Patients who had known-previous-allergic reactions to penicillin were never given the antibiotic anticipating that vitamin C would protect them. I suspect that the deficit of body ascorbate produced by disease may have something to do with malfunction of the immune system and the development of allergies. However, whether ascorbate may give some protection from an antibiotic known previously to cause an allergic reaction in a patient, when subsequent reactions might involve anaphylaxis, is a question which must be approached very carefully. Certainly, inadequate doses of ascorbate could be disastrous.
Patients with mononucleosis, untreated with ascorbate, have a very high incidence of allergic reaction to penicillin. It is interesting that this same disease seems to cause some of the highest bowel tolerances of any disease.
As can be seen from the previous discussion of the increasing bowel tolerance phenomenon, there is undoubtedly increased utilization of ascorbate under stressful conditions. If this increased utilization creates a deficit, there may be malfunctions of various systems of the body such as the immune system which are dependent on ascorbate. Therefore, it should not be surprising that certain malfunctions of the immune system and adrenal glands associated with stress might be ameliorated by ascorbate.
Hay fever is controlled in the majority of patients. Bowel tolerance doses are usually required only at the peak of the season; otherwise, more modest doses suffice. Many patients find the effect of ascorbate more satisfactory than immunizations or antihistamines and decongestants. The dosages required are frequently proportional to exposure to the antigen.
Asthma is most often relieved by bowel tolerance doses of ascorbate. A child regularly having asthmatic attacks following exercise is usually relieved of these attacks by large doses of ascorbate. So far all of my patients having asthmatic attacks associated with the onset of viral diseases have been ameliorated by this treatment.
Large clinical studies will be necessary to prove this point, but for now prudent practice would be to take large doses of ascorbate when stressed or when ill.
This theory begins to make some sense of the observation that many patients will develop allergic disorders or other diseases following combinations of stress, disease, and malnutrition.
Immunologists should be particularly interested in the control of these allergic problems and particularly the dramatic responses of cases of ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter's disease, and acute anterior uveitis. All three of these problems have a high association with the HLA-B27 antigen. The possibility that ascorbate might have some value in controlling the immune response at the gene level should be thoroughly investigated because there could be some basic implications in histocompatibility (graft acceptance), cancer control, and destruction of foreign invaders. Ascorbate would appear to help stabilize some homeostatic mechanisms.