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October 6, 2022 Could Taking Vitamin C Help Reduce Your Chances of Gout? A new study sheds light on this possibility.

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that has been on the rise in the United States in recent decades. Some are considered a disease of civilization research has shown that cases of the condition have more than doubled in recent years as obesity rates have skyrocketed. It is caused by uric acid in the blood collecting and crystallizing in the joints. Flare-ups are so intense that joints can turn cherry red and vibrate intensely and sometimes seemingly unbearable Pains.

Although there are effective treatments, many people don’t take their medication when they doYou have no pain and if the condition is left uncontrolled it can get much worse and cause permanent damage to the joints.

“Gout can cause flare-ups that vary in frequency and severity; but sometimes, when people don’t experience them, they’re less likely to stay on top of their medications,” she says Stefan JuraschekMD, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Therefore, lifestyle interventions are considered particularly relevant for a disease like gout. Vitamin C, for example, has few side effects, and for those with higher blood uric acid levels, it could reduce the chance of developing the disease. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people given 500 milligrams of vitamin C had a 12% reduced risk of developing gout compared to a placebo. The study of over 14,000 male doctors showed that men who were not overweight reduced their risk of developing this condition the most. (overweight has been shown to increase the risk of gout.)

As part of the study, participants answered a questionnaire asking if they had ever been diagnosed with gout. Other studies have shown that vitamin C reduced uric acid levels in people without gout and urinary crystals broken down in the blood, but this study went a step further to show that the supplement actually reduced the risk of developing the condition.

“In addition to lowering uric acid levels in the body, it’s believed that vitamin C may also minimize the inflammatory response to uric acid crystals,” he says Juraschek. Because when joints flare up throughout the body, much of the painful irritation is caused by the response of the immune system struggling to break down the crystals.

Juraschek says this probably wouldn’t change the recommendations for patients with severe gout, but it could still have an impact.

“People who have been told they have gout but have had fewer flare-ups may be more open to taking vitamin C,” he says.

Will Settle, 42, of Hilton Head, SC, was not involved in the study, but says he would try almost any safe preventive method. Gout runs in his family. His father and grandfather had it, and now he has it too. His flare-ups have slowed down in recent years, which he says has a lot to do with his diet and lifestyle. He stopped eating seafood, started drinking more water and stopped drinking as much alcohol All of this, he says, has had a major impact on the severity of his condition. (Both seafood and beer contain high levels of purines, which have been shown to increase blood uric acid buildup.) Settle says other simple lifestyle changes, like vitamin C, would be an easy addition to his routine with few downsides. Also, he hates taking colchicinea drug meant to relieve pain but gives him severe diarrhea when he takes it.

“Anything to reduce flare-ups without having to take it colchicine,” he says.

However, it is still unclear whether vitamin C will have any real benefits. co-author of the study Robert H. Schmerling, MD, is the former Clinical Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in New York. He says the study shows that the effect of vitamin C was modest in patients who were undiagnosed with gout. In addition, vitamin C did not show a reduction in gout flare-ups in those who had already been diagnosed with the condition. Not to mention that the study lacked diversity as the participants were all male and mostly white. Still, there is little risk in taking vitamin C, and it might be worth it in the end.

“Perhaps it will prove to be an effective treatment in high-risk patients, but we’re not there yet,” he says.

Robert TerkeltaubmdChief of Rheumatology at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Diego and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, says there is an unmet need for gout prevention tools.

“The disease affects about 10 million Americans, and we need to better identify these individuals so we can intervene earlier,” he says.

While vitamin C had a small but significant association with fewer new cases of goutit didn’t lower it in those who already had the disease, says terkelpigeon. Whats more, researchers didt measure blood uric acid levels, which would have painted a more accurate picture of whether vitamin C is actually reducing it in the body.

“There is still no clarity on vitamin C’s potential role in preventing or treating gout. However, future research would be of interest,” he says.

However, gout patients like Settle do not rule this out. Anything to avoid the pain that sometimes makes it difficult for him to get out of bed. He’s seen the benefits that simple lifestyle changes can bring, and he’s willing to try just about anything to lead a normal, arthritis-free life.

“I’m always looking for easy ways to keep my flare-ups at bay,” he says.



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