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Vitamin C May Lower Gout Risk in Men

New research suggests that the use of vitamin C supplements may help stave off gout in men.

A report in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that vitamin C intake of at least 1500 milligrams per day reduces the odds of gout by 45 percent compared with an intake of less than 250 milligrams per day.

Prior research has shown an inverse link between vitamin C and uric acid levels in the blood, but whether higher concentrations of the vitamin reduces the risk of gout was unclear, according to lead author Dr. Hyon K. Choi, from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and associates.

The findings come from a study of 46,994 men who were followed from 1986 to 2006 as part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. None of the subjects had a history of gout when the study began. Vitamin C intake was assessed with validated questionnaires every 4 years and gout was determined using American College of Rheumatology criteria.

During follow-up, 1317 men developed gout, the researchers report.

As the researchers suspected, when levels of vitamin C rose, the risk of gout fell. For each 500-milligram increase in daily intake of vitamin C, the gout risk dropped by 17 percent.

The results of these data indicate that high vitamin C levels are strongly associated with a lower risk of gout, and dietary increases in this vitamin may prevent the development of gout, the authors conclude.

Further research, they add, is needed to determine how these findings apply to women and to investigate possible interactions with female hormones.