How Do Probiotics Help With Allergies
Good hygiene is the best way to get rid of harmful bacteria, but excessive hygiene can kill helpful bacteria as well. More and more studies have suggested that children who grow up in sterile environments are also more likely to develop allergies, asthma, and other immune problems later in life.
When a child lacks a robust gut flora, they lose out on a lot of essential diversity that would otherwise keep their body reacting normally to foreign but harmless substances, like pollen.
While probiotics are not a miracle cure-all for allergies, they can go a long way towards helping foster a much more comfortable lifestyle, especially when used in tandem with other treatment methods.
They Can Increase Infection Risk For Some
Probiotics are safe for the vast majority of the population, but may not be the best fit for everyone.
In rare cases, the bacteria or yeasts found in probiotics can enter the bloodstream and cause infections in susceptible individuals .
Those at greatest risk for infection from probiotics include people with suppressed immune systems, prolonged hospitalizations, venous catheters or those who have undergone recent surgeries .
However, the risk of developing an infection is very low, and no serious infections have been reported in clinical studies of the general population.
It is estimated that only about one in one million people who take probiotics containing Lactobacilli bacteria will develop an infection. The risk is even smaller for yeast-based probiotics, with only about one in 5.6 million users getting infected .
When infections do occur, they typically respond well to traditional antibiotics or antifungals. However, in rare cases, deaths have occurred .
Research also suggests that people with severe acute pancreatitis should not take probiotics, as this may increase the risk of death .
People with compromised immune systems, venous catheters, recent surgery, acute pancreatitis or prolonged hospitalizations should avoid taking probiotics.
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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Where To Find Therapeutic Grade Probiotics
I only recommend one brand of probiotics that is therapeutic grade and in my opinion, the best probiotic on the market: Smidge Probiotic .
There are other brands of therapeutic grade probiotics out there but I dont recommend them. For example, the one I referenced above in Jenny McCarthys book did work for me in the past, but I no longer recommend because they started adding canola oil to it.
I also dont recommend Dr. Natashas probiotic, Biokult, because it has additives and it also has soil-based organisms which can cause problems. Im working on an extensive post on how to choose probiotics which I hope to have up soon.
Can Probiotics Help With Food Allergies And Intolerances
Many people are confused by the difference between a food intolerance and a food allergy. The primary difference is that whilst food intolerances can be very unpleasant, food allergies can be life-threatening.
A food allergy generally shows up as an immediate swelling of the face and airways and is an urgent condition requiring medical attention. It is often brought on by exposure to only a small amount of the trigger ‘substance’ or food.
However, an intolerance is seen as a more gradual response, generally manifesting only as uncomfortable digestive symptoms, and is usually only brought on following exposure to a significant amount of the trigger substance.
Due to the fact that our gut microbiota may help to keep the gut healthy and break down and digest certain foods, those with food intolerances sometimes find that taking live cultures can help improve digestion and gut integrity such that tolerance to offending foods may be improved.
This would not be the same in the case of food allergies however, and trigger foods must always be avoided by allergic patients.
Healthcare practitioners may also like to read this blog post about probiotics and lactose intolerance.
Recommended Reading: Best Strains Of Probiotics For Weight Loss
Therapeutic Role Of Probiotics Against Respiratory Allergies
Considering the massive socio-economic burden of different allergic conditions on global healthcare resources, there is a considerable research impetus towards finding pioneering therapeutic and preventive interventions. In this regard, the role of the gut microbiota in shaping the immune response against conditions such as HDM allergy was anticipated in a previous section. Following up, there are new findings that suggest that the dynamics of gut colonization in infants play a critical role in shaping the immune system, and there is a possibility of enriching the gut microflora using probiotics that could contribute towards the prevention of allergic conditions in later life . The microbiome bacteria can affect T helper responses by eliciting T helper-1 cytokine production and/or by inducing T regulatory cells , thereby suppressing Th2 responses. Lactobacillus bacteria affect Treg cells by generating semi-mature dendritic cells and increasing the expression of CD40 they are capable of inhibiting Interleukin -4 and IL-5 while inducing specific regulatory cytokines, such as transforming growth factor and IL-10 . Probiotics can also enhance local IgA production, which directly affects mucosal defences , and they have been involved in the maturation of adaptive T cell immunity by stimulating the production of IL-17 .
Table 1 Different probiotic strains that were evaluated in patients with allergic rhinitis.
There Is Hope For People With Food Allergies
I did reverse my food allergies. It took about two years but I did it. My experience taught me not to give up when you are given a prognosis.
Are there foods you just cant eat? Is ordering in a restaurant an ordeal? Do bread and pizza leave you bloated and tired? Do dairy products give you gut pain or diarrhea? Do your symptoms manifest as IBS, bowel issues, arthritis or breathing problems? Do your kids have these problems or spectrum disorders?
I know how you feel. And I want you to know that there is hope!
What if I told you that if you can heal your gut, you can eat anything you want with no symptoms? That you can reverse these problems?
It is absolutely possible. I know it is because I reversed mine.
Not everyone can recover from food allergies, but the vast majority of people can.
It took two years to fully heal my gut, but I got my life back. Chances are, you can too!
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Probiotics Side Effects: Allergies
Probiotics are considered extremely safe for most healthy people, but it’s possible, although rare, to develop an allergic reaction to probiotics or some of the ingredients used in probiotic supplements.
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If you do develop an allergic reaction, your symptoms can range from mild to severe.
