High levels of vitamin C may reduce your risk of gout, according to a new study. Still, experts say you should talk to your doctor before making big changes to your vitamin intake.
Gout affects about 3 million adults—mostly men—nationwide. It develops when your blood has too much uric acid, which can form tiny crystals in the bloodstream. The crystals can lodge in your joints and cause swelling and pain. Left untreated over time, gout can permanently damage your joints.
Earlier research suggested that high doses of vitamin C could reduce the blood’s uric acid levels. But it wasn’t clear if the vitamin would also reduce the risk of gout. To find out, NIH-funded scientists studied about 47,000 men for 20 years. None had gout when the study began, but it developed later in 1,317 of the men.
By the end of the study, men who had the highest vitamin C intake—at least 1,500 milligrams per day—had a 45% lower risk of gout than those with the smallest intake—less than 250 milligrams per day. However, the lowest-risk group took significantly more vitamin C than the recommended daily intake of 90 milligrams. These high daily doses can cause side effects.
It’s possible that other factors might account for the low risk of gout among men who take high doses of vitamin C. More research is needed to be certain that the vitamin can help reduce the risk of gout.
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