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A study of >20,000 participants found that eating foods high in vitamin C may protect against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving 2 or more joints. The findings stem from diet diaries the participants kept. Although all the participants were arthritis-free when the study began, the researchers focused on 73 participants who developed inflammatory polyarthritis during follow-up between 1993 and 2001, and 146 similar participants who remained arthritis-free.
The results indicated that low intake of fruits, vegetables, and vitamin C increased the risk of inflammatory polyarthritis. Specifically, the patients who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C were 3 times more prone to develop the condition, compared with the patients who consumed the highest amounts. While the lower intake of fruits and vegetables appeared to increase the arthritis risk, the trends were not statistically significant, explained researchers in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases (July 2004).