NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Recent findings published in the September issue of the Journal of Rheumatology indicate an inverse association between vitamin C intake and serum uric acid concentration in men.

“Hyperuricemia is considered a precursor of gout, which is the most common inflammatory arthritis in adult men,” Dr. Xiang Gao, of Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues write. “Among the potentially useful protective factors against hyperuricemia and gout, vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans.”

In a population-based study, the researchers examined the association between vitamin C intake and serum uric acid in a subsample of men from the Health Professional Follow-up Study. Included in the study were 1387 men without hypertension and with a body mass index (BMI) less than 30. A semiquantitative food questionnaire validated for this population was used to assess dietary intake.

After adjustment for smoking, BMI, intake of total energy, dairy protein and alcohol, and other potential confounders, the team found a significant association between greater intakes of total vitamin C and lower serum uric acid concentrations.

An association was observed between greater vitamin C intake and lower prevalence of hyperuricemia defined as > 6 mg/dL. The multivariable odds ratio for hyperuricemia for the highest intake of vitamin C (>1000 mg/d) compared to the lowest (<90 mg/d) was 0.34 (p for trend < 0.001).

“These findings support a potential role of vitamin C in the prevention of hyperuricemia and gout,” Dr. Gao and colleagues conclude.

J Rheumatol 2008;35:1853-1858.