Overview of Gout and the Role of Uric Acid
Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid. The buildup of uric acid tends to affect your feet, and if you have gout, you are likely to experience pain and swelling in the joints of your foot, especially in your big toe.(1,2,3,4) It is the buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream from the breakdown process of purines that causes gout. In some conditions, such as metabolism and blood disorders, or even dehydration, your body can start producing excessive levels of uric acid. Sometimes, a thyroid or kidney problem, or any type of inherited disorder, can also make it difficult for the body to remove the excess uric acid in the body through urine.(5,6)
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), too much of uric acid in the body can cause gout. Due to this, anything that helps decrease the amount of uric acid in the body can have a positive effect on gout as well.(7)
Can Vitamin C Decrease The Levels Of Uric Acid?
Even though more research is still needed, there have been a number of studies that have found that taking vitamin C may help decrease the levels of uric acid in the bloodstream and offer protection against flare-ups of gout.
Here are some studies that have shown that vitamin C helps reduce uric acid.
- A 2009 study carried out on nearly 47,000 men over a period of 20 years found that the men who were taking a supplement of vitamin C regularly had a 44 percent lesser risk of gout.(8)
- Another 2008 study done on nearly 1400 men discovered that men who consumed the most amount of vitamin C as compared to those who had the least had dramatically lower levels of uric acid in their blood.(9)
- A 2011 meta-analysis of over ten different studies indicated that a 20 day period of regularly taking a supplement of vitamin C led to significantly reduced uric acid levels in the blood, as compared to a control placebo that had no therapeutic effect.(10)
Medical experts also suggest that even though taking vitamin C supplements may help lower the levels of uric acid in the bloodstream, there are no studies that show that vitamin C has an impact on the frequency or severity of gout flares.
Can Diet Make A Difference In Gout?
According to data by the National Institute of Arthritis and musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, your risk of experiencing gout flare-ups can be lowered by restricting your consumption of foods that are high in purines.(11) These include:
- Seafood like tuna, sardines, and shellfish
- Red meat like lamb, pork, and beef
- Organ or glandular meats like liver, kidney, and sweetbreads
While avoiding foods that are high in purines, you should also consider increasing your intake of foods that are high in vitamin C. This typically includes fruits and vegetables like:
- Brussels sprouts
- Red and green peppers
Apart from adding vitamin C to your daily diet, you should also consume both cherries and coffee, as they are associated with a decreased risk of having gout flares.(12)
At the same time, you should also restrict the intake of the following:
- Sugary foods and drinks
- Distilled liquors
Gout is believed to be caused by excess buildup of uric acid in the blood, a condition also known as hyperuricemia. Studies have shown that vitamin C may help reduce the levels of uric acid in the bloodstream, and therefore, could be beneficial for people who have been diagnosed with gout. However, no studies have shown whether vitamin C also affects the frequency or severity of gout flare-ups.
If you have been diagnosed with gout, you can talk to your doctor about how to best manage your symptoms and condition and also about how to lower the risk of gout flares. Along with medication, your doctor may also recommend certain dietary changes that may include reducing the intake of foods rich in purine and increasing your consumption of vitamin C. You can also ask your doctor about taking a supplement of vitamin C.
- Risk Factors for Gout & Complications of Gout
- Massage Therapy for Gout: Dietary, Lifestyle Modifications, Toe, Self Massage
- How Long Does a Gout Attack Last & Home Remedies to Get Rid of it
- Vitamin C for Enhancing Fertility in Men
- 10 Foods Which Contain More Vitamin C Than Oranges
- Terkeltaub, R.A., 2003. Gout. New England Journal of Medicine, 349(17), pp.1647-1655.
- Neogi, T., 2011. Gout. New England Journal of Medicine, 364(5), pp.443-452.
- Emmerson, B.T., 1996. The management of gout. New England Journal of Medicine, 334(7), pp.445-451.
- Choi, H.K., Mount, D.B. and Reginato, A.M., 2005. Pathogenesis of gout. Annals of internal medicine, 143(7), pp.499-516.
- Seegmiller, J.E., Grayzel, A.I., Laster, L. and Liddle, L., 1961. Uric acid production in gout. The Journal of clinical investigation, 40(7), pp.1304-1314.
- Logan, J.A., Morrison, E. and McGill, P.E., 1997. Serum uric acid in acute gout. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 56(11), pp.696-697.
- Cdc.gov. 2021. Gout | Arthritis | CDC. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2021].
- Choi, H.K., Gao, X. and Curhan, G., 2009. Vitamin C intake and the risk of gout in men: a prospective study. Archives of internal medicine, 169(5), pp.502-507.
- Gao, X., Curhan, G., Forman, J.P., Ascherio, A. and Choi, H.K., 2008. Vitamin C intake and serum uric acid concentration in men. The Journal of rheumatology, 35(9), pp.1853-1858.
- Juraschek, S.P., Miller III, E.R. and Gelber, A.C., 2011. Effect of oral vitamin C supplementation on serum uric acid: a meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arthritis care & research, 63(9), pp.1295-1306.
- Topics, H., 2021. Gout. [online] National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2021].
- Kedar, E. and Simkin, P.A., 2012. A perspective on diet and gout. Advances in chronic kidney disease, 19(6), pp.392-397.