According to US allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett, the late start to spring has created a “pollen tsunami”. Rather than gradually arriving over the course of the season, the different pollens are coming out all at once, and as a result, seasonal allergy symptoms are much more intense for this year’s sufferers.
Allergies are created by a histamine response. Histamine is an organic compound found in mast cells, a type of white blood cell. Histamines are important in the body, but allergens can destabilize mast cells and cause them to dump histamine into our blood stream in quantities that aren’t helpful.
At that point, histamine can then cause the itching, hives, congestion, runny nose, watery and red eyes, headache, fatigue, confusion, and irritability that we associate with seasonal allergies. Voilá.
Which is why an anti-histamine works: it blocks the action of histamines at the cell level, which in turn decreases your symptoms.
But what if you’re facing the tsunami and your anti-histamines aren’t keeping up, or you’d prefer to not take them?
Vitamin C and Allergies
We’ve written about allergies in the past, particularly with respect to the connection between your gut and your allergies.
However, there’s also research on the usefulness of various nutrients in the treatment of these symptoms, with some positive results:
- Oral vitamin C, for example, has been shown to decrease the responsiveness of the bronchioles to histamine in allergic people.
- Working from the other direction, IV Vitamin C has been shown to decrease histamine in the blood, with the biggest drop in those with allergic symptoms.
These studies illustrate what we see in practice every allergy season: vitamin C working to decrease a patient’s overall reactivity to the seasonal pollens. That makes the allergy season much easier to handle with fewer anti-histamines.
To learn more about how vitamin C can help you, book an appointment with your naturopath, or call the clinic at 705-444-5331.