Vitamin C and Arthritis.




Ann Rheum Dis

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Vitamin C has been heavily researched for its role in a long list of functions in the body. First, it is involved with the production of collagen and elastin, which are necessary for the health of skin, tendons, joints, bones, teeth and blood vessels. Second, vitamin C functions as an antioxidant, thus helping to limit damage to the body from free radicals. It also enhances the antioxidant activity of vitamin E.

Next, vitamin C is important for production of the hormones that help the body respond to physical stress. Also, vitamin C may reduce some inflammatory reactions because it possesses anti-histamine activity. Finally, vitamin C can help the body rid itself of heavy metal toxins like mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel.

A recent study found that higher intakes of vitamin C may reduce the risk of arthritis. This case-control, prospective study was conducted in the UK from 1993 to 2001 and involved men and women ages 45-74 years of age. Dietary intake of these individuals was assessed using a 7-day food diary. During this time, 73 cases of inflammatory polyarthritis were recorded. Polyarthritis is arthritis that affects one or more joints in the body. Each of these cases were matched for age and sex to two healthy individuals. The results showed that there was an increased risk of polyarthritis in those with lower dietary intakes of fruits and vegetables, and vitamin C. Although there were weak inverse associations with vitamin E and beta-carotene, vitamin C showed the strongest. The authors stated that there needs to be more similar studies to confirm the results.1


1. Pattison DJ, et al. Vitamin C and the risk of developing inflammatory polyarthritis: prospective nested case-control study. Ann Rheum Dis. July 2004;36:843-7.