Antihistamine effect of supplemental ascorbic acid and neutrophil chemotaxis


Johnston CS




J Am Coll Nutr


Renewed interest in the antihistamine action of ascorbic acid has emerged with the recently recognized immunosuppressive role of histamine. We examined the antihistamine effect of acute and chronic vitamin C (VC) administration and its effect on neutrophil chemotaxis in healthy men and women. In the chronic study, 10 subjects ingested a placebo during weeks 1, 2, 5 and 6, and 2 g/day of VC during weeks 3 and 4. Fasting blood samples were collected after the initial 2-week period (baseline) and at the end of weeks 4 and 6. Plasma ascorbate rose significantly following VC administration compared to baseline and withdrawal values. Neutrophil chemotaxis rose 19% (NS) during VC administration, and fell 30% after VC withdrawal, but these changes were not correlated to plasma ascorbate levels (r = 0.01). Chemotaxis was inversely correlated to blood histamine (r = -0.32, p = 0.045), and, compared to baseline and withdrawal values, histamine levels were depressed 38% following VC supplementation. Blood histamine and neutrophil chemotaxis did not change 4 hours following a single 2 g dose of ascorbic acid, although plasma ascorbate rose 150%. These data indicate that VC may indirectly enhance chemotaxis by detoxifying histamine in vivo.