a woman with allergies or a cold blows her nose into a tissue, senses of smell and taste, seasonal allergies

When people start sniffling and sneezing because of seasonal allergies, they usually rely on antihistamines and nasal sprays. A new study suggests that they might also want to consider modifying the bacteria in their bellies.

Probiotics to Help People with Seasonal Allergies:

A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 173 people with seasonal allergies found that those who took a probiotic for two months had significantly higher scores on an allergy-specific quality of life scale than those on an identical-seeming placebo. Their allergy symptoms also improved. The people in this study did not use an antihistamine on a regular basis.

Which Beneficial Bacteria Did the Probiotic Contain?

Probiotic products provide beneficial bacteria that might not be present in substantial numbers in the digestive tract. There is a huge range of possible bacteria as well as of dose. Consequently, researchers must specify which ones they tested.

The probiotic in this study (Kyo-Dophilus) was supplied by Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd., which also sponsored the research. It contained 3 billion colony forming units a day of Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1 and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2.

How Do Probiotics Work?

Kyo-Dophilus was shown in a previous study to stimulate production of Interleukin-10, which may help the body tolerate allergens. During the study, the balance of intestinal bacteria shifted toward types that are thought to be more beneficial.

Scientists don’t yet understand exactly how the intestinal microbiota affect the immune system, particularly with respect to allergies. These investigators suggest that probiotics might be most helpful in preventing allergies if they were used early in life, when the immune system is still developing. They also conclude:

“Our study demonstrates a potential benefit for healthy adults with self-identified seasonal allergies when the probiotic is administered starting at the greatest level of allergy symptoms. Prophylactic administration of the probiotic might potentiate the beneficial effects observed in this study.”

Dennis-Wall et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online, Feb. 22, 2017 

We will watch for further research to confirm or refute these findings.

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  1. Jackie
    Raleigh, NC

    I have suffered for 50 years with seasonal allergies. My pediatrician prescribed chloramphenamine when I was 8. I have tried every antihistamine, decongestant, nasal spray and even allegy shots for a short period of time. The allergy tests showed I was allergic to trees, grasses, animals, everything in my daily life. With all the treatments, including fluticasone nasal spray, my nose still dripped all day in spring and fall especially.
    Last month I started taking Accu-flora probiotics with 10 billion CFUs. My nose is clear for the first time in 50 years, with spring pollen counts HIGH. I don’t care how it works, but I have RELIEF at last!

  2. Rick

    This is nothing more than a promotional advertisement to market pro-bionics. Tell me how do pro-bionic,’s bolster your own immune system to contain an allergy. The reason people have flare ups from seasonal allergens is quite simple its your immune system reacting to a pathogen and unless you remove yourself from the stimuli the reaction will continue. The trouble with antihistamines is they inhibit or close down your immune systems so the pathogen enters your body unimpeded. Those runny eyes,nose the coughing and sneezing is your immune system in action and if we keep using those medications soon those pathogens will no longer be recognized as a threat to cellular integrity! I question if pro-bionics are not recognized as antigens

  3. Lynn

    Can every probiotic have the same substances except for the colony units? If not then how can they use one probiotic to judge by. I would think they should use others for a fair trial.

  4. Marvin

    It is possible that probiotics may be proven to ease seasonal allergies. However, supporting for this with one study of 173 people and one product is weak. At best this suggests a need for much further study.


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