March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Consuming more vitamin C may help reduce a man's risk of gout, according to researchers who studied almost 47,000 men over a 20-year span.
During that time, more than 1,300 of the men developed gout. Compared with those whose vitamin C intake through food and supplements was less than 250 milligrams a day, the risk for gout was 17 percent lower among men with a daily intake of 500 to 999 milligrams, 34 percent lower for those who took in 1,000 to 1,499 milligrams, and 45 percent lower with a daily intake of 1,500 milligrams or more.
For every 500 mg increase in vitamin C intake, the risk for gout fell 17 percent, the researchers calculated.
Risks were similar when comparing men who did and did not take supplements. Those who took 1,000 to 1,499 supplemental milligrams a day had a 34 percent lower risk of gout than men who did not take vitamin C supplements. The risk was 45 percent lower with 1,500 supplemental milligrams daily.
The researchers said it appears that vitamin C reduces levels of uric acid, which can form crystal deposits that cause the pain, inflammation and swelling associated with gout. Vitamin C may affect reabsorption of uric acid by the kidneys, increase the speed at which the kidneys work or protect against inflammation, all of which might reduce the likelihood of developing gout.
The study is published in the March 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
"Given the general safety profile associated with vitamin C intake, particularly in the generally consumed ranges as in the present study (e.g. tolerable upper intake level of vitamin C of less than 2,000 milligrams in adults, according to the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine), vitamin C intake may provide a useful option in the prevention of gout," wrote Dr. Hyon K. Choi, who was with the University of British Columbia when the study was conducted and is now with the Boston University School of Medicine.
SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, March 9, 2009