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Can vitamin C prevent gout?

Can vitamin C prevent gout?

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Gout is a painful condition that is more likely to affect men. We look at research which touts vitamin C is an important ingredient in the prevention and management of gout.

What is gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid. This build up forms small crystal deposits around the joints and tendons, causing inflammation, swelling and intense pain.

Gout quite often affects the big toe and ankle, although it can occur in any joint (uric acid can also crystallise in the kidney to form kidney stones).

It is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in men, especially middle aged men who are overweight, who have high blood pressure, or who have a family with history of the disease. 

What is the link between gout and vitamin C?

Painkillers and drugs that lower uric acids levels are used to treat gout. However, a recent study has shed new light on the role of vitamin C in the treatment and prevention of gout.

A 20 year study examined 46,994 men who started out with no history of gout. During the study, the men had their vitamin C intake from food and supplements calculated every four years. The research clearly showed that as vitamin C intake increased, the risk of gout decreased.

This result supports previous research where individuals were given either 500 mg of vitamin C or a placebo (an inactive tablet where the subject thinks they may be taking vitamin C). Those taking the vitamin C for two months had a statistically significant reduction in uric acid levels compared to subjects taking a placebo.

How does vitamin C reduce the risk of gout?

According to the researchers, vitamin C may help to reduce the level of uric acid in the body by speeding up its elimination by the kidneys. Because vitamin C is an antioxidant, it may also help to reduce inflammation.

How to increase your vitamin C intake

A balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables every day will help to boost your vitamin C intake. Foods such as orange, mango, paw paw, strawberries, capsicum and broccoli are all good sources of vitamin C. 

Natural therapies

Emotional stress and ill health can increase the excretion of vitamin C from the body and may increase the need for this vitamin. The body can not store much vitamin C, so daily consumption is important.

 References available on request