How Are Probiotics and Seasonal Allergies Linked?
Constant sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and itchy eyes can have a significant impact on your well-being. These symptoms are associated with seasonal allergies that affect millions of people all around the world. While there is no cure for these annoying condition, you can control your symptoms with various treatment options. Besides, a new study suggests that certain probiotics can also help to treat hay fever. How are probiotics and seasonal allergies linked?
What Is Hay Fever?
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a condition resulting from the immune system’s overreaction to airborne allergens, such as pollen or dust. In the United States alone, hay fever affects up 60 million people.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is a common issue during the spring, summer, and early fall months. The most common triggers include: pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds, as well as mold spores.
People with seasonal allergies often experience sneezing, a runny nose or nasal congestion, itchy eyes, mouth, or skin, as well as tiredness or fatigue.
Many people use antihistamines and decongestants to control these symptoms. However, some types of allergy medications may cause side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, or even vomiting.
A new study suggests an alternative seasonal allergy treatment – probiotics.
According to the study, taking a probiotic that combines Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria can help to reduce the symptoms of hay fever during the pollen season.
How Do Probiotics Improve Allergies?
Although there have been previous studies looking at the effectiveness of probiotics in the treatment of seasonal allergies, the findings have varied significantly.
Researchers from the University of Florida studied the effects of a probiotic combination on people with the symptoms of seasonal allergies and their life quality. The combination of probiotics contained Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum.
The decision to look at these probiotics was based on the results of previous studies showing that the “good” bacteria Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria help to maintain the immune system and gut healthy.
The study involved more than 150 healthy adults that reported having a seasonal allergy. The participants were divided into two groups. While the first group took the probiotic combination in the form of a capsule, the second group received a placebo.
No other allergy medications were used during the period of the study, which took place at the peak of spring season.
The results showed that people who took the probiotics experienced improvements in their allergy symptoms and general well-being. The study team contacted the subjects every week using the method of telephone surveys.
According to the authors, not all kinds of probiotics can help to treat allergies, but the probiotics that were studied did work. The study concluded that the combination probiotic was most beneficial for the participants with mild seasonal allergies
How Do Probiotics Affect the Immune System?
The combination of probiotics may help to increase the levels of regulatory T cells in the body.
It is not completely clear how the combination probiotic improves seasonal allergies, and more studies are required to understand the exact mechanism. The study authors think that the increase in regulatory T cells induced by the probiotic may increase the body’s tolerance to allergy symptoms.
Future studies should focus the effect of probiotics on the immune system. If we understand how these microorganisms improve immune function, we may be able to maintain our immune balance better.