Is Vitamin C an Effective Arthritis Treatment?

There really has been concrete yes or no answer to that. Both studies that have actually been done most recently in 2004 have been on both ends of the spectrum, only proving that vitamin C is to be taken in moderation. The first study was performed on an animal at Duke University showed that excess amounts of vitamin C led to bone spurs and accelerated joint damage in people who had osteoarthritis. The second study was in Great Britain and showed that people are 3 times as likely to get Rheumatoid arthritis with lower levels of vitamin C. These two different kinds of arthritis are at two different sides of the vitamin C spectrum.

Osteoarthritis and Vitamin C

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis and is the most common arthritis. Many symptoms include stiffness of the joints, tenderness, and locking of joints. It is a misconception that OA is only caused by old age but that only proves that it takes time to develop. It is estimated that 80% of the population will have some sort of sign of OA by the time they reach the age of 65. Common areas that are affected by OA is the spine, feet, hips, and knees. OA can form at the fingers and toes making it extremely difficult to move. It has been shown that OA is a hereditary disease.

Although the disease is irreversible, there are treatments to lessen the pain and allow the joint function better. Also, weight management and the use of a cane or walker is generally helpful in easing the pain. Walking and swimming can be achieved with appropriate rest and hot/cold packs can help reduce the swelling. Vitamin C has been shown to further worsen cartilage damage in the knees with those who have OA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Vitamin C


Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease and leads to the inflammation of the lining of joints. It can be found in about 1% of the worlds population and although it is not immune to age, it tends to strike people in the age range of 40-50 and occur about 3 times more often in women. RA not only affects the joints however, but it can also affect the skin, lungs, heart and blood vessels, and kidneys. There has been a criteria formed to better diagnose RA: arthritis and soft tissue swelling in at least 3 joints for 6 weeks, an hour or more of morning stiffness, arthritis in the hands for at least 6 weeks, and a Rheumatoid factor in the 95th percentile or higher.

Studies have shown that high consumption of Vitamin C has shown to protect against inflammatory polyarthritis, which is a form of RA, and involves 2 or more joints. And people who took the lowest levels of Vitamin C were shown to be 3 times more likely to get the disease. The reason was because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and fights the molecules that trigger RA inflammation. Vitamin C also player a role in collagen synthesis, which is a main protein in joint tissue and bone and helps fight off infection and inflammation.

The only real thing that has been proven so far is that Vitamin C is best taken in moderation. The appropriate amount of vitamin C for men is approximately 90 mg a day for men and 75 mg a day for women. Even though the body only uses what it needs, it is still possible to overdose on Vitamin C potentially giving you a stomach ache and diarrhea.