Staying hydrated: Is Still or Sparkling Water Better for Gout?

For those of us who live with gout, it can be easy to feel helpless when yet another gout attack strikes. It often seems that nothing helps with the intense pain, swelling, and resulting debilitation caused by flare-ups and we must simply wait for the symptoms to subside. But, while there is no cure for gout, there are some things you can do to help reduce the frequency and severity of such attacks.

One of the first actions your doctor will advise is to stay hydrated. While this might not sound like a particularly drastic action, it can be extremely helpful in preventing gout attacks. But is still or sparkling water better for gout?

Water and Gout

Gout is an incurable inflammatory form of arthritis linked to increased blood uric acid levels. Uric acid is a chemical that is created when our body breaks down substances called purines. This is a natural process in which uric acid is usually filtered out of the body via the kidneys through our urine. However, in some cases, this process isn’t performed effectively.

This can be related to a number of factors, including a high intake of purines (some foods are higher in these natural compounds than others), problems with the kidneys such as kidney disease, and genetics. High uric acid levels (also known as hyperuricemia) can also be linked to high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and the use of certain medications, such as diuretics.

Over time, uric acid can begin to form sharp crystals in the joints (particularly in the feet) leading to the familiar symptoms of gout.

Why is Drinking Water Good for Gout?

When seeking medical advice for suspected gout, many patients find that one of the first recommendations from their GP or other healthcare professional is to drink more water. But why exactly is water good for gout?

Well, we have all heard that we should drink eight glasses of water a day - and with good reason. Staying adequately hydrated allows our body to work at maximum effectiveness. Considering our bodies are made up of two-thirds water, it makes sense that we need to keep these levels topped up!

But staying hydrated can be even more important for gout sufferers. That’s because drinking water can actually help to flush uric acid out of the body. Furthermore, people with hyperuricemia who drink insufficient amounts of water may also be at an increased risk of arterial stiffness and vascular health issues.

Still versus Sparkling Water for Gout

You may have heard it said that sparkling water is more hydrating than still water (or vice versa, depending on which camp the orator sits in), but is this really the case? And if so, does this make one better than the other when managing gout?

Well, you may not be surprised to learn that this claim is simply not true in either case. This was proved in a recent study by researchers at St. Andrews University of Scotland which compared the hydrating effects of various beverages, including still water, sparkling water, milk, cola, juice, and coffee.

Despite being infused with carbon dioxide to form the bubbles that many of us either love or hate, the authors noted that both still and sparkling water are, essentially, the same thing. As a result, they can be seen as equally hydrating.

However, they also suggest that the carbonation in sparkling water may affect how much water we actually consume…

For example, some people might find the added flavour helps them to drink more water, while others may find the bubbles make them feel bloated so they drink less. Nonetheless, this effect is believed to be minimal. Likewise, when it comes to preventing the symptoms of gout, it appears that still and sparkling water may be equally good choices for staying hydrated.

Furthermore, while alkaline water has been gaining some recognition in recent years for its potential benefits, there is little conclusive evidence to suggest it is any more effective for reducing gout symptoms.


Drinking plenty of water is especially important for people who suffer from gout attacks. In fact, many sources indicate that consuming up to 16 glasses of water per day during a gout attack can be beneficial. However, it seems that you can choose to enjoy either still or sparkling water for gout - depending on your preference! Either way, taking other precautions, such as eating a gout-friendly diet and taking regular supplements can help to more effectively stave off gout attacks.

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