Tags: allergy-fighting effects, alternative medicine, Antioxidants, asthma, Daily Value, fresh foods, immune cells, Immune System, medicine experts, natural antihistamine, Nutrition Food Source, respiratory illnesses, respiratory symptoms, Supplement Consumption, vitamin C, Vitamin E
There’s no doubt that antioxidants play an important role in almost every function of the body, but scientists have been zeroing in on antioxidants’ ability to defend against respiratory illnesses, such as allergies and asthma. Researchers found out where very few children suffer with allergies. They surveyed 690 children between the ages of 7 and 18 and gathered data from questionnaires that were completed by their parents.
The researchers discovered that those who ate fresh foods high in antioxidants, such as grapes, oranges, tomatoes, and nuts, were less likely to have wheezing and other respiratory symptoms. In yet another British study of over 2,500 middle-aged men, those who ate five apples a week had greater lung functioning than those who ate no apples. The researchers believed that healthy compounds found in apples, like antioxidants, have allergy-fighting effects.
It’s not clear if antioxidant supplements, particularly vitamins C and E, have the same effect. When inflammatory cells located in the airways and lungs, called eosinophils and neutrophils, are activated, they create oxidants, which irritate the lungs and cause mucus. Several studies have shown that vitamins E and C can help tame that reaction when it’s caused by smog and other air pollutants.
Vitamin C is believed to be a natural antihistamine, and vitamin E is said to enhance the function of immune cells to better ward off free radicals. A long-term study is taking a closer look at how these antioxidants function in the lungs and whether supplemental therapy will decrease inflammation produced by allergens.
Until the results of that study are in, alternative medicine experts believe the best reason to take antioxidant supplements is to accomplish what allergy drugs cannot: addressing the underlying problem of allergies by strengthening the immune system. Doctors recommend taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C and 400 IU of vitamin E to balance and strengthen the immune system naturally.
Although the Daily Value for vitamin C is only 60 milligrams, these higher doses are considered safe for most people. Extremely high doses can cause stomach upset, nausea, and diarrhea in some people. If you experience any discomfort, you might want to cut back. Recent reports suggest that a daily dose of vitamin E greater than 400 IU can be harmful, so it’s best not to exceed this dosage.