Antioxidants reduce damage to tissue (by scavenging the free radicals) and thus may reduce ageing.It is known that Uric acid is a very good antioxidant.

People with gout have excess accumulation of uric acid.

Considering the above information the authors of the book "Why we get sick?" put up an interesting question : Do people with gout live longer ?

I would like to know if there are any studies done to answer the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As far as I'm aware, the suggestion that anti-oxidants increase lifespan doesn't have any real scientific evidence. Even if ageing is largely due to oxidative damage, antioxidants often do not get access to the mitochondria where the majority of oxidative damage is likely to occur. Moreover, there is some evidence that anti-oxidants disrupt oxidative signalling in the cell, and so may actually cause more problems. $\endgroup$
    – stords
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 9:43
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    $\begingroup$ It is actually disputed if antioxidants do good, or if they prevent cells from dying which then can develop into cancer cells. There are a few publications out now, which support this hypothesis. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ @chris I remember reading about some of the myths of antioxidants in a Scientific American article but the evidence was not conclusive. $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 13:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can look up the references later today. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 13:34
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @biogirl Some more popular written text (which has some references in it can be found here, two original papers are here and here. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


In men, gout is associated with a higher risk of death from all causes. This would imply that their life expectancy is shorter. From a review by Kim et al. (1):

Among men who did not have pre-existing coronary heart disease, the increased mortality risk is due primarily to an elevated risk of cardiovascular death, particularly from coronary heart disease. Also, an extension study of a large clinical trial among men with above-average risk for coronary heart disease found that a diagnosis of gout accompanied by an elevated uric acid level is associated with increased long-term (approximately 17 years) risk of all-cause mortality that arises largely from an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality.

This does not rule out that some subset of people with gout (patients with less severe symptoms?) might benefit in some way from an antioxidant effect, but in general gout is obviously not good for life expectancy.


The reason some gout patients live longer is beacuse they often get treated with xanthine oxidase inhibitors like allopurinol which have beneficial effects regarding vascular oxidative stress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7DL24uca_I

Allopurinol has beneficial effects in several regards: http://pharmrev.aspetjournals.org/content/58/1/87.long

The high level of uric acid in humans in general is due to the defunct gene for urate oxidase. That mutation appears to be a disadvantage for humans.

  • $\begingroup$ David, could you add an article citation instead of the youtube video. Even if the video is scientific, there is no guarantee that it is scientifically correct. You may look at Dr. Rutledge's (one who posted the video) website or mail him to ask for a reference. $\endgroup$
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 5:45
  • $\begingroup$ I wrote him without any reply. I also did some searching without any precise hit. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 23:12

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