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  Vitamin C wards off gout: study
Men with a higher intake of vitamin C from food or supplements have a lower risk of developing gout, say researchers.

"Vitamin C intake may provide a useful option in the prevention of gout," Dr Hyon Choi and colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver say in a paper published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Gout is a form of arthritis from uric acid build-up that causes inflamed joints, typically in extremities such as toes, ankles and hands.

Sufferers are typically men age 40 and older, although it is known to also strike women.

Gout can lead to permanent joint damage and is linked to alcohol abuse, obesity, high blood pressure and a diet heavy in meat.

The research team found vitamin C appears to lower the levels of uric acid in the blood.
Lower risk

The study followed nearly 47,000 US men from 1986 to 2006 for a variety of health issues. Every four years, the men completed a dietary questionnaire, and their vitamin C intake through food and supplements was computed. During the study period 1317 men developed gout.

The researchers found that every 500 milligram increase of daily vitamin C intake produced a 17% decrease in the risk for gout.

Among the men studied those with daily intake of 1500 supplemental milligrams a day had a 45% lower risk of gout than those who took in less than 250 milligrams a day, says Choi.

An orange has about 70 milligrams of vitamin C - higher concentrations come in pill form.

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 may reduce gout risk, the authors note.

But before stocking up on vitamin C, gout sufferers are reminded not to over do it.

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council suggest adults should not consume more than 1000 milligrams of vitamin C each day.

Previous research has also linked fructose with an increased risk of gout. A 2008 study in the British Medical Journal found that two glasses of fruit juice a day, was a stronger risk factor than alcohol, and similar to meat and obesity.
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