Just a quick note to remind you that pollen season is descending upon us! I get lots of questions about natural treatments for seasonal allergies so I want to devote some quick-read posts about this topic. Remember, allergies are a manifestations of an immune response, so the healthier our immune systems are, the more appropriate the immune response.
The topic that I would like to focus on today is the role of probiotics--can they help with hay fever type problems? A look into the research literature reveals a resounding YES! In 2016, a meta-analysis of 22 randomized controlled studies (most times these are the studies that hold the most weight) showed that probiotic use can decrease symptoms. These were the Lactobacillus/Bifidobacterium blends that were studied and it appeared that Lactobacillus paracasei was an important component (1). More recent randomized controlled trials also show significant decrease in allergic rhinitis symptoms while taking multi-species probiotics (2, 3).
The problem that I always run into is that my patients are, many times, looking for the best deal. That might be OK for some things like toilet paper--well no, maybe that's not the best example, since most of us can tell the difference between the good stuff and the cheap sandpaper like products. What it boils down to is that you get what you pay for and when it comes to taking care of your body, you should be sure you're getting the best quality. There are many products out there that are very poor quality--why spend money on something that might not, and probably won't work (4)? Make sure your probiotic is good quality. You can check out my criteria for a good probiotic on the home page.
So if you have seasonal allergies, get a good quality probiotic this Spring and make the season more enjoyable!