If you have known food allergies, make sure to read ingredient labels carefully and use caution because some probiotic supplements may contain milk byproducts, like lactose. If you don’t have any known allergies but experience an adverse reaction to taking a probiotic, discontinue use and seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Chronic Conditions With A Histamine Component
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.
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Why Do Allergies Develop
The reason why we develop allergies is still poorly understood, but it is a subject of great concern to the medical profession as these inappropriate physical responses are a growing concern worldwide6.
The World Allergy Organization warns that “the prevalence of allergic diseases worldwide is rising dramatically in both developed and developing countries.”
Allergies can take many different forms, encompassing reactions ranging from mild to dangerous anaphylactic reactions. Whilst food intolerances are generally the result of poor digestion or leaky gut, where incompletely digested molecules of food pass through into the bloodstream triggering an immune response from an antibody, or immunoglobulin. A true allergy involves the immune system, and in particular a specific immunoglobulin called IgE , which is implicated in anaphylaxis.
Health professionals can read more about leaky gut over on the Professionals site.
Allergies can also present without warning at any time, often affecting sufferers late in life and causing reactions to foods or environmental stimuli that have previously been well-tolerated.In particular, more and more children are presenting with allergenic symptoms, with the latest statistics indicating that more than 50% of children in the United Kingdom now suffer from some form of allergy.
Early Research Shows Promise
Probiotics may change the balance of bacteria in your intestines, which in turn protects the immune system and reduces allergy flare-ups.
During allergy season, allergy sufferers may be heartened to hear that probiotics may help them, as well. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that probiotics may help alleviate some of the discomfort. The researchers studied 173 participants who suffered from seasonal allergies. One group was given a placebo and the other a combination of lactobacilli and bifidobacteri . It should be noted that this study did not include severe allergy sufferers, but the combination of probiotics did show clinical benefit for those with more mild symptoms.
Though the researchers in this study admit they dont quite know exactly how the probiotics relieve allergy symptoms, a 2015 study in the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology may shed some light on the subject.
In that study, researchers compiled data from 23 studies and found that people with seasonal allergies who took probiotic supplements or ate foods containing probiotics showed improvement in their allergy symptoms compared with allergy sufferers who took a placebo. Researchers theorized that the probiotics changed the balance of bacteria in the intestines, which in turn protected the immune system and prevented allergy flare-ups.
Also Check: Does Oikos Yogurt Have Probiotics
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.
The Root Cause Of Allergies
In my 30 years of practice, I have found that a large majority of my patients with allergies have a condition called leaky gut syndrome.
In leaky gut syndrome, the lining of the gut develops gaps, allowing undigested food, toxins, bacteria, and metabolic wastes to enter your bloodstream, triggering a chronic, hyper-sensitive immune response.
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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.
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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Allergies And Sore Throat
Along with sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and congestion, another common side effect of seasonal allergies is a sore throat. To make matters worse, the mucous produced by a runny nose can lead to post-nasal drip, which can further irritate and inflame your throat. No wonder your child is feeling so crummy from all those sniffles!
Constant Itching And Scratching
Itching and scratching is a common nuisance with dogs. The itching and scratching can range from mild to severe depending on your dogs circumstances. The most common cause of itching and scratching in dogs is food allergy. Digestive enzymes can help by supporting the digestive system, taking the digestive burden off the pancreas.
Also Check: What Are The Ingredients In Probiotics
Where Do Allergies Come From
Scientists agree that there is a genetic component to allergies.
Kids born to parents with allergies are more likely to develop allergies than children whose parents do not have them.
But in order to develop allergies, there must be an environmental trigger.
Unfortunately, our hyper-vigilance about germs and bacteria may actually cause more allergies to develop.
Researchers hypothesize that reduced family size, improved hygiene, vaccinations, use of antimicrobial medications, and the consumption of near sterile food have all decreased or altered our exposure to microbes.
As a result, our bodies do not always develop natural resistance to common allergens and we suffer from allergies that can range from mild nuisances to severe chronic conditions.
While these findings make sense, there is another missing piece that Body Ecology founder, Donna Gates, wants you to know about allergiesyour inner ecosystem.
In a perfect world, everyone would have a healthy inner ecosystem that keeps us in balance, just as the Earths ecosystems keep it in balance. In humans, however, this inner ecosystem is the health of your intestines and in essence, your digestive tract.
When your inner ecosystem is in balance, your intestines are teeming with the beneficial bacteria and yeast that keep your immune system strong.
With the right balance of beneficial microflora, you can fight off allergens and infections .
Therapeutic Results Of Allergic Rhinitis With Probiotics
Recently, data from several published randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trials showed that probiotics had a treatment effect on allergic rhinitis. Furthermore, other studies figured out that the ingestion of probiotics resulted in a reduction of symptoms in children and adults with allergic rhinitis by reducing the allergic response to house dust mite. Published studies also demonstrated that L. casei reduced the number of rhinitis episodes in 64 preschool children with allergic rhinitis. Nevertheless, these results have been questioned recently by another trial that showed patients treated with LGG during the birch-pollen season that were allergic to birch pollen and apple food had neither reduction of symptom score, nor of sensitization to birch pollen and apple after probiotics supplementation. These indicate that probiotics may be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of allergic rhinitis, but the therapeutic effect remains to be further investigated.
Also Check: Young Living Life 9 Probiotic
Identify The Right Bacteria Strains
The packaging should list the strains of bacteria found in the probiotic. It will also have a description of the reported benefits of those strains.
Your vet may recommend a certain type, but it might take some trial and error before the perfect probiotic formula can be found. Why? Each dogs digestive system has a different percentage of bacteria. The secret is to find the right balance.