Vitamin C may slash gout risk in men: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Vitamin c intake Vitamin c

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 per cent, says a new study.

According to findings published in the new issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine​, for every 500 milligrams increase in vitamin C intake, a man’s risk of gout was cut by 17 per cent.

And for men with vitamin C intakes of at least 1,500 milligrams per day, the risk of gout was cut by 45 per cent, said the findings of a prospective study with 46,994 men conducted by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine.

“The present study, to our knowledge, provides the first prospective evidence about the inverse association between vitamin C intake and risk of gout,”​ wrote the researchers, led by Hyon Choi.

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 US 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.

“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,”​ added Choi and his co-workers.

Study details

Choi and his co-workers evaluated the vitamin C intake from both dietary and supplements for 46,994 men using a dietary questionnaire at four year intervals between 1986 and 2006. During 20 years of follow-up, 1,317 cases of gout were documented.

The researchers calculated that, compared with men who had a vitamin C intake of less than 250 milligrams per day, men with a vitamin C intake between 500 to 999 mg the risk of gout decreased by 17 per cent, men with intakes between 1,000 to 1,499 mg the risk of gout decreased by 34 per cent, and for men with intakes over 1,500 mg the risk of gout was decreased by 45 per cent.

The benefits were also notable for men taking vitamin C supplements, with a daily dose of between 1,000 and 1,499 mg associated with 34 per cent reduction in risk, and a daily dose of at least 1,500 mg associated with a 45 per cent reduction in risk, said Choi and his co-workers.


Commenting on how the vitamin may be protecting against gout, the researchers noted that vitamin C may reduce levels of uric acid in the blood, thereby preventing the formation of the urate crystal. This may be achieved by vitamin C having an effect on the reabsorption of uric acid by the kidneys. This would increase the speed at which the kidneys work or protect against inflammation, all of which may reduce gout risk, they added.

“These prospective data indicate that vitamin C intake is strongly associated with a lower risk of gout,”​ wrote the researchers. “Increasing vitamin C intake may be beneficial in the prevention of gout,” ​they concluded.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine​ 2009, Volume 169, Issue 5, Pages 502-507“Vitamin C Intake and the Risk of Gout in Men: A Prospective Study”​ Authors: H.K. Choi, X. Gao, G. Curhan

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