Spring showers bring more than just flowers. For some, spring brings seasonal allergies. Luckily, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a combination of certain probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2) may be helpful in reducing allergy symptoms. The double-blind, randomized study took place during spring allergy season and included 173 people, aged 26 to 28, with self-reported seasonal allergies. Every day for eight weeks, the participants received either two probiotic capsules (containing 1.5 billion colony-forming units per capsule) or a placebo. Throughout the study, they answered the Mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (MRQLQ) to report on the frequency of their allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, nasal and eye irritation, runny nose, and others, as well as the impact of their allergy symptoms on quality of life. At the end of the study, participants who took the probiotics had greater improvements in allergy-related quality of life as reported on the MRQLQ, compared with the placebo group.
This isn’t the first time probiotics have been linked with improvements in allergy symptoms. Previous research has found that the probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius may help reduce symptoms in children allergic to mold and dust. So, what’s the connection between beneficial gut bacteria and eye and nose irritation? Some research suggests that healthy gut bacteria can improve immune regulation and prevent immune cells from overreacting to allergens. However, this research is still in its early days.