Vitamin C Wards Off Gout!
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
"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.
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. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is probably one of the most highly publicised, yet least understood, of all of the vitamins. Championed by Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, Ph.D., and advocated by many nutrition buffs, vitamin C is indeed a fascinating and important nutrient (or micronutrient) necessary for human life.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development.
Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. The body cannot store them. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.
What does Vitamin C do?
Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Vitamin E and beta-carotene are two other well-known antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy.
The build up of these by-products over time is largely responsible for the aging process and can contribute to the development of various health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and a host of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Antioxidants also help reduce the damage to the body caused by toxic chemicals and pollutants such as cigarette smoke.
The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet.
All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Foods that tend to be the highest sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin C toxicity is very rare, because the body cannot store the vitamin. However, amounts greater than 2,000 mg/day are not recommended because such high doses can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea.
Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:
Dry and splitting hair
Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
Rough, dry, scaly skin
Decreased wound-healing rate
Weakened tooth enamel
Swollen and painful joints
Decreased ability to fight infection
Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism
A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy, which mainly affects older, malnourished adults.
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