Vitamin D and Gout, Is There A Link?

The elevated uric acid level is the starting point for gout to occur. For this reason, dietary purine (protein that breaks down to become uric acid in the body) is usually the major concern in diet for gouty arthritis. How about vitamin D? Does this vitamin have an effect on gout?

Understanding vitamin D in general

Like most things in vitamins, your body can get vitamin D from foods that you eat. Foods rich in this vitamin include some fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon), cereals, and dairy products.

image_illustration238But the sunlight is also good source for this vitamin. Even there is a hormone in the body that makes it. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency is relatively less common if compared to the deficiencies of other vitamins – though the deficiency of this vitamin is pretty common, too.

The bad news, lack of exposure to the sun is the most common cause behind vitamin D deficiency. If you live in tropical areas, this is not a big problem. But for people who live in north or far away from equator, getting plenty of sun exposure is not always easy. Other common causes are certain health conditions /disorders.

Though it can be found naturally in some foods, but these foods (unfortified) alone are usually not enough. When your skin is not exposed to adequate sunlight, there are some fortified foods and supplements containing vitamin D to help cope with the deficiency.

As well we know that this vitamin is so essential to help the body retain and absorb both phosphorus & calcium optimally. This means that it plays a key role to help maintain the strength of your bones, too.

Lack of this vitamin may increase the risk of osteoporosis (a condition associated with bone that becomes brittle and fragile). Osteoporosis is not linked to osteoarthritis (another kind of arthritis, even it is considered as the most common arthritis).

Vitamin D is not specifically linked to Gout

Currently, there is no strong evidence that vitamin D is linked to gout. With calcium deficiency, some people often have perception that lack of vitamin D may have contribution in causing some kinds of arthritis. But this issue is not scientifically confirmed yet.

Vitamin D supplement is commonly not prescribed for gout, unless you have the deficiency of this vitamin. However, it can help promote strong muscles.

Adequate vitamin D in the body is not only associated with the decreased risk of bone fractures, but also may help improve the muscle strength, according to some studies.

And having strong and healthy muscles are great for the health of joint. Muscles around the joint can help support the movement of the joint, reducing the risk of some joint problems or helpful to prevent falls (especially in elderly people).

In fact, people with arthritis are also suggested to remain active as much as possible. See more the advantages of exercise for arthritis in this section!

Diet in gout

Diet can help for other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Although in general there is no specific guideline of diet for arthritis, but at least diet can help control the weight since obesity can worsen all kinds of arthritis.

And in gouty arthritis, the role of diet is more than controlling the weight. We know that dietary purine is the major concern in gout, as noted before. In the body, purines will break down to become uric acid. Increased uric acid in the bloodstream can worsen gout.

Purines are a protein that can be found in some foods. And if you have gout, it’s so critical to restrict your daily diet from foods very high in purines!

Vitamin C may help prevent gout attack

While there is still no any evidence for the link between vitamin D and gouty arthritis, some studies suggest that vitamin C may have a role in helping to prevent the attack of this joint disease.

Some experts believe that the tendency to have increased blood uric acid and gout may be associated with the hereditary factor. But other factors are involved, too – and again, diet is one of these factors.

Some lifestyle modifications may be effective to reduce the risk. According to a research that involved about more than 1000 men (men is at higher risk of having gouty arthritis than women) found that those who took plenty of vitamin C in the diet were linked to the lower levels of serum of uric acid.

Another study that included more than 40,000 men showed that higher intakes of vitamin C were associated with higher risk reductions for gout. However to keep safe, it’s recommended to discuss first with your physician /doctor before taking any supplements!

Citations /references:

  1. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/
  2. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminC/