Could consuming vitamin C lessen the likelihood of getting gout? A recent study clarifies this possibility.
Inflammatory arthritis, such as gout, has become more common in the US in recent years. Research has found that the disorder, which is classified as a lifestyle disease, has more than doubled in prevalence in recent years as obesity rates have surged. It is brought on by blood-borne uric acid that accumulates and crystallises in the joints. The intensity of flare-ups can cause the joints to vibrate and turn cherry red. The pain can also be extreme and occasionally appear intolerable.
Although there are effective treatments, many people choose not to take their prescriptions when they are not in pain. If this situation is not addressed, the problem can worsen and lead to chronic joint damage.
According to Stephen Juraschek, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, “gout can create flare-ups that vary in frequency and intensity, but often when people aren’t experiencing them, they’re less inclined to keep on top of their prescriptions.”
Because of this, lifestyle modifications are thought to be especially pertinent for a condition like gout. For those with higher blood levels of uric acid, vitamin C, for instance, has few adverse effects and may lower the risk of developing the illness. According to a recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those who received 500 milligrammes of vitamin C daily compared to those who received a placebo had a 12% lower risk of developing gout. Men who were not overweight had the most notable reduction in risk of developing the illness, according to the survey of over 14,000 male doctors. (Excess weight has been linked to a higher chance of developing gout.)
Participants in the study answered to a questionnaire that inquired if they had ever received a gout diagnosis. This study went one step further by demonstrating that vitamin C really lowers the likelihood of developing the ailment. Previous studies have demonstrated that the supplement lowers urate levels in individuals without gout and dissolves uric crystals in the blood.
According to Juraschek, vitamin C may lessen the body’s inflammatory reaction to urate crystals in addition to lowering uric acid levels. This is due to the fact that a large portion of the painful irritation brought on by flare-ups in joints throughout the body is brought on by the immune system’s reaction as it struggles to dissolve the crystals.
This, according to Juraschek, probably wouldn’t alter advice for people with severe gout, but it might still have an effect.
“Persons who were diagnosed with gout but have seen fewer flare-ups may be more receptive to taking vitamin C,” he says.
Will Settle, 42, of Hilton Head, South Carolina, who was not engaged in the study, claims he would be open to trying almost any secure preventive measure. His family is prone to gout. Now since his father and grandfather had it, he has too. He attributes a lot of the decrease in his flare-ups in recent years to his food and way of living. He stopped eating seafood, increased his water intake, and reduced his alcohol use, all of which he believes have had a significant impact on the severity of his ailment. (High quantities of purines found in both seafood and beer have been demonstrated to accelerate the uric acid buildup in the blood.) According to Settle, adding vitamin C to his programme would be a straightforward adjustment with little drawbacks. Additionally, he detests having to take colchicine, a drug that is supposed to ease pain but instead gives him severe diarrhoea.
Anything to prevent me from taking colchicine would help, he says.
But whether vitamin C will actually offer any advantages is still up for debate. Robert H. Shmerling, MD, a study co-author, served as the division’s clinical chief of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in New York. He claims that the research demonstrates how little vitamin C had an impact on gout patients who had not yet been given a diagnosis. Additionally, in people who previously had a gout diagnosis, vitamin C did not show a decrease in gout flare-ups. Not to add that the study lacked diversity because all of the participants were men and most of them were white. However, there aren’t many risks associated with taking vitamin C, so it might be useful.
“We’re not there yet,” he says, “but maybe it will turn out to be a successful treatment in individuals who are at high risk.”
There is a need for gout prevention strategies, according to Robert Terkeltaub, MD, chief of rheumatology at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Diego and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
About 10 million Americans are affected by the disease, and he claims that in order to intervene early, we need to properly identify these people.
According to Terkeltaub, vitamin C did not lessen gout in people who already had the condition, despite a small but substantial relationship between fewer new instances and the vitamin and fewer new cases. Additionally, blood uric acid levels were not measured, which would have provided a more realistic picture of whether vitamin C actually reduced uric acid levels in the body.
“The potential role of vitamin C in the prevention or treatment of gout is yet unclear. Having said that, further study would be worthwhile, he adds.
Gout sufferers like Settle aren’t excluding it, though. Anything to avoid the discomfort, which occasionally makes it challenging for him to get out of bed. He has experienced the advantages of making little lifestyle adjustments, and he is ready to do almost anything to live a normal, arthritis-free life.
He says, “I’m always seeking for easy solutions to stop my flare-ups.”