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Can Probiotics Help With Allergies

Chronic Conditions With A Histamine Component

Can probiotics help with allergies?
  • Rhumatoid Arthritis

Those who suffer from seasonal allergies have higher than normal histamine levels.

In a majority of these cases these elevated histamine levels come from either a digestive disorder or from a digestive microbial imbalance.

If you have been diagnosed with IBS, Crohn’s disease ulcerative colitis or acid reflux then a key to improving your allergy symptoms is to improve your digestive health.

Improving your digestive health lowers your histamine levels can significantly decrease, or eliminate entirely, your allergy symptoms.

Probiotics And Prebiotics: Whats The Difference

All living organisms need to be fed, and bacteria are no exception. Prebiotics are essentially food for probiotics. They are types of fiber that feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Probiotics and prebiotics work together and eating balanced amounts of both can help ensure optimum gut health. Food sources of prebiotics include legumes, oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, and onions.

Find Out How Functional Medicine Can Help

In functional medicine, when you want to heal a patient, you start with the diet, explains Dr. Z. Schedule a consultation to learn more about how Dr. Z and our team of functional medicine practitioners can help you improve your gut health, boost your immune system, and get at the root cause of your allergies.

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How To Give Your Dog Probiotics

First of all, we should note that some commercial dog food formulas contain added probiotics. However, if your dog needs an additional boost, the number of live cultures in the dog food is not enough.

In such cases, you need to consider supplements. Luckily, there are different forms of probiotic products powders, capsules, liquids, soft chews, and treats. This gives you the freedom to choose which option is best for you and your pup.

You can also use some natural sources of probiotics like yogurt and kefir. For optimal results, add a supplement product to your dogs regimen and occasionally enrich its meals with a natural probiotic.

How Probiotics May Work On Allergies

Can Probiotics Help Your Allergies?

The exact mechanisms for how probiotics impact the immune response to allergies are not fully understood. However, researchers have some general theories.

Like other disease processes, allergies throw off the natural balance within the body. For dogs with food allergies, the normal bacteria that colonize the gut is disturbed.

The use of probiotics can help restore balance, regulate the immune response, and promote a healthy gut.

The benefits of feeding probiotics to a dog with skin allergies may not be as obvious. Like gastrointestinal disorders, skin disorders can throw off the natural balance of bacteria found on the skin.

An overabundance of bad skin bacteria can lead to irritation and infection.

However, gut health and skin conditions are more connected than one might think. Researchers believe that skin diseases are an indication of more systemic disorders related to gut health.

Studies done in humans have shown that restoring the balance of gut bacteria has helped patients suffering from skin disorders. Now, similar studies are being done on dogs.

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Probiotics Can Aid Digestion And Help Maintain Gut Health

What are the benefits of taking probiotics? Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem literally and figuratively hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics , because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.

Some digestive disease specialists are recommending probiotic supplements for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies suggest that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

Self-dosing with bacteria isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms generally don’t make us sick most are helpful. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.

What Is Allergy And How Common Is It

Allergy UK defines an allergy as the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollen, food, and house dust mites. While for most people these substances pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a threat and produces an inappropriate response. This is different to a food intolerance, or sensitivity, which may cause more delayed symptoms such as bloating or gas, and does not involve an extreme immune reaction.

In the UK, a staggering 44% of British adults now suffer from at least one allergic condition and the number of sufferers is on the rise, having grown by around 2 million between 2008 and 2009 alone. The percentage of children diagnosed with allergic rhinitis and atopic eczema have trebled over the last 30 years. Food allergies are a cause of particular concern in young children, where the incidence is estimated to be greater in toddlers than in adults . In the 20 years leading up to 2012, there was a 615% increase in the rate of hospital admissions for anaphylaxis in the UK, so its time that we took action.

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Possible Explanations For Todays Food Allergies

One explanation, the hygiene theory, links this problem to the society we live in.

It posits that our sanitized environment prevents the proper development of the immune system through lack of exposure. The lack of early childhood exposure to certain bacteria prevents people from interacting with good microorganisms or probiotics that help develop a healthy immune system later on.

Studies have shown that the more antibiotics a child is given, the higher their risk for developing allergies and related conditions, like asthma and eczema. In 2017, a study by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences found that seasonal allergy sufferers may find relief when a combination of bacteria strains L. gasseri, B. bifidum, and B. longum were shown to reduce the symptoms of hay fever and improve quality of life .

But, how do probiotics actually help prevent allergies?

Birth Of A Hypothesis

Why kids should take probiotics? Allergies, Problem with skin? Dr Mark Lange

Four years after finishing her graduate work, Nagler started running a lab at Harvard Medical School. She was studying inflammatory bowel disease, not food allergies, back then. But as research in the 1990s showed that inflammatory bowel disease was primarily caused by immune reactions against gut bacteria, she shifted her attention to the microbiome.

Then, in 2000, she came across an intriguing publication. It described a mouse model for peanut allergy that mimics key symptoms experienced by people. The mice scratch relentlessly. Their eyes and mouths get puffy. Some struggle to breathea life-threatening allergic response called anaphylaxis.

