Buffered ascorbate, our most potent form of vitamin C, is what we often refer to as the “maternal sacrificial antioxidant” because of its great role as an electron donor. Vitamin C, especially in buffered ascorbate form, readily donates electrons to free radicals and other molecules in need. Because of its potent antioxidant status, vitamin C serves many health-promoting roles in the body, one of which is anti-allergic.
In fact, researchers have documented that allergic diseases are associated with low plasma levels of ascorbate. Vitamin C is known as a natural antihistamine because it can block the secretion of histamine by white blood cells. Additionally, one study found that administration of 2 g of vitamin C decreased histamine levels in the blood by 38% (Johnston et al. 1992).
In a clinical trial, allergic rhinitis (nasal congestion symptoms) was treated with an intranasal ascorbate solution 3x/day. After 2 weeks, 74% of the subjects treated with the ascorbate solution saw a decrease in nasal secretions, blockage, and edema. (Podoshin et al. 1991)
Do you suffer from asthma?
A characteristic feature of asthma called mast-cell mediated bronchial hypersensitivity can be alleviated by vitamin C. (Shaik and Conti 2016)
Exercise and Vitamin C: A Match Made in Heaven
Vitamin C on its own has profound effects on allergy symptoms. Imagine what it can do combined with exercise! Tongtako et al. investigated just that in their 2018 study. 27 subjects were studied. One group exercised, one group exercised and supplemented with 2 g of vitamin C, and the third group served as a control. After 8 weeks, the exercise + vitamin C group saw the most pronounced decrease in rhinitis symptoms such as nasal congestion, itching, and sneezing. (Tongtako et al. 2018)
As Albert-Szent Györgi once said “A vitamin is a substance that makes you ill if you don’t eat it.” If you suffer from allergies, it would be in your best interest to take a deep dive into regaining optimal nutrition status. Given its natural antihistamine and anti-allergy functions, vitamin C may be a perfect place to start.