Oxidative stress plays an important role in the development of atherosclerosis and contributes to tissue damage that occurs as a consequence, particularly in myocardial infarction and acute stroke. Antioxidant properties of uric acid have long been recognized and, as a result of its comparatively high serum concentrations, it is the most abundant scavenger of free radicals in humans. Elevation of serum uric acid concentration occurs as a physiologic response to increased oxidative stress-for example, during acute exercise-thus providing a counter-regulatory increase in antioxidant defenses. In view of its antioxidant properties, uric acid may have potentially important and beneficial effects within the cardiovascular system. We wished to investigate whether administration of uric acid was feasible and if it could have an impact on antioxidant function in vivo. We have, therefore, performed a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind study of the effects of systemic administration of uric acid, 1,000 mg, in healthy volunteers, compared with vitamin C, 1,000 mg. We observed a significant increase in serum free-radical scavenging capacity from baseline during uric acid and vitamin C infusion, using two methodologically distinct antioxidant assays. The effect of uric acid was substantially greater than that of vitamin C.