Allergies and intolerances – how can probiotics help us?

Every day we come across an increasing number of scientific studies that confirm the correlation between a poor microbiome and respiratory infections/allergies, including allergic rhinitis, asthma, and intolerance to certain food products.

The reasons for the inadequate development of the intestinal microbiota are diverse; from the method of delivery, the presence of breastfeeding or supplementary feeding, specific eating habits, the environment, early contact with antibiotics in the treatment of body infections, hygiene theories, etc.

Scientific studies offer many theories as to why our organism is unique in terms of the composition of microorganisms and what it is that helps us / hinders us in creating a healthy microflora. For example recent studies have shown that if a child takes antibiotics already in the first year of his life, his chances of developing allergic reactions increase by at least 15-20%. (6) Also, living in rural areas, contact with a greater number of microorganisms in early childhood reduces the risks of asthma, allergies and intolerance to food or non-food allergens. On the other hand, breast milk contains naturally occurring probiotics, so breastfed children develop their microbiota faster and more efficiently (7). Given that allergic protection begins in the mother’s womb, the occurrence of atopic dermatitis in children whose mothers took probiotic preventive therapy with Lactobacillus rhamnosus bacteria during pregnancy was reduced by 50-80% . The protective effect was visible several years after birth.

Given that the diversity of our microbiome is a key factor in protection against bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and exotoxins/endotoxins, it is logical to treat most of the immune cells in the intestines in a way that stimulates the development of friendly microorganisms and favorable ratios of the genera Bacteroides and Firmicutes .

But what about allergies that come later in life? Is there any help there?

The results of a Portuguese scientific study (5) show that probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium prevent recurrent allergies, alleviate the severity of symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients with allergic rhinitis. The mechanism of action can be explained by the modulation of the immune system by the production of cytokines that cause a dominant TH1 response in patients with rhinitis by modulating the effect of the TH1 / TH2 balance.

  Summary of the clinical effect of probiotics, Figure 1. (6)

Summary of the clinical action of probiotics, Figure 1. (6)

Therefore, the use of probiotic bacteria could be effective and safe for the prevention and treatment of allergic rhinitis, but the mechanisms underlying this action still remain unclear. For this reason, clinical trials using probiotics in combination with nutritional supplements based on plant extracts should be at the center of future research in order to provide the general public with a deeper and more detailed understanding of the mechanism of action itself.

All in all, we can look at today’s research and projects with a smile – given that we are lucky to live in the period when the HMP (Human Microbiome Project) was founded and financed – a project whose goal is to establish a reference database on the human microbiome. HPM has discovered several “surprises” that suggest that microbes contribute to our well-being with more genes responsible for human survival than our own genes. Bacteria’s protein-coding genes are estimated to be 360 ​​times more abundant than human genes. We can expect more and more discoveries of this importance in the near future, therefore the importance of probiotic therapy and the emphasis on preventive micronutrition will become more and more dominant. (1)

Until then, we can help you with our proven gut health and sinus allergy symptom relief/prevention products:

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Blog written by: Matea Smojver, univ.sepc Food Quality/safety


Sources and scientific articles: