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A new review suggests that probiotics may be helpful to people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Probiotics are “good bacteria” found to have astonishing effects on our health.
Researchers recently studied the results of more than 20 previous studies that linked an improvement in hay fever symptoms for people who took probiotics regularly. However, even with these findings, the medical field may be hesitant to push probiotics as a remedy for seasonal allergies. Dr. Justin Turner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said that additional high-quality studies would be needed before physicians began treating allergies with probiotics. Despite the lack of hard-core studies, Dr. Turner acknowledges that probiotics are good bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut.
Probiotics found in supplements and foods help change the balance of bacteria in the intestines in such a way that could protect the body from immune system responses to pollens and other allergens by reducing allergy symptoms in general. Probiotics are naturally found in foods that have live cultures such as yogurts, kefir, and sauerkraut.
There are also probiotics that are available for purchase that you can take. These probiotics come in gel cap form, or powder, which you can add to a cold beverage or mix with food. Powder form is available for children, as well.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, seasonal allergies affect nearly 50 million Americans. Symptoms of seasonal allergies include a stuffy or a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes. Typically, these allergy symptoms are treated with antihistamines, decongestants, and steroid nasal sprays. However, recent studies of nearly 1,900 people found the majority (17 out of 23) showed an improvement in their allergy symptoms while taking probiotic supplements or ate foods that contained probiotics. Not only did the subjects experience an improvement in their allergy symptoms, but also in their general quality of life, as compared to those suffering from allergies who took only a placebo. Only six studies out of the 23 reflected no benefit of probiotics to people with hay fever.
Why is the jury still out on this one? The studies did use various strains of live bacteria, varying dosages, and types of probiotic formulations over a different period. Therefore, doctor’s cannot use this research exclusively as means to treat allergy symptoms with probiotics, states Dr. Turner. Although probiotics may prove beneficial for some people that suffer from seasonal allergies, it is not likely that probiotics will replace standard medical treatments of hay fever, according to Turner.
Be sure that before consuming regular doses of probiotics, that you discuss this with your primary care physician.
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