Might vitamin C prevent gout?

 Several studies show that higher vitamin C intake reduces uric acid blood levels.

Researchers from British Columbia and Boston studied the link between vitamin C and the risk of actually getting gout.

First, the details.

  • Vitamin C intake and the risk of gout were monitored in 46,994 men with no history of the disease.
  • The men were followed for 20 years.
  • During the study, participants completed questionnaires on the onset of gout and their use of vitamin C.

And, the results.

  • There were 1317 cases of gout.
  • The risk of gout decreased significantly as the daily dose of vitamin C increased from less than 250 mg to 1500 mg or greater.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Higher vitamin C intake is independently associated with a lower risk of gout. Supplemental vitamin C intake may be beneficial in the prevention of gout.”

John Mepham has written extensively about CAM and gout. He has several thoughts and cautions, which add perspective to these results.

  • Vitamin C appears to work by increasing uric acid elimination via the kidneys.
  • However, the relationship between uric acid blood levels and gout risk isn’t perfect.
  • In fact, most people with high uric acid blood levels don’t get gout, while some people with normal levels do.
  • Rapid changes in uric acid levels (as when suddenly taking high doses of vitamin C) can trigger a gout attack.

If you think you’re at risk or already have gout, speak with your doctor before starting a high-dose regimen of vitamin C.

3/10/09 11:00 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.