All of this happens after researchers feed the mice peanut powder. That caught my eye, Nagler says. It ran counter to her earlier findings with the arthritic mice, where feeding collagen calmed the immune reaction. Why the difference?

The peanut-allergy mice, another report showed, had a genetic glitch that damages a receptor called TLR4 that sits in the membranes of immune cells and recognizes microbes. It looked as though the peanut-allergy mice lacked the normal cross talk that takes place between gut microbes and immune cells.

That was my lightbulb moment, Nagler says. Perhaps the trillions of microbes that live in us suppress immune responses to food by stimulating the TLR4 receptor. And perhaps perturbations in that teeming microbiome alter the suppression and cause a rise in allergies.

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How Probiotics Treat Allergies

The key to eliminating the chronic allergic response caused by a hyper-vigilant immune system lies in probiotics. Probiotics treat allergies by healing your damaged digestive system, which decreases inflammation, stabilizes your immune system, and strengthens your gut lining. Once your immune system returns to a calm and more stable state, youll find the sniffling, sneezing, post-nasal drip, and other allergy symptoms often resolve on their own.

How Allergies Cause Histamine

Histamine is released when a perceived threat or foreign substance is detected entering the body.

These foreign substances can be things like dust, pollen, and foods we eat every day.

When a foreign substance is detected, mast cells release histamine to tell your body to respond to the threat.

In response to histamine release, surrounding blood vessels dilate, increasing white blood cells and blood plasma proteins in that area.

Immune system proteins bind with the invading foreign substance .

When allergies cause severe symptoms, it can be a consequence of your immune system overreacting to the perceived foreign invader.

This overreaction could be due to many factors but in the case of seasonal allergies, it is usually because the body can’t keep up with the number of perceived threats flooding your system.

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What Do Veterinarians Say

Dr. Angie Krause reminds us that, While probiotics dont directly stop your dog from scratching, they do promote gastrointestinal health. Having a good population of healthy bacteria in the gut of your dog can drastically reduce and prevent allergies.

Dr. Kathryn Primm advises, Probiotics may hold promise in improving health for our beloved dogs, but be a savvy consumer. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and ALWAYS ask your own vet for advice on anything you feed your pets.

The Best Sources Of Probiotics

  • Breastmilk

The best way to prevent your child from developing allergies is to breastfeed during the first two years of life. Breastfeeding ensures your child gets large doses of healing probiotics to seal his gut, nourish his body, and strengthen his immune system.

  • Yogurt

Organic yogurt offers a good source of gut-healing probiotics. Be sure to choose an organic variety free of added sugars and food dyes.

  • Sauerkraut & Kimchi

Sauerkraut & kimchi are two of the most potent sources of probiotics.

  • Milk Kefir

Milk kefir is also a good and inexpensive source of probiotics that you can make yourself at home. Drink milk kefir on an empty stomach one hour to two hours before meals for best results.

  • Kombucha

Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented drink you can also make at home. Because of its naturally carbonated consistency, it can easily replace dangerous, aspartame-laced diet soda.

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Side Effects Of Probiotics

Astudy was conducted using a synbiotic mixture of seven strains of bacteria and a blend of fructooligosaccharides and arabinogalactans. This probiotic blend was given to a group of healthy dogs daily for three weeks.

No negative gastrointestinal effects were recorded and no significant changes in gastrointestinal function or immune markers were observed during the study period. The study suggested that specific synbiotic administration is safe for dogs.

Probiotics are safe provided you give thecorrect dosage. However, each dog is created differently, so some may react negatively towards the supplement. Consumption of too much probiotics may cause extreme nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Another issue is that probiotics can multiply very quickly. Bear in mind that these are live bacteria. This can result in severe infection or inflammation. That is why you should consult your veterinarian before buying a probiotic supplement.

Heres How Your Gut And Your Allergies Could Be Linked

If youre up on your health and wellness news, you know that gut health has been linked to both physical and mental health and that probiotics are one of the most popular ways to boost your microbiomethe collection of bacteria living in your gut. In fact, it often seems like probiotics are recommended to help treat virtually *every* health issue, from acne to digestive troubles to depression. So why not seasonal allergies too? Heres what experts have to say on the topic.

How Allergies and Your Gut Are LinkedIf you have allergies, you probably already know that allergies and your immune system are linked. But what may surprise you is that the connection between your gut and seasonal allergies is actually quite strong. We live because of air, food, and water intake, explains Gregor Reid, Ph.D., chief scientist for the soon-to-be-launched Seed. The gut is considered the center of our immune system, which also spans our airways, skin, and other parts of our bodies. This system was built from birth by microbes that taught the immune cells to know the differences between part of the family and foreign invaders, Reid says. Pollen, for example, is like one of those invaders for some people, and the system detects it and responds by trying to flush it out. Thus, sneezing watery eyes and nose. This set of symptoms is also known as allergic rhinitis.

Acknowledgements by: By Julia MalacoffPhoto: HBRH / Shutterstock

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Evidence On Prevention Of Atopic Dermatitis

The pioneering study using Lactobacillus GG probiotic supplementation in pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and infants at high risk of allergy, demonstrated a reduced prevalence of early AD in children compared to the control group . Noteworthy, specific Toll-like receptor genetic variations were associated with the protection of eczema by two probiotic strains , suggesting that individual genetic factors might influence the efficacy and outcome of probiotic supplementation .

Table 2 shows details of published RCTs on this topic, with several studies supporting , while others providing no evidence , for recommending probiotics in primary prevention of atopic disease.

Two other meta-analyses published in 2015 documented a clear benefit of probiotics only for primary prevention of eczema but did not report significant preventive effects of any other allergic manifestations . Zuccotti et al. analyzed 17 studies and found that probiotics supplementation was associated with a significantly lower relative risk for developing eczema compared with placebo , and the most pronounced effect was obtained in particular when heterogeneous mixtures of probiotic strains were used .

Evidence On Prevention Of Food Allergy

Probiotics for allergic rhinitis

A variety of studies provided data that probiotics, including LGG or L. acidophilus, do not protect against CMA in infancy . Moreover, in a review involving 1,549 infants, Osborn and Sinn stated that the benefit of probiotics in reducing food hypersensitivity is disputable.

In a study conducted by Morisset et al. , children at high-risk for the onset of atopic disease were fed with standard infant formula or a fermented infant formula containing heat-killed Bifidobacterium breve C50 and Streptococcus thermophilus 065. No statistical differences in the incidence of CMA were observed between these two groups, despite infants fed the formula containing probiotics were less sensitized to CMP at skin prick tests .

Similarly, a reduced skin prick test sensitivity to CMP or hen’s egg protein at age 6 months was reported in children, following supplementation with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium daily to pregnant women and to infants , when compared to mothers and infants receiving placebo.

However, the results of these studies suggested that probiotics may modulate the development of allergic sensitization to foods, but not necessarily this translates into food allergy prevention . Food hypersensitivity is not always associated with symptoms of food allergy, although infants with food sensitization may be more prone to develop a food allergy.

Two other studies reported conflicting results with supplementation of LGG .

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What Is The Microbiome

Despite the microbiome being one of the bodys most complex and important systems, it is also one of the most mysterious. In fact, the study of microbiota and the term microbiome” was only coined in 2001, and has since rapidly evolved into a burgeoning field of research. The results so far have challenged our understanding of whole-body health and wellness as we know it. Today, probiotics are indicated to support everything from healthy skin to obesity, digestion, immunity and behavioural disorders. How could all these be connected? It all has to do with microbiome function and the gut-brain-heart connection .

The microbiome is essentially a network of microorganisms that are concentrated largely in the intestines, consisting of microbes that are both harmful and beneficial . This is known as the microbiota, and it plays key roles in providing nutrients to our cells, modulating the immune system, and preventing harmful microbes such as bacteria and viruses from running amok and causing a wide array of health issues.

It’s all about balance. In a healthy body, pathogenic and symbiotic microbiota coexist. But when the balance is disturbed by illness, poor diet, antibiotics and other lifestyle factors, the body becomes vulnerable to pathogens and disease. This is where probiotics come in. By providing a consistent amount of beneficial bacteria you can balance and support a healthy microbiome.

Learn more about the microbiome and your child here.

Related: The Best Probiotics For Dogs In 2022

As you explore probiotics, check out our always up-to-date list of the best probiotics for dogs. With so many brands on the market, we did our research to make picking the right one for your dog easy!

  • Constant scratching and biting at hot spots
  • Sores, scabs and eczema-like skin irritation
  • Widespread hair loss
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Gastrointestinal problems

Depending on what type of allergy is causing skin irritation, veterinarians usually prescribe antihistamines, hydrocortisone, cortisone or a combination of medications. Unfortunately, these drugs only treat the symptoms and not the source of the allergya poorly functioning immune system and GI tract. To avoid medicating their dogs with drugs that often cause unhealthy side effects, pet owners are now relying on supplementation with beneficial bacteria instead, a natural, healthier method of treating the root cause of painful, itchy skin inflammation.

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What Does The Research Say

There are a number of studies that back up claims that probiotics can help allergy sufferers.

OptiBac conducted a randomised clinical trial with 47 hayfever sufferers. Some participants were given a probiotic combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM & Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04 for 4 months whilst another took a placebo. The probiotic group saw a reduction in respiratory symptoms and their inflammatory response decreased too.4

A review in the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology looked at 23 studies of probiotics and allergies which, all together, involved nearly 2000 people. Here most participants who took probiotics saw improvement of some sort, including milder symptoms and better quality of life. This was in comparison to a control group who took a placebo, and saw no such improvements.5

Finally, as if all this werent enough, research conducted by the University of Florida in 2017 found similar positive results. This research involved 173 sufferers of mild, seasonal allergies and was conducted at the height of hayfever season. Again, some participants took a placebo whilst others were given the probiotics.

Here each participant had to regularly fill out a questionnaire about their symptoms, and more scientific tests were done on top of this. It was found that participants who took the probiotics had fewer nasal symptoms, plus the treatment didnt cause side effects such as drowsiness which is so often the case with antihistamines.6

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