritis? ›

Alcohol and Inflammation

Your immune system overreacts and targets your joints. That causes inflammation and swelling, most often in your hands, feet, and knees. Most scientists think the reason some alcohol may help with RA is that it lowers inflammation.

What is the best alcohol to drink if you have arthritis? ›

Red wine has a compound in it called resveratrol, which has well-established anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies show wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of knee OA, and moderate drinking is also associated with a reduced risk of RA.

What is the least inflammatory alcohol? ›

Rum. Rum is also grain-free, which means it's less inflammatory than other choices.

Is vodka good for arthritis? ›

It can alleviate symptoms caused by arthritis.

Apparently, patients who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and had semi-regular vodka drinks throughout the month felt less pain and inflammation associated with their disease, according to this study.

Why do my joints hurt when I drink alcohol? ›

Everyone knows that alcohol works as a depressant when it enters the bloodstream, influencing the functions of your body. However, it also depletes your body of water and nutrients, which in turn increases inflammation. That exacerbated inflammation in the body can be directly linked to joint pain.

Does alcohol make inflammation worse? ›

Heavy alcohol consumption contributes to systemic inflammation by interfering with the body's natural defenses against the influx of gut microbiota and its products.

Is gin good for arthritis? ›

While there is no scientific evidence that gin has any medicinal benefit, one piece of folklore has persisted. That's the use of gin-soaked raisins to treat arthritis. While there is no scientific evidence that gin has any medicinal benefit, one piece of folklore has persisted.

Does alcohol aggravate inflammation? ›

Consuming alcohol can trigger inflammation across the entire body, including in the gut, liver, face, joints, and brain. Alcohol can cause two types of inflammation: acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.

What drinks aggravate arthritis? ›

A study in 217 people with rheumatoid arthritis noted that among 20 foods, sugar-sweetened soda and desserts were the most frequently reported to worsen RA symptoms ( 2 ). What's more, sugary beverages like soda may significantly increase your risk of arthritis.

What can I drink if I have arthritis? ›

Tea is one of the best beverages for arthritis patients due to its many health benefits. Green, black and white teas are all rich in anti-inflammatory compounds like polyphenols. Green tea is generally viewed as the most beneficial because of its active ingredient “epigallocatechin-3-gallate” or EGCG.

How do you stop arthritis from progressing? ›

Arthritis progression can be slowed or halted through a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle. Certain types of arthritis can be treated with methotrexate and other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that can slow disease progression.

What is the healthiest alcohol to drink? ›

Red wine. When it comes to a healthier alcohol, red wine is top of the list. Red wine contains antioxidants, which can protect your cells from damage, and polyphenols, which can promote heart health. White wine and rose contain those too, just in smaller quantities.

What is the easiest alcohol on your liver? ›

Bellion Vodka is the first commercially-made alcohol with NTX technology — a glycyrrhizin, mannitol and potassium sorbate blend that is clinically proven to be easier on your liver.

Is vodka an anti-inflammatory? ›

New scientific research studies show that vodka can actually help heal symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Part of the reason vodka works so well is that it helps reduce inflammation just like an ice pack on a swollen wound.

Is coffee good for arthritis? ›

Coffee could potentially benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis because of the anti-inflammatory properties of coffee. 4 Reducing inflammation in the body could help ease joint pain. Also, caffeine's stimulating effects help fight physical and mental fatigue that is common with rheumatoid arthritis.

Is beer good for arthritis? ›

While moderate drinking may reduce some risks of developing arthritis, if you already suffer from arthritis or a condition like gout, it may do more harm than good. Enjoying a drink with some regularity might reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a few studies.

Why is gin the healthiest alcohol? ›

Gin has less sugar and fewer calories than some other liquors. If you already consume alcohol, gin may be a slightly healthier option. Be careful with mixers, however. They can make the sugar content of your drink skyrocket.

What is moderate drinking? ›

What does moderate drinking mean? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal icon,1 adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women, when alcohol is consumed.

Why do legs hurt after drinking? ›

People who drink too much may start to feel pain and tingling in their limbs. This is known as alcoholic neuropathy. In people with alcoholic neuropathy, the peripheral nerves have been damaged by too much alcohol use. The peripheral nerves transmit signals between the body, the spinal cord, and the brain.

Can drinking red wine make your joints hurt? ›

Foods or drinks that are rich in purine (an aromatic organic compound), such as beer, distilled liquor, and wine, are known to trigger gout attacks. Moreover, grain-based alcohol, such as beer, that contains gluten is known to trigger joint pain and flare-up the symptoms of RA.

Can I drink alcohol with rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Drinking alcohol in moderation is typically safe for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). According to the Arthritis Foundation, drinking alcohol in moderation is usually safe and may even reduce certain types of inflammation.

