Aaaa-choo. It’s that time of year again for allergy sufferers. You may be surprised to learn that probiotics are among the best natural remedies for allergies. If you’re hooked on antihistamines, decongestants, and desensitization shots you might be inclined to think there is little value in such miniscule microbes. But more and more research shows that specific probiotic strains could be just the natural remedy you’ve been waiting for.
Ideally, probiotics are best taken during gestation since they can prevent the inflammation that leads to allergies. Research in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that probiotic consumption by the mother during pregnancy and in the infant’s milk reduced the risk of allergy-induced eczema. Such early probiotic consumption also reduced the likelihood of allergy-related nasal and eye inflammation. Known as allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (ARC), this common allergic condition involves inflammation of the nose, sinuses, and eyes. If you’re an allergy sufferer, you’re probably no stranger to the itchy nose, sneezing, watery mucus, nasal congestion or blockage, and itching or burning eyes involved in ARC.
Of course for most allergy sufferers, it is no longer possible to consider fetal or infant nutrition. So, what works after you’re fully developed and have full-blown allergies? Probiotics can still help. Scientists at the Osaka University School of Medicine in Japan found that the probiotic Lactobacillus casei (L. casei) delays the occurrence of allergic symptoms. This probiotic also effectively reduced sinusitis and nasal congestion linked to allergies.
Beneficial bacteria aren’t the only microbes that can help allergy sufferers. Other research in the medical journal Advanced Therapeutics found that the probiotic yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, effectively reduces inflammation in the mucous membranes as well as acts as a nasal decongestant. This beneficial yeast is not linked to yeast infections.
Not all probiotics offer relief. Some strains do nothing at all to reduce allergies but may be helpful for other health conditions. It is important to choose one or more of the above science-backed strains since they have been found effective against allergies specifically. I’m not aware of any probiotic supplements that include both L. casei and S. cerevisiae strains. I’ve linked to my preferred brands that include each of the above-mentioned strains.
It is also imperative to take probiotics on a daily basis to help the beneficial microbes build up in the body to reduce inflammation and allergy symptoms. While probiotics can start working on allergy symptoms immediately they also tend to build up in the body over time. Dosage varies depending on the product selected. Follow package directions and consult your doctor prior to use. Pregnant or nursing women should only use probiotic supplements intended for pregnancy.
Learn more about natural remedies for allergies in Allergy-Proof: Over 60 Drug-Free All-Natural Ways to Beat Allergies and The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out.
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the international best-selling author of the books The Probiotic Promise, 60 Seconds to Slim, and Weekend Wonder Detox, a registered nutritionist, and a board-certified doctor of natural medicine. Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow my blog on my sites HealthySurvivalist.com and DrMichelleCook.com, and Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.