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Intravenous infusion of ascorbic acid decreases serum histamine concentrations in patients with allergic and non-allergic diseases


Histamine plays an important role in the development of symptoms in allergic, infectious, neoplastic and other diseases. Empirical findings have suggested beneficial effects of ascorbic acid supplementation in those diseases, and these effects are assumed to be related to a possible decrease in systemic histamine concentration. In the present study, we systematically investigated for the first time the effect of 7.5 g of intravenously administered ascorbic acid on serum histamine levels (as detected by ELISA) in 89 patients (19 with allergic and 70 with infectious diseases). When all patients were grouped together, there was a significant decline in histamine concentration from 0.83 to 0.57 ng/ml × m2 body surface area (BSA, p < 0.0001). The decrease in serum histamine concentration in patients with allergic diseases (1.36 to 0.69 ng/ml × m2 BSA, p = 0.0007) was greater than that in patients with infectious diseases (0.73 to 0.56 ng/ml × m2 BSA, p = 0.01). Furthermore, the decline in histamine concentration after ascorbic acid administration was positively correlated with the basal, i.e. pre-therapeutic, histamine concentration. Intravenous infusion of ascorbic acid clearly reduced histamine concentrations in serum, and may represent a therapeutic option in patients presenting with symptoms and diseases associated with pathologically increased histamine concentration.

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Correspondence to Martin Raithel.

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Hagel, A.F., Layritz, C.M., Hagel, W.H. et al. Intravenous infusion of ascorbic acid decreases serum histamine concentrations in patients with allergic and non-allergic diseases. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch Pharmacol 386, 789–793 (2013).

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  • Allergic diseases
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Histamine concentration