Many patients struggle with disability after a stroke, but women who take this common medication may have better odds of recovery.

A new study found that treating women patients with uric acid after a stroke may help prevent disability.

“While high levels of uric acid can lead to other health problems, uric acid also helps protect tissue from harmful molecules known as free radicals,” said lead study author Ángel Chamorro, MD, PhD, of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at the University of Barcelona in Spain, in a press release.

The body naturally makes uric acid when it breaks down purines. Purines are substances found in certain food and drinks, including liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans, peas and beer.

Dr. Chamorro and team looked at 206 women and 205 men who had an ischemic stroke. Half of these patients were given uric acid, while the other half were given a placebo.