Higher intakes of vitamin C may reduce a man’s risk of gout, the most prevalent inflammatory arthritis in adult males, by up to 45%.
Researchers evaluated the vitamin C intake from both diet and supplements in 46,994 men using a dietary questionnaire at four-year intervals (1). During 20 years of follow-up, 1,317 cases of gout were documented. According to the study, for every 500 milligram increase in vitamin C intake, a man’s risk of gout was cut by 17%; for men with vitamin C intakes of at least 1,500 milligrams per day, the risk of gout was cut by 45%.
Gout is a disease caused by a disturbance in uric acid metabolism. During a gout attack the body uses uric acid to form painful urate crystals. According to the United States National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, gout occurs in 8.4 of every 1,000 people and is most prevalent in men over the age of 40.
The researchers said that given the general safety profile associated with vitamin C intake, particularly in the generally consumed ranges as in the present study (e.g., tolerable upper intake level of vitamin C of less than 2,000 milligrams in adults according to the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine), vitamin C intake may provide a useful option in the prevention of gout.
Commenting on how the vitamin may protect against gout, the researchers noted that vitamin C may reduce levels of uric acid in the blood, thereby preventing the formation of urate crystals.