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Gout is a complex form of arthritis that can be an extremely miserable and painful condition for a person to come down with. Gout is characterized by severe attacks of pain and inflammation in joints, which is largely caused by excess amounts of uric acid that get deposited in people’s joints in the form of uric acid crystals. Not fun!

For many years scientists thought that vitamin C would make gout attacks worse. However, the most recent research may prove that the opposite is, in fact, true and that vitamin C can actually help with the symptoms of gout.

Numerous studies have shown that vitamin C, taken at 500 mg a day, can go a long way in helping to lower uric acid levels. In addition to this, a meta-analysis of several randomized controlled trials recently studied the effects of oral vitamin C supplements and found that doing so resulted in the reduction of uric acid in serum levels.

The Magic of Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been shown to help decrease serum uric acid in two ways. It decreases the re-intake of uric acid in the kidneys by binding at the receptor sites, and it increases the rate of clearance of the acid through urine. Both of these result in lower uric acid levels in the blood, which is great for combating gout.

A large prospective study carried out over the span of twenty years actually showed a much lower incidence of gout in men who had a higher intake of vitamin C. Incredibly, men who were getting 1500 mg of vitamin C every day had as much as a 45% reduction of incidence of the affliction. That’s big news.

Bioflavonoids

If we’re talking about vitamin C levels and gout, we have to talk about bioflavonoids, which are anti-oxidants found in various fruits and vegetables. Citrus bioflavonoids are of particular interest to us here because they have been found to have high levels of hesperidin.

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In a recent study, hesperidin in rosemary extract was found to have a noticeable positive effect in reducing the pain caused by arthritic gout. This means that increasing vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids can have huge positive effects on gout by reducing sensitivity.

Both vitamin C and bioflavonoids work to decrease the levels of uric acid in the body, and the great news is, increasing both of these minerals in the body can be done easily and naturally. Keep reading for some easy ways to add these into your diet.

Supplements

Supplements that have at least 500 mg to 1500 mg of high-quality vitamin C or citrus bioflavonoids are a must have for decreasing those uric acid levels. If you suffer from heartburn, then you might want to check out a buffered form of vitamin C supplement, like calcium ascorbate, because it can be more gentle on the stomach.

Vitamin C Rich Foods

Citrus Fruits

Fruits like oranges, mandarins, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, and limes are a great and readily available way to get some vitamins into your diet. They’re pretty well known for having vitamin C in them, but they also contain good levels of bioflavonoids and hesperidin, all of which can alleviate those uric acid levels.

Give this delicious Orange Citrus Salad a try!

Dark Leafy Greens

Nothing is better or more nutritious than a good salad. Kale, spinach, swiss chard, and turnip greens have high levels of vitamin C, as well as a multitude of other great nutrients. They are a must-have for any diet but especially essential if you have a deficiency of vitamin C already.

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You can put dark leafy greens in a smoothie if you aren’t a big fan of the taste, but in general, eating leafy greens is a good way to get extra vitamin C in your diet without having also to ingest the excess sugars that come in fruit.

Brassica Vegetables

The brassica family of vegetables includes things like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green cauliflower, and red cabbage, and just like leafy vegetables, these are all very in high in vitamin C as well. The best way to eat these types of vegetables is lightly steamed, because it retains the most amount of nutrition, while still being delicious.

Kiwis

Kiwis are a great food to have as a snack, and rich in vitamin C! Slice them up or cut them in half and eat the fruit out with a spoon, and enjoy the nutrients.

Berries

Strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries are all must haves in a vitamin C rich diet. The great thing about having these foods is that they are also rich in antioxidants, which are essential for improving overall health.

Grow your own blueberries and strawberries!

Rosemary

Adding a little rosemary to whatever your cooking is a good way to increase the levels of hesperidin in your body. You can add rosemary to cooking as a fresh or a dried herb, and either way,  it will equally help hesperidin levels. Not to mention, adding rosemary to foods adds a ton of flavor! Try adding some the next time you’re cooking up dinner.

Sweet Bell Peppers

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Bell peppers come in several types of vibrant colors in the grocery store. All colors of bell peppers add a wide array of antioxidants into your diet, as well as being a great source of that vitamin C. However, make sure to use these with caution, especially if you know that your arthritis is sensitive to dietary changes.

Sweet bell peppers are part of the nightshade family of vegetables, which can actually worsen arthritic symptoms if you’re sensitive. So make to have them with caution, and be careful! Clearly, there are plenty of other ways to increase vitamin C in the diet.

Try this delicious Swiss Chard & Chicken recipe!

Sources:

1) Juraschek SP, Miller ER 3rd, Gelber AC.   Effect of oral vitamin C supplementation on serum uric acid: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Arthritis Care Research (Hoboken). 2011 Sep;63(9):1295-306.

2) Choi Hk, Gao X, Curban G. Vitamin C intake and the risk of gout in men: a prospective study. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Mar 9;169(5):502-7

3) Gout. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/basics/causes/con-20019400

4) Martínez AL1, González-Trujano ME, Chávez M, Pellicer F, Moreno J, López-Muñoz FJ. Hesperidin produces antinociceptive response and synergistic interaction with ketorolac in an arthritic gout-type pain in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2011 Feb;97(4):683-9.

5) Top 10 Foods highest in Vitamin C. www.healthaliciousness.com Rakel D. Integrative Medicine, 3rd Ed. Elsevier. 2012. Chapter 65: 610-616.

Image Sources:

http://www.mindnsoulspa.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/VITAMINc1fba1.jpg

http://orangecountyfootandankle.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Gout-by-Orange-County-Foot-and-Ankle1.jpg

http://womenworld.org/image/082013/16/16270390.jpg

http://mdwincorp.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/gout-attack.jpg

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Dr. Nadia Saleem
Naturopathic Doctor
Contributor to The Hearty Soul.
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