Vitamin C a 'gout preventer'

Men who get plenty of vitamin C may boost their resilience to the painful joint disease gout, work suggests.

In the 20-year study of nearly 47,000 men, daily supplements of the vitamin found in sprouts, peppers and oranges appeared to cut gout risk. The US researchers believe vitamin C has a dual action - easing inflammation and lowering uric acid levels in the body that go awry in gout. The findings are published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Experts warned that the news should not be taken to mean that it was fine to lead an unhealthy lifestyle and pop a vitamin pill to counteract this. There are a number of risk factors for gout, including taking certain medications, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and eating an unhealthy diet high in meat. Although the condition is more associated with Victorian times, the numbers with gout have been increasing over the last 30 years and currently about 1.5% of the UK population has the condition.

In the study, 1,317 of the men, who were all health professionals, developed gout. Compared with men who did not take vitamin C supplements, those who took 1,000mg to 1,499mg per day had a 34% lower risk of gout and those who took 1,500mg per day had a 45% lower risk. This was irrespective of other gout risk factors such as diet and alcohol use. Lead researcher Dr Hyon Choi, of Boston University School of Medicine, said there were good reasons to believe that vitamin C was having a beneficial effect on the men.

Source - BBC

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