Vitamin B12 as a Cause of Gout

While a number of things increase your risk for gout, you do not need to throw out your vitamin B-12 supplement. The confusion lies in the fact that the very foods you need to avoid in a gout diet are the foods that contain vitamin B-12, which is necessary for red blood cell formation, neurologic functions and DNA synthesis.

Soluble vitamin B tablets sit beside a glass of dissolved vitamin surrounded by fruit. (Image: Creative-Family/iStock/Getty Images)

Overview of Gout

Gout is an increase of uric acid in your body due to either an overproduction of uric acid or an under-excretion of uric acid by the kidneys. Your body removes uric acid naturally, but if you suffer from gout your body starts to accumulate uric acid. Symptoms are usually painful joints that become red, swollen, hot and intensely painful. The most common joint affected is the big toe. The cause of gout is unknown, but physicians believe it is a combination of genetics, hormones and diet.

Risk Factors for Gout

Even though the cause of gout is unknown, there are several known risk factors. Uric acid is an end product of purine metabolism. Purine is present in many foods, such as meat, seafood, asparagus, mushrooms, dried beans and alcohol, particularly beer. Other risk factors are obesity, male gender, age over 40 years, organ transplants, thyroid problems, and the use of certain medications such as diuretics, aspirin, levodopa and cyclosporine.

Vitamin B-12 and Gout

If you suffer from gout, you need to minimize your intake of purine-rich foods and beer and increase your intake of water, which helps to eliminate uric acid. However, you still need to consume some essential nutrients that are found in red meat, seafood and beans, such as omega-3, omega-6, iron, zinc, calcium, riboflavin and vitamins A, D and B-12. Foods high in vitamin B-12 and not antagonistic to gout are fortified cereals, yogurt, milk and cheese. In fact, a study in 2004 in the "New England Journal of Medicine" showed that dairy intake minimized the risk of gout.

Conclusions

Vitamin B-12 does not cause gout. However, you may not be getting the right amount of vitamin B-12 if you have eliminated meats and seafood from your diet due to gout. Be sure to discuss any dietary changes with your physician. You may need to add different foods or supplements to your diet while eliminating others to minimize your gout symptoms and gout attacks.

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