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Intravenous Vitamin C for Allergic Conditions

7/2/2019 4:17:31 PM
iv vitamin cDuring an acute allergic reaction, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contributes to an inflammatory cascade and histamine release. Vitamin C (ascorbate) might mitigate the allergic cascade by counteracting oxidative stress and reducing histamine. Intravenous (IV) administration of vitamin C is the most effective way to elevate the plasma concentration of ascorbate and is often used as a complementary treatment in the management of inflammatory diseases.

Study examines intravenous vitamin C for acute and chronic allergies

In an article published in 2018, researchers reported interim results from an ongoing observational study of IV vitamin C. The report included data from 71 patients with acute or chronic allergic conditions. Symptom scores were collected at baseline and at the end of treatment, which was 2-3 weeks for acute allergic conditions and 10-14 weeks for chronic allergic conditions. The primary endpoints were the changes in symptom scores on a 4-point Likert scale.

IV ascorbate (Pascorbin® 7.5g) was administered 2-3 times per week for both acute and chronic conditions. The mean duration of treatment for acute conditions was 3 weeks (for a total of 7 infusions), and the mean duration for chronic conditions was 12 weeks (for a total of 26 infusions).

Near total improvement reported after IV vitamin C administration

Disease-specific symptoms were reported at baseline in 69 out of the 71 patients. During the observation period, symptoms improved in 67 (97%) of these patients. The most frequently reported symptoms were pruritis (which improved in 94% of patients), rhinitis (which improved in 96% of patients), and restlessness (which improved in 100% of patients).
Nonspecific symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disorders, or lack of mental concentration, were reported at baseline in 70 patients. During the observation period, symptoms improved in 65 (93%) of these patients. IV vitamin C had a greater effect on chronic nonspecific symptoms than on acute nonspecific symptoms.

Tolerability and effectiveness make IV vitamin C an exciting option for allergy sufferers

The attending physician deemed IV vitamin C to have higher tolerability than other medications. Whereas 53% of the cohort had poor tolerability for standard allergy medications, only 1 out of 71 had any adverse reactions to IV vitamin C. This patient’s adverse reactions were a sensation of coldness after infusion and tiredness the next morning, but he chose to continue treatment. 
In a subgroup of 21 patients, serum ascorbate concentrations were measured at baseline. Results showed subclinical vitamin C deficiency (defined as <0.5 mg/dL) in 15 (71%) of the analyzed patients. The mean serum ascorbate levels were lower in patients with cutaneous diseases than in those with respiratory diseases, and they were lower in patients with acute than with chronic symptoms at baseline.    
The authors of this report conclude that serum ascorbate insufficiency is common in patients with allergic diseases and that IV vitamin C might benefit patients with allergic diseases by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. These findings form a basis for future randomized controlled trials. 
Vollbracht C, Raithel M, Krick B, Kraft K, Hagel AF. Intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of allergies: an interim subgroup analysis of a long-term observational study. J Int Med Res. 2018; 46: 3640-3655.

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