Gout in men helped by vitamin C


Crusty old colonels with their feet propped on a cushion and waving a glass of port is the popular stereotype of gout, but sadly the truth is far more common. Traditionally, gout has most commonly developed in middle aged and older people – mostly men – but the condition is now being seen in younger people and also more frequently in women. A recent report suggested that, in the UK, it had increased by about 17 percent between 2007 and 2008. The reasons for this increase are unclear but it may be linked with dietary change and obesity definitely seems to increase the risk of gout.

It’s caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood which forms crystal deposits in and around the joints, a form of arthritis, which is what causes the pain and inflammation typical of the condition. However a new study in British Columbia, Vancouver, has some good news – at least for men. The researchers suggest that vitamin C might affect the reabsorption of uric acid by the kidneys, increase the speed at which the kidneys work, or protect against inflammation; all of which can reduce the risk of gout.

They examined the relationship between vitamin C intake and gout between 1986 and 2006 in 46,994 men and during 20 years of follow-up, 1,317 men developed gout. Compared with men who had a vitamin C intake of less than 250 milligrams per day, the relative risk of gout was 17 percent lower for those with a daily intake of 500 to 999 milligrams, 34 percent lower for those with an intake of 1,000 to 1,499 milligrams per day and 45 percent lower for those with an intake of 1,500 milligrams per day or higher. For every 500-milligram increase in their vitamin C intake, the men’s risk for gout appeared to decrease by 17 percent. Compared with men who did not take vitamin C supplements, those who took 1,000 to 1,499 supplemental milligrams per day had a 34 percent lower risk of gout and those who took 1,500 supplemental milligrams per day had a 45 percent lower risk. and vitamin C appears to reduce the levels of uric acid in the blood.

What all those boring statistics actually mean is that vitamin C definitely seems to lower a man’s risk of gout so it’s worth supplementing to a level of around 1000mg a day, best in two doses of 500mg if you have any history of gout in your family

Soft drinks & gout

MEN who drink five or six sweetened soft drinks a week have a 29% higher chance of developing gout (a form of arthritis), when compared with men who have less than one soft drink a month. If a daily soft drink is on the menu then the risk increases to 45%, and thirsty chaps who have two or more a day have a staggering 85% higher risk of developing gout. The study was reported in the British Medical Journal and pointed out that gout particularly tends to affect men over the age of 39 – so if you are past that birthday it might be time to switch drinks, and don’t switch to low calorie drinks as they use artificial sweeteners which are known to aggravate gout.