Oranges Men with less vitamin C intake may have a higher risk of developing gout, which is a painful type of arthritis. This revelation was made by Hyon K. Choi, M.D., Dr. P.H., presently at the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues.

The investigators examined the relationship between gout and vitamin C in about 46,994 men, between the time period of 1986 and 2006. Every four years, the study subjects had to undergo a dietary questionnaire. During this period, their vitamin C intake through food and supplements was also monitored. Participants were asked to report after every two years, whether they had been diagnosed with or had developed the symptoms of gout.

The investigators state that, “Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in men. Epidemiologic studies suggest that the overall disease burden of gout is substantial and growing. The identification of the risk factors for gout that are modifiable with available measures is an important first step in the prevention and management of this common and excruciatingly painful condition.”

During a follow-up period of about 20 years, around 1,317 men were said to have developed gout. It was discovered that the men with daily vitamin C intake had a lower risk of developing gout as compared to others. The men with daily intake of about 500 to 999 milligrams of vitamin C relatively had a 17 percent lower risk of developing gout; as compared to the men who had less than 250 milligrams of vitamin C. The risk further reduced by 34 percent for those with an intake of about 1,000 to 1,499 milligrams per day. The one’s with a daily intake of around 1,500 milligrams or higher were said to have a 45 percent lower risk of developing gout.

“Given the general safety profile associated with vitamin C intake, particularly in the generally consumed ranges as in the present, vitamin C intake may provide a useful option in the prevention of gout,” conclude the investigators.

It has also been found that vitamin C may be able to reduce the level of uric acid in the blood. A buildup of this naturally occurring compound can form crystal deposits in and around the joints, which may even lead to swelling, inflammation and pain related to gout. Vitamin C may also influence the re-absorption of uric acid by the kidneys. This could aid in accelerating the rate at which the kidneys protect against inflammation, which could in turn reduce the risk of developing gout.

Their findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the journals of JAMA/Archives.