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Probiotics May Reduce Hay Fever Allergy Symptoms

Researchers at the Nestle Research Center conducted a trial during peak season for pollen (May to August) in order to measure the real life impact of probiotic supplementation on seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

They found that taking a probiotic supplement daily reduced allergy symptoms as well as inflammatory and allergic markers in individuals with hay fever.

The study included 20 adults with hay fever who took either a probiotic supplement ((NCC)2818 Bifidobacterium lactis) or a placebo for 8 weeks. The participants completed symptom questionnaires every week.

Researchers noted that a significant reduction in nasal symptoms occurred in the second month of the study in the supplement group. They also found that markers of allergic responses, specifically Th-2 cytokines, in the supplement group were lower than those in the placebo group. Cytokines play a critical role in orchestrating and amplifying the inflammatory response due to allergies.

Additionally, they noted less activation of white blood cells called basophils after just four weeks. Basophils become activated in response to an allergic episode and measuring basophil activation is commonly used to diagnose allergies.

The study was online ahead of print on January 9, 2013, in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Having a varied composition of bacteria in your digestive system is essential for good gut health. Previous studies have linked healthy gut bacteria with strengthening the immune system, better gum health, weight loss, and reducing the risk of chronic disease.

The best way to make sure you have a good variety of bacteria in your system is to eat a varied diet. Good dietary sources of gut bacteria include yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. A high quality probiotic supplement is also a great source but if you choose this option, be sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture which can easily kill probiotics.

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