Studies in human volunteers have shown that vitamin C reduces serum urate (SU) levels. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of vitamin C on SU levels in patients with gout.


Patients with gout and an SU level >0.36 mmoles/liter (6 mg/dl) were recruited. Twenty patients already taking allopurinol were randomized to receive an increase in the dose of allopurinol or to commence taking vitamin C (500 mg/day). Twenty patients who had not been taking allopurinol were randomized to start receiving either allopurinol (up to 100 mg/day) or vitamin C (500 mg/day). Levels of plasma ascorbate, creatinine, and SU were measured on day 0 and week 8.


There was no significant difference in the baseline SU level or estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) between those who received vitamin C and those who did not (for SU, mean ± SEM 0.50 ± 0.11 mmoles/liter [8.4 ± 1.8 mg/dl] versus 0.50 ± 0.09 mmoles/liter [8.4 ± 1.5 mg/dl]; for eGFR, mean ± SEM 65.5 ± 3.5 ml/minute/1.73 m2 versus 67.9 ± 4.6 ml/minute/1.73 m2). Among the randomized patients, 30% in the vitamin C group and 25% in the no vitamin C control group were receiving diuretics. In the patients receiving vitamin C, there was a significant increase between day 0 and week 8 in the plasma ascorbate level. The reduction in SU level over 8 weeks was significantly less in those patients receiving vitamin C compared to those who started or increased the dose of allopurinol (mean reduction 0.014 mmoles/liter [0.23 mg/dl] versus 0.118 mmoles/liter [1.9 mg/dl]; P < 0.001).


A modest dosage of vitamin C (500 mg/day) for 8 weeks had no clinically significant urate-lowering effects in patients with gout, despite the fact that plasma ascorbate levels increased. These results differ from previous findings in healthy control subjects with hyperuricemia. The uricosuric effect of modest-dose vitamin C appears to be small in patients with gout, when administered as monotherapy or in combination with allopurinol.