Researchers in Europe conducted a population based case-control study of over 23,000 male and female UK residents between the ages of 45 and 74. Their goal was to determine if a relationship exists between antioxidant intake and inflammatory polyarthritis. Using a 7-day diet diary at the start of the 8-year study, the researchers assessed overall fruit, vegetable and antioxidant intakes. Seventy-three of the study participants went on to develop inflammatory polyarthriti (IP) between 1993 and 2001. Each case of IP was then compared to two study peers of the same gender who remained arthritis-free.
Careful review of the data revealed that those with the lowest intake of vitamin C were three times more likely to develop IP than those who consumed the highest amounts. Weak associations between vitamin E and beta-carotene were also found. Researchers concluded that low intakes of vitamin C might be associated with higher risk of developing IP.
Pattison, DJ et al., "Vitamin C and the risk of developing inflammatory polyarthritis: prospective nested case-control study", Ann. Rheum. Dis., 2004 July; 63(7):843-7.