What is the effect of vitamin C on arthritis?

Grant Cooper, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
In the Framingham Osteoarthritis Cohort Study, which was part of the Framingham Heart Study that has yielded important information on the causes and prevention of heart disease, people who consumed a higher amount of vitamin C had a three-fold lower risk of cartilage loss and disease progression than people who took in less vitamin C.

A study in Britain involving more than 23,000 participants found that people who consumed less vitamin C had a higher risk of developing inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis that affects two or more joints. Reducing the risk of inflammatory polyarthritis may or may not correlate well with other types of arthritis, but the fact that vitamin C plays a positive role in protecting joints seems obvious.

Of note, a 2004 animal study showed that high levels of prolonged vitamin C intake actually increase the risk of arthritis progression in the knee. Human studies are needed to confirm or refute these results, but this does offer an argument to not exceed the recommended daily allowance (RDA), which is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. Because of this somewhat conflicting evidence, I do not recommend vitamin C supplementation for arthritis.
The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

According to conventional wisdom, arthritis pain is an inevitable part of aging. Not so, says Dr. Grant Cooper in this practical, accessible guide. For those who do develop osteoarthritic conditions,...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.