Dreading Spring Allergies? Probiotics Bring Relief

In All Health Watch, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article

When the weather gets warm and plants start to bloom, some 25 million Americans turn miserable. They suffer through days of itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and a stuffy nose.1

There are no perfect solutions for spring allergies. Both over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications cause side effects. They range from annoying (dry mouth and drowsiness) to life threatening (heart rhythm disturbances, blood pressure spikes). And the drugs don’t work for some people.2

Allergy shots often are more effective. But they are inconvenient. They require a doctor appointment. And the shots carry many of the same side effects as pills.3

A Natural Solution for Spring Allergies

Now, a new study has found a natural, safe treatment for spring allergies. It shows probiotic supplements dramatically reduce the symptoms.4

University of Florida researchers looked at 173 adults, ages 18 to 60, who suffer seasonal allergies. They randomly split them into two groups. For eight weeks during peak allergy season, one group took a twice-daily 350 mg probiotic capsule. The other group took a placebo.5

Each week participants filled out an online survey describing their allergy symptoms. The researchers used something called the Mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (MRQLQ). It provides a numerical score for the severity of allergy symptoms.

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The probiotic group scored three times higher on the MRQLQ than the placebo group. This meant they suffered only a third of the allergy symptoms.6 And they reported no side effects.

At the end of the study, researchers examined fecal samples from the participants. They found the probiotic group had a beneficial shift in their overall profile of gut microorganisms. They had more “good” bacteria.

The scientists discovered that probiotics ease allergies by enhancing the body’s ability to create regulatory T-cells. These cells stop the immune system from overreacting to a stimulus. In the case of spring allergies, the stimulus is plant pollen.7

The study recently was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The supplement used in the study was a combination of three probiotics. They are Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, and Lactobacillus gasseri.

With spring around the corner, check the ingredients in your probiotic. Make sure it contains at least two these strains. If you’re like the people in the study, you might just make it so summer without sneezing.

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