What is the fastest way to reduce inflammation in the body? ›

Simple rules of thumb for anti-inflammatory eating:
  1. Eat more plants. Whole plant foods have the anti-inflammatory nutrients that your body needs. ...
  2. Focus on antioxidants. They help prevent, delay or repair some types of cell and tissue damage. ...
  3. Get your Omega-3s. ...
  4. Eat less red meat. ...
  5. Cut the processed stuff.
13 Aug 2019

Is banana good for arthritis? ›

Bananas and Plantains are high in magnesium and potassium that can increase bone density. Magnesium may also alleviate arthritis symptoms.

What happens if you drink gin everyday? ›

The juniper berries in gin contain flavonoids, which can clean clogged arteries. It can also reinforce the connective tissues of the veins. Having moderate amounts of gin every day (one small glass) can decrease the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.

Can arthritis be reversed? ›

A person cannot reverse arthritis, but they can manage their symptoms. Arthritis commonly causes joint inflammation with swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. According to the Arthritis Foundation, almost 60 million adults and 300,000 children have some form of arthritis.

What are the 5 classic signs of inflammation? ›

Based on visual observation, the ancients characterised inflammation by five cardinal signs, namely redness (rubor), swelling (tumour), heat (calor; only applicable to the body' extremities), pain (dolor) and loss of function (functio laesa).

Is beer an anti-inflammatory? ›

Clinical studies have suggested that the moderate consumption of beer is beneficial for human health, mainly due to the phenolic compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Which milk is good for arthritis? ›

Some dairy products, such as butter, contain a high amount of saturated fat. This can also contribute to inflammation and joint pain. Soy milk and almond milk are some good substitutions for dairy products.

Can you drink alcohol with arthritis? ›

If you have arthritis and want to drink, talk to your doctor. Even with a doctor's ok, limit yourself to one drink a day. That's about 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of spirits. Excess drinking can damage your body in many other ways.

Does alcohol make inflammation worse? ›

Heavy alcohol consumption contributes to systemic inflammation by interfering with the body's natural defenses against the influx of gut microbiota and its products.

How do you get rid of alcohol inflammation? ›

Other lifestyle changes that can help reduce inflammation include exercising for 20 minutes a day, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep (7-9 hours/night), and decreasing stress through relaxation and mindfulness techniques.

How long does inflammation from alcohol last? ›

Swelling after a night of drinking is usually temporary and may be gone within 24 to 48 hours. However, there are some things you can do to relieve swelling and any discomfort it's causing by getting rid of water retention after drinking alcohol. Get Immediate Treatment Help.

Does Whisky affect arthritis? ›

There's some research to support that people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) might benefit from a few alcoholic drinks a week, and that that level of alcohol consumption might also reduce the risk of developing RA. At the same time, it is possible that drinking could increase inflammation and make RA symptoms worse.

Is gin good for arthritis? ›

While there is no scientific evidence that gin has any medicinal benefit, one piece of folklore has persisted. That's the use of gin-soaked raisins to treat arthritis. While there is no scientific evidence that gin has any medicinal benefit, one piece of folklore has persisted.

What is considered moderate drinking? ›

What does moderate drinking mean? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal icon,1 adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women, when alcohol is consumed.

Is vodka an anti-inflammatory? ›

New scientific research studies show that vodka can actually help heal symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Part of the reason vodka works so well is that it helps reduce inflammation just like an ice pack on a swollen wound.

Which milk is good for arthritis? ›

Some dairy products, such as butter, contain a high amount of saturated fat. This can also contribute to inflammation and joint pain. Soy milk and almond milk are some good substitutions for dairy products.

Is wine an anti-inflammatory? ›

Wine contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is harmful and may increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and certain cancers. Therefore, it's best to prevent this type of inflammation as much as possible ( 5 ).

What are the 5 classic signs of inflammation? ›

Based on visual observation, the ancients characterised inflammation by five cardinal signs, namely redness (rubor), swelling (tumour), heat (calor; only applicable to the body' extremities), pain (dolor) and loss of function (functio laesa).

Does all alcohol cause inflammation? ›

Alcohol does cause inflammation of different organs including pancreatic cells. However, this inflammation may be reduced by drinking certain alcoholic beverages such as red wine. Certain alcoholic beverages, such as red wine, reduce inflammation because it contains tannin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

Can you drink alcohol with rheumatoid arthritis medication? ›

Even moderate alcohol consumption is not advised for people who take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, to treat the pain and swelling of RA.

How long does it take to reset your body from alcohol? ›

In terms of BAC, alcohol is typically eliminated at a rate of 0.015 per hour. If you have a BAC of 0.08, then it will take about 5.5 hours for your body to process and eliminate the alcohol you drank. When someone drinks large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time they may experience alcohol poisoning.

How long does it take for alcohol to get out of your liver? ›

The half-life of alcohol is four to five hours. A half-life is how long it takes for your body to get rid of half of it. But you need about five half-lives to get rid of alcohol completely. So, it takes about 25 hours for your body to clear all the alcohol.

How long do you have to abstain from alcohol for your liver to recover? ›

Individuals who occasionally binge drink on weekends can usually avoid toxic liver diseases when abstaining from alcohol for two weeks to a full month. Most expert guidelines suggest avoiding drinking alcohol for 30 days to help your liver restore to its normal function.

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