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Vitamin C & Histamine Levels

By Sylvie Tremblay, MSc

Your body contains thousands of distinct chemical compounds, such as minerals, vitamins, proteins and hormones, that work together to maintain your health. Vitamin C, an essential mineral, can have an effect on a number of compounds in your system. The presence of vitamin C has an effect on histamine levels in your body, and this interaction can affect your health.

Function of Histamine

Histamine in your body helps to stimulate inflammation. Histamine exposure can occur due to external factors: For example, touching some plant tissues can release histamine into your skin. Most of the time, histamine in your body comes from mast cells, a type of white blood cell. Mast cells release histamine to stimulate inflammation, increasing blood flow to a site of infection or the region surrounding allergens, so your immune can engulf the offending particle. Histamine release proves important to preventing disease, and also triggers an immune response important to wound healing.

Vitamin C and Histamine

Vitamin C has an effect on histamine in your system, and your body's vitamin C levels also regulate your level of histamine release. Adequate vitamin C consumption maintains relatively low levels of histamine in your system, while a vitamin C deficiency can raise your body's levels of histamine, according to a study published in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" in 1996. The abnormal histamine levels as a result of vitamin C deficiency can have an effect on your overall health.

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Effect on Heart Disease

The interaction between histamine and vitamin C can affect your cardiovascular system, through an effect on blood vessel dilation, according to Grand Valley State University. An undergraduate research project conducted by the university found that histamine and vitamin C can inhibit your blood vessels' ability to dilate, indicating that these compounds can increase your blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, abnormal of levels of vitamin C or histamine might negatively affect the health of your cardiovascular system over time.

Effect on Respiratory Tract

Vitamin C and histamine might also have an effect on allergic rhinitis -- inflammation of your respiratory tract following exposure to airborne allergens. Histamine plays an important role in this allergic reaction, since histamine release from your cells stimulates an immune response that causes the noticeable symptoms of environmental allergies. The University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that vitamin C might help reduce histamine function to help treat allergies, though the center notes that studies assessing vitamin C's benefit in treating allergies have yielded mixed results.

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