Health & Fitness: Best supplements for hay fever: Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine - two other remedies

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Typical treatments include hay fever nasal sprays, eye drops and antihistamine tablets, but were you aware that some supplements could be helpful too? Here's what to pack in your arsenal. Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine, which has been shown to reduce oxidative stress, thought to play a key role in allergies. Researchers from the the University of Medicine Rostock, Germany, treated 71 patients with allergy-related respiratory symptoms with vitamin C.

More than 50 percent of the participants took no other allergy-related medication, beside vitamin C, during the trial.

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The observational study concluded that treatment with "high-dose vitamin C reduced allergy-related symptoms".

Vitamin C is present in many fruits and vegetates, such as:

  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Cauliflower
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwifruit
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Winter squash

However, vitamin C supplements are also an easy way to get your daily recommended amount of 40mg.

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a man wearing glasses: Hay fever treatment: Supplements to consider for their anti-histamine properties © Getty Hay fever treatment: Supplements to consider for their anti-histamine properties

"Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day," explained the NHS.

Vitamin C - also known as ascorbic acid - has several important functions, such as:

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The NHS said: "Taking less than 1,000mg of vitamin C supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm."

Any more than this, though, and unpleasant side effects might emerge. Examples include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Flatulence

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Another supplement to consider to treat hay fever symptoms is butterbur - a plant extract.

Butterbur may also possess antihistamine properties, according to the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

A research team based at the University of Exeter conducted a literature review on the subject matter.

For their analysis, they gathered data from 16 clinical trials testing out the efficacy of herbal medicine to treat hay fever symptoms.

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graphical user interface, website: Hay fever symptoms © Express Hay fever symptoms

Six of the trials involved the use of butterbur extract against placebo, with butterbur proving to be "superior".

"There is some encouraging evidence suggesting that Petasites hybridus (butterbur) may be an effective treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis," the researchers stated.

The NCCIH pointed out that butterbur is well tolerated by many people, however some people may have a reaction.

Possible side effects of butterbur include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • A headache
  • Itchy eyes
diagram: Hay fever or Covid? Find out here © Express Hay fever or Covid? Find out here

One other supplement you might to consider to treat hay fever symptoms is bromelain.

A collaboration between Hartford Hospital and the University of CT Health Centre in America noted that bromeliad inhibits allergic sensitivity.

The animal study, which involved mice, found that bromeliad reduced allergic sensitivity.

This is thought to be due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties.

Hay fever treatment: A brief history of tackling the illness – from opium to antihistamine .
Early treatments ranged from taking opium to removing bones from the noseHay fever symptoms are caused from an allergy to pollen, and today can be treated with antihistamines. But the links to pollen weren’t established until the early 19th century, and it was more than hundred years later before allergies were understood with the term first coined in 1906.

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