Vitamin C and Allergies: Does it Help?
As the fall season continues to roll on, many people are feeling their allergies start to arise. Everyone's allergies are slightly different and, therefore, their triggers are also different. Some people have their allergies triggered by the abrupt changes in temperature, as it may be warm during the day yet cool at night. Other people may have allergies because of the falling leaves and the pollen in the air. Regardless, many people are looking for ways to reduce their allergies that do not involve taking medications on a regular basis. One of the options that has gained attention recently is vitamin C.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is one of many water-soluble vitamins that occurs naturally both in the human body and in numerous foods. Also called ascorbic acid, it gained popularity many years ago as a substance used to prevent scurvy. This vitamin is also used as a cofactor in numerous reactions throughout the human body that occur constantly and help to keep the body well-balanced. It is also a powerful antioxidant and is helpful in removing many of the by-products that are produced on a regular basis. Because humans are not able to make vitamin C on their own, it is important to make sure that people consume enough of this important vitamin in their diet.
Where Does Vitamin C Come From?
For those who are looking to increase the amount of vitamin C that they consume in their diet, there are several foods that people should take note of. People can consume a large amount of vitamin C from citrus fruits. Examples include oranges, apples, and the juices that are sold on the shelves. There is a reason that people say, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." For those who like spicy food, chili peppers also have a tremendous amount of vitamin C. Just be careful because too many of these powerful peppers can burn the mouth! In addition, bell peppers, including red and green ones, have a significant amount of vitamin C in them as well.
What are the Benefits of Vitamin C?
There are several key benefits of vitamin C that people should be aware of. First, this vitamin is an essential part of the immune system. It provides the basic building blocks that are needed to rebuild cells that fight infection. With proper amounts of vitamin C, the body will produce more white blood cells which fight against bacterial, viral, and fungal invaders. In addition, there has been a significant amount of research involved in exploring the role of vitamin C in possible cancer prevention. VItamin C plays a vital role in the production and maintenance of collagen fibers in the body. For this reason, low levels of vitamin C can lead to a disease called scurvy. While typically associated with sailors from hundreds of years ago who could go months without consuming vitamin C, it can still be seen today. Lastly, many people have wondered about the role that vitamin C could play in the treatment and prevention of allergies. Does this vitamin help?
The Role of Vitamin C Regarding Allergies and Treatment
In addition to being an important part of the immune system, vitamin C helps to reduce the levels of histamine in the bloodstream. When people start to suffer from allergies, this is because their immune system is releasing histamine chemicals in response to whatever antigens they might be reacting to in the air. Popular triggers include pollen, found outside during seasonal changes, and dust, found inside as it builds upon the surfaces inside of the house. When histamine is released in high amounts, it causes many of the symptoms that people are familiar with. This could include sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, red eyes, and fatigue.
Fortunately, vitamin C can be used to reduce the levels of histamine that are found in the blood. Research has demonstrated that consuming 2,000 mg daily of vitamin C can help to reduce the levels of histamine in the blood by as much as forty percent. This translates to lower levels of histamine in the blood and a significant relief of allergy symptoms. While this response is likely to vary depending on the severity of someone's allergies and the symptoms that they are experiencing, consuming vitamin C may offer a way to control allergy symptoms naturally. In addition, people can take advantage of the numerous other benefits that vitamin C can provide as well. Many people confuse the symptoms of allergies with those of the common cold. Vitamin C can provide benefits for the treatment of both.
Other Options for Controlling Allergy Symptoms
In addition to increasing the intake of vitamin C, there are several other options for controlling allergy symptoms. When the pollen levels in the air are high, people should try to keep their windows closed. This will prevent pollen from entering the home and worsening allergy symptoms. People should also try to figure out what their triggers are and stay away from them as much as possible. Many times, people have allergy symptoms in response to antigens that stick to their clothes and their hair. As allergy symptoms worsen, increased hair-washing and changing of clothes can help to control these symptoms. Finally, everyone should try to stay hydrated. This will increase urine output and help to flush the antigens causing the allergy symptoms out of the body.
In the end, there are many different ways that someone can keep their allergies under control. The first step in this venture is to figure out what the symptoms are. Some people have cough and congestion while other people may have a runny nose and watery eyes. Once the symptoms have been identified, people can find natural ways to keep these under control. Vitamin C is only one of many options available for fighting back against seasonal allergies. When people figure out how to control their symptoms, they should stick to it.
*Disclaimer: This article provides general information about medicine, health, and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this article, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.