Gout and Vitamin CMarch 10, 2009 Written by JP [Font too small?]
If you’ve ever had gout, you know exactly what it is. Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid crystals form in your joints. Unlike the most common forms of arthritis, gout pain comes and goes. When it strikes, it can provoke intense, burning pain and swelling in the affected joints. The joint in the “big toe” is a frequent site of a gout attack.
There are conventional treatments for this dreaded condition, such as the use of anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids. But the standard medical care isn’t always successful and it’s not without risk of serious side effects.
Fortunately, there are safe and natural ways that can help reduce the prevalence of gout and help protect you from this “pain in the toe”.
Ascorbic Acid vs. Uric Acid
A study just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine provides powerful support for the preventive role of vitamin C in the management of gout. This trial comes on the heels of prior research that suggests an association between higher vitamin C consumption and lower levels of uric acid (which can contribute to gout).
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine carefully constructed a protocol to determine if there was any connection between vitamin C intake and gout attacks. The following elaborates on the study design:
- Data was collected from almost 50,000 men over the course of 20 years.
- Food and supplement questionnaires were provided every 4 yours to estimate daily vitamin C consumption.
At the conclusion of the 20 year period, the researchers tabulated all the data from the patients’ medical histories and questionnaires. The results of their analysis revealed a striking and irrefutable pattern:
- In total, there were 1,317 documented cases of gout reported.
- The men who consumed between 500 to 999 mg of vitamin C were 17% less likely to develop gout than those with intakes less than 250 mg.
- The participants who took 1,000 to 1,499 mg of vitamin C daily were protected by 34%.
- The top tier of vitamin C users (1,500 mg or greater) displayed the greatest level of protection – 45%.
This led the authors of the study to proclaim that, “These prospective data indicate that vitamin C intake is strongly associated with a lower risk of gout.” They went on to suggest that, “Increasing vitamin C intake may be beneficial in the prevention of gout.”
I think it’s important to consider such information in the larger context of overall good health. For instance, high levels of uric acid may also contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Since these two conditions are implicated as the leading causes of death and disease in the modern world, it would wise to address them in every way possible.
There are other scientifically proven methods to reduce the likelihood of gout. A few of the best options are summarized from a recent collection of scientific papers:
- Staying physically fit (exercising), maintaining an appropriate weight and eating plenty of low-sugar fruits and vegetables may afford protection from uric acid build up.
- Avoiding drinks containing fructose (like fruit juice and soda) and limiting your intake of high-sugar fruits may decrease the incidence of gout attacks.
- This may come as a surprise, but coffee appears to combat gout as well. In fact, the greater the amount of coffee consumed, the lower the risk of this debilitating inflammatory condition.
When I look at the totality of the information presented here, I attempt to see the big picture. For me, that means trying to incorporate a little bit of everything. It may not be enough to just take vitamin C or to simply drink lots of coffee. Even if that would be adequate, by utilizing the other preventive steps, you’ll likely support your body in areas far beyond your big toe.
Tags: Coffee, Gout, Vitamin C
Posted in Bone and Joint Health