Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water for Arthritis and Gout

On a white table, a lemon is cut into four slices. Another lemon sits, whole. There are two clear glasses with water and lemon slices, and there's a clear pitcher full of water.

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Various health and lifestyle outlets have touted lemon water as a sort of cure-all for various health conditions, including arthritis and gout. Some of these statements may be overblown, but lemon water does have some health value.

Researchers have studied lemon water as a potential source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Additionally, some people may be more hydrated if they enjoy the flavor of lemon water in comparison to unflavored water. Nonetheless, the vitamin C and antioxidants in lemons can be powerful natural remedies to help people manage their inflammation.

Properties and Health Benefits

A lemon is a citrus fruit high in vitamin C and citric acid. Lemon water is simply lemon juice in water. Some people choose to add mint or cucumber slices to their lemon water for a little extra nutrition and flavor, and some people prefer to drink their lemon water either hot or cold.

However you drink it, lemon water does have several potential health benefits that may help arthritis when consumed alongside your normal medicine routine. 

What is lemon water good for? While the beverage isn’t a proven cure to any condition, lemon water is high in vitamin C, which is also called ascorbic acid. This vitamin helps develop and grow our body tissues and maintain our immune system. Vitamin C is essential to synthesizing collagen and repairing tendons.

Additionally, vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects against free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can damage cells. These free radicals can lead to illnesses like arthritis, so healthy vitamin C levels may help reduce your risk of contracting some of these diseases.

A cup of lemon water containing the juice of a whole lemon provides around 20% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C. A lemon yields about 3.5 tablespoons or 50 grams of lemon juice.

Lemon Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA, a cup of lemon water containing the juice of one lemon has:

  • Around 19 mg of vitamin C 
  • About 11 calories
  • Almost 10 micrograms of folate, a vitamin that prevents anemia
  • 49 mg of potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that helps your muscles and nerves function

Alongside lemon juice, other parts of the fruit are also beneficial. The peel contains vitamin C, calcium, and small amounts of fiber. You may want to zest the lemon to add to your lemon water. Before using the peel, make sure to wash the lemon thoroughly.

Lemon extract also presents several potential health benefits. While lemon juice is from the fruit, lemon extract is made with the peel. Citrus peel extract has been studied for helping reduce high cholesterol levels, although most research has been in animal models.

Many people who use lemon essential oils for aromatherapy claim that the scent helps them feel more focused. A small 2016 study found that it helped with anxiety after orthopedic surgery. A 2014 study found that smelling lemon essential oils may also help stave off pregnancy nausea and morning sickness.

Benefits for Arthritis and Gout Patients

When you have arthritis or gout, the best thing to drink is was (as with any other medical condition). Lemon water can be a healthier alternative to sodas or sugary beverages. How is lemon water effective as a home remedy for arthritis symptoms? Lemon juice, rich in vitamin C, provides several benefits.

First, vitamin C may prevent the onset of arthritis in the first place. A 2004 study found that people who get 40 mg of vitamin C a day are significantly more likely to develop inflammatory arthritis than those people who consume the recommended daily dose (40 to 65 mg).

Additionally, vitamin C helps regulate a healthy immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks healthy cells, which causes inflammation in your joints. With vitamin C, patients may help slow the progression of their RA.

For people who already have arthritis, vitamin C may reduce pain. In a 2017 article in The Journal of Translational Medicine, arthritis patients reported less knee, foot, back, and hip pain after they took a 0.5 g dose of vitamin C every day. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed particularly positive results after taking the vitamin to reduce their pain.

How does this pain relief work? Researchers revealed that vitamin C operates like a weaker opioid medication, making it an especially effective analgesic for patients struggling with skeletal, joint, or muscular pain. 

Vitamin C can prevent future arthritis symptoms. Patients need vitamin C  to maintain strong joints and recover from injuries. Fortunately, studies have found that arthritis patients who consume high doses of vitamin C show the least damage to their cartilage and tissues.

Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin C

Men can meet the recommended daily dose of vitamin C (90 mg) by drinking 5 cups of lemon water. Women can meet their vitamin C daily dose (75 mg) in 4 cups of lemon water.

A cup with water and a slice of lemon

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How to Make Lemon Water

To prepare lemon water, squeeze the juice of one lemon into a cup of cold or warm water, depending on your preference. You may choose to add lemon zest to enhance the taste and nutritional benefit. For the juice of one lemon, include at least 8 ounces (250 ml) of water.

Side Effects and Risk Factors

In moderation, lemon water can be a part of a healthy diet. Nonetheless, lemons are high in acid. Dentists warn patients to avoid eating or drinking too many acidic foods that may damage their tooth enamel.

Over time, highly acidic foods—like lemons—can erode your enamel and lead to tooth pain or decay. People with cavities or weak teeth should avoid drinking lemon water, as should people who are allergic to citrus. 

To protect your teeth, dilute your lemon juice with plenty of water and rinse your mouth with water immediately after finishing your cup of lemon water. Avoid drinking lemon water with sugar. If you drink lemon water frequently, consider using a soft-bristle toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. 

An older 2004 Duke research study done in guinea pigs indicated that too much vitamin C could actually worsen knee osteoarthritis symptoms. While this study did not evaluate how high doses of vitamin C impact human subjects, you should consult your doctor about these risks to ensure you are drinking only the recommended daily dose of 75-90 mg.

A Word From Verywell

Lemon water is not a miracle cure for your arthritis. However, you can help improve your wellness when you consume the recommended amount of vitamin C and water each day. For many arthritis patients, lemon water can help them reach this nutritional goal. Lemon water is not meant to substitute any of your current medicines or arthritis treatments.

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Article Sources
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