It seems so simple, but it’s true. Good ol’ vitamin C, which most of us have in our medicine cabinets, helps relieve allergy symptoms.
Vitamin C is an excellent mast cell stabilizer. The mast cells are the ones who release the histamines when in the presence of allergens. So when those cells are a little less reactive, as they are with vitamin C, one experiences fewer allergy symptoms.
I like the little effervescent packages called “EmergenC” (available at most health food stores) because they have some b vitamins in them as well, and since you mix it in water, it helps increase your fluid consumption at the same time – never a bad thing.
I also keep a bottle of esterified C on my desk at work – this is a little less acidic and less likely to cause bowel problems.
Which brings me to dosage. Taking 2-4 grams of C daily is no problem for most people. Ideally, you want to spread that out in divided doses, like 500-1000 mg at a time. The most common side effect of excess vitamin C is lose stools. So find the balance between symptomatic relief and digestive disturbance. And keep in mind that the low acid or esterified C’s are less likely to cause a problem, if you happen to be sensitive. Too much vitamin C also causes mouth sores (canker sores) in some individuals.
Using local, unpasturized honey along with the vitamin C may give you even better relief. They would not have negative interactions.
I have often had this vision of myself as a columnist for some fabulous journal or newspaper. Readers would write in their questions and I’d give my perspective and experience as a naturopathic doctor to help answer their questions.
Now, nothing beats and one-to-one appointment with a practitioner to help take care of your health concerns. But this might be an avenue to at least help people care for themselves in simple ways.
I decided this morning, that since I have this blog, I will begin here. I will answer both questions from you, my readers, as well as add some questions that I am frequently asked both in practice and in other settings.
Some things are too complicated. Or too individual. I will tell you when that is the case.
For now my agenda is allergies. I will give as much advice as I can for those suffering this time of year.
I met with my trainer, Michael Finn, on Monday. I love the workouts he designs for me. He makes me feel good about the little progress I have made. He creates adjustments to make the program more difficult (arghhh!). But when all is said and done, nothing will change if I don’t work on my own. Therein lies the rub.
I always encourage my patients to just do the best that they can. I understand that they need support. When women want to start an exercise program, I encourage them to enlist a friend or spouse to make it more fun. For me, I had to ask Michael to babysit me a little bit. At least hold me more accountable on a more regular basis. Now I have weekly check-ins, by telephone – that old fashioned device that actually makes you speak in person to someone. Talk about accountability. I made it particularly difficult on myself because, like most children, I need firm boundaries. Michael is willing to be holder of the boundary.
We all need that from time to time. I firmly believe that we all need to take better care of ourselves. Sometimes that means enlisting some help along the way. Consider asking someone to be your life-line this spring to keep your self care in place. Once you have made it a good habit, then you probably don’t need that as much. But if you are beginning a new program, having support will help to make it stick.