Gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. This happens because of a build-up of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid can accumulate in and around a joint, leading to sharp and painful uric acid crystals. Uric acid is a normal waste product the body produces when it breaks down purines, a common substance in many foods.
Uric acid will normally be removed from the blood by the kidneys, however, when high levels of purine-rich foods are eaten, the body can struggle to remove the uric acid from the blood before it crystallises in a joint causing gout.
Foods that are high in purines include offal (like liver and kidney), game (such as pheasant and venison), sugary soft drinks, seafood, and alcohol.
Not everyone who has high blood levels of uric acid, or a diet high in purines, will develop the condition. Other factors increase your risk such as a family history of gout, being overweight, kidney problems, a high alcohol intake, and taking certain medicines.