As millions make their annual trek to the doctor for their seasonal allergy shots, there might be a new weapon they’re overlooking: probiotics.

A University of Florida study, conducted during the 2016 allergy season, shows a probiotic combination helps reduce hay fever symptoms.

Amazingly, the probiotics were shown to be beneficial even when waiting until the start of the allergy season to take them.

Many published studies have shown a probiotic’s ability to regulate the body’s immune response to allergies; however, according to the University of Florida researchers, not all of the probiotics show a benefit.

A single probiotic strain may not work

The take-away from this is that when taking a probiotic supplement you should ensure it contains a blend of multiple strains.

Scientists already know that the probiotic combination of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria helps maintain digestive health and improves the immune system.

Now researchers suspect that a mix of probiotics might work by increasing the human body’s percentage of regulatory T-cells, which in turn might increase tolerance to hay fever symptoms.

For the University of Florida study, researchers enrolled 173 healthy adults who said they suffered seasonal allergies. The participants were randomly split into two groups: Some took the combination probiotic; others took a placebo.

The research period was eight weeks. Each week during the research period, participants responded to an online survey to convey their discomfort level.

Scientists also analyzed DNA from participants’ stool samples to determine how their bacteria changed. This is important because probiotics aim to deliver good bacteria to the human’s intestinal system.

The DNA test also confirmed who was taking the probiotic, said Bobbi Langkamp-Henken, a professor of food science and human nutrition and a senior author of the study.

The researchers conducted the experiment at the height of spring allergy season, and the results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Quality of life improvement

According the study participants who took the probiotic supplement reported improvements in quality of life, compared to those taking the placebo. For example, participants suffered fewer allergy-related nose symptoms, which meant that they were less troubled during daily activities.

Researchers note that this study did not include severe allergy sufferers. But the combination of probiotics showed clinical benefit for those with more mild seasonal allergies, Langkamp-Henken said.

According to other published research in the field, seasonal allergies can reduce sleep and productivity at work or school and can cause stress and embarrassment.

Furthermore, current allergy medications have unwanted potential side effects—such as dry mouth and drowsiness. This would make a natural approach, via probiotic treatment, a most welcome addition to treatment options.

Optimal Health Systems have promoted the importance of supplementing with multiple strains of probiotics for over two decades.

Their top-selling Optimal Flora Plus contains nine strains of stabilized probiotics—greatly increasing the likelihood of proper gut colonization.

– – –

Sources: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, University of Florida.