The Vitamin That Can Help Reduce Your Risk Of Gout Attacks

For people who live with gout, the condition can become so painful and uncomfortable that it interferes with everyday activities. A visit to the doctor to try and get some relief sometimes becomes necessary. Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when a build-up of uric acid in the blood causes crystals to form in or around certain joints, resulting in pain and inflammation (per the Mayo Clinic). Uric acid forms in the body in response to the breakdown of the chemical purine, which is naturally occurring in the body and is also found in certain foods.

There are several medications that can help manage gout symptoms, as well as reduce uric acid buildup. For those who are interested in managing gout more naturally, there is a vitamin that may help. Best of all, this vitamin can be found in many foods, meaning it can be easily incorporated into an existing low-purine diet.

Vitamin C can help reduce uric acid in the blood

A 20-year study published in 2009 by a research team from the University of British Columbia, led by Dr. Hyon K. Choi, suggests that vitamin C can help reduce uric acid levels in men, reducing the risk of developing gout. The study found that the men with the highest vitamin C intake (at least 1,500 milligrams per day) had a 45% lower risk of developing gout than men who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C (via the National Institutes of Health).

Also, a 2011 meta-analysis of 13 different studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement significantly reduced the amount of uric acid present in the blood. Whether vitamin C alone could reduce gout symptoms is unclear. "Diet is not the exclusive cause of gout, and lifestyle changes alone cannot treat or prevent it," Dr. Spencer Lowe, a Palo Alto Medical Foundation rheumatologist and internist, told Sutter Health. On the plus side, vitamin C in moderate amounts is generally considered to be very safe, inexpensive, and easy to find.

Check with your doctor to find out what they recommend to best manage gout symptoms. "If your gout is significantly impacting your quality of life, tell your doctor," Dr. Lowe said. "The truth about gout is that just like other chronic diseases, it needs to be as effectively controlled as possible."