LMU 91 – Harnessing Gut Health: Probiotics Show Promise in Easing Seasonal Allergies
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2017)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (June 7, 2018)
Seasonal allergies, commonly referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, afflict millions of individuals worldwide, causing discomfort and disrupting their quality of life. While antihistamines and decongestants have been the go-to treatments, they often come with unwanted side effects. A ray of hope emerges from a 2017 study published in the prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shedding light on the potential of probiotic supplements to alleviate hay fever symptoms and enhance overall well-being during allergy season.
The Power of Probiotics: A Pathway to Immune Health
Probiotics have long been recognized for their positive impact on immune function and digestive well-being. Beyond this, intriguing experimental evidence suggested a connection between probiotic supplementation and the modulation of regulatory T-cells, a specific type of immune cell. These findings paved the way for the study’s researchers to delve deeper into the possible benefits of probiotics for individuals suffering from seasonal allergies.
Unveiling the Study
In pursuit of tangible evidence, a team of researchers embarked on a comprehensive study involving 173 healthy adults plagued by seasonal allergies. The participants were divided into two groups through random selection. One group was administered a carefully crafted combination probiotic supplement, housing both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains. This probiotic-rich group consumed the supplement twice daily over an eight-week period. The second group, serving as the control, received a placebo counterpart.
To ensure the efficacy of the probiotic supplementation, the researchers analyzed participants’ stool samples to monitor the presence and concentrations of friendly gut bacteria in the large bowel. This step not only validated adherence to the supplement regimen but also provided insights into the potential mechanisms at play.
Results that Bring Relief
The study’s outcomes unfolded with promising implications. Participants who suffered from mild seasonal allergies reaped the most significant benefits from the probiotic intervention. This discovery is particularly uplifting given that hay fever affects a staggering 40-60 million individuals in the United States alone. Characterized by an exaggerated immune response to airborne allergens, hay fever triggers symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and fatigue. The study’s findings offer hope to this substantial demographic, potentially providing them with a more natural avenue to manage their symptoms.
Beyond the Seasonal Sniffles: A Glimpse into the Future
While standard medical interventions for hay fever center around antihistamines and decongestants, these remedies often bring along undesirable side effects, ranging from drowsiness and dizziness to dry mouth and difficulties with urination. Probiotic supplements, in contrast, could represent a gentler, side effect-free alternative. For those who have grown tired of battling the discomfort of hay fever with conventional treatments, the option of incorporating probiotics into their daily routine might prove to be a game-changer.
Promising Pathways Ahead
The implications of this study extend beyond the realm of hay fever management. The probiotic supplement’s potential to enhance gut health and support overall immune function carries significant implications for general wellness. Strengthening the body’s defence mechanisms through a balanced and well-nurtured gut ecosystem could unlock various health benefits, from increased resistance to infections to improved digestion.
Embracing a New Paradigm
The potential shown by this research ushers in a new era of hay fever management. No longer limited to drowsy antihistamines and decongestants, individuals may soon have access to a natural and side effect-free solution. A simple regimen of probiotic supplements, housing the right strains, could significantly reduce the burden of hay fever symptoms.
The 2017 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition illuminates a promising path for individuals plagued by seasonal allergies. With its focus on the immune-modulating potential of probiotics, the study hints at a future where the discomfort of hay fever can be eased without the baggage of unwanted side effects. As the medical community delves deeper into the interplay between gut health and overall well-being, probiotics emerge as a beacon of hope, promising relief not only for hay fever sufferers but also for those seeking to bolster their immune defences naturally.
Dennis-Wall JC et al. Probiotics ( Lactobacillus Gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium Bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium Longum MM-2) Improve Rhinoconjunctivitis-Specific Quality of Life in Individuals With Seasonal Allergies: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial. Am J Clin Nutr 105 (3): 758-767 Feb 22, 2017.
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.