The Grapevine

Probiotics May Improve Seasonal Allergies, Quality Of Life

Probiotics
Study participants with a higher intake of probiotics weather seasonal allergies better than those with lesser intake. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Probiotics are good for your gut, your mental health — and now, your seasonal allergies, according to a new study review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology.

Researchers pored over data already collected from 23 randomized trials involving 1,900 people, with 17 trials showing people with seasonal allergies improved from probiotics. Participants who took either a probiotics supplement or ate probiotic-rich foods improved their allergy symptoms and overall quality of life. This is in comparison to study participants also with seasonal allergies taking a placebo.

Dr. Justin Turner, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., led the study, and he explained to Live Science that the trials “used different strains of live bacteria, different dosages, and different probiotic supplement formulations over different periods of time.” So right now researchers can’t definitely say more probiotics will equal less seasonal allergy symptoms. And even if studies do arrive at this conclusion in the future, Turner added “it's unlikely they would replace the standard medical treatments currently used by people affected by them.”

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) reported 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Grass, pollen, and mold are the most common triggers, which can lead to fits of sneezing, coughing, runny and/or itchy nose and eyes. It seems redundant to list these symptoms out, again, but according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive, over half of polled Americans mistake signs of allergies for colds. Both allergies and cold can cause sneezing, coughing, runny and stuffy nose, and fatigue — yet colds only last up to 10 days; allergies persist for months.

What’s more are 75 percent of polled Americans thought antihistamines were the most effective way to treat allergies, whereas, Harris cited, “clinical data shows that nasal sprays are … the most effect way to treat allergies.” Either way, it’s best to consult with your doctor prior to taking any medication.

Outside medication, the ACAAI recommends monitoring pollen and mold counts through weather reports; keeping windows and doors shut at home; taking a shower after coming in from being outdoors; even wear a filter mask to mow the lawn and do other outdoors chores.

Here’s how else you can prepare for spring allergies.

Source: Turner J, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of probiotics for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. 2015.

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