Allergic Rhinitis is defined as the inflammation of the inside and nasal congestion because of an allergen. Some common causes include animals, pollen, dust mites, and mold but things like a wheat allergy have also been linked to allergic rhinitis. Treatments typically include intranasal corticosteroids but this can lead to side effects like stinging, burning, and nosebleeds.
Probiotics are defined as Microorganisms that upon ingesting may provide various health benefits. In the past, they have been studied for allergies. In this blog post, I will be sharing a study that administered Bifidobacterium lactis NCC2818 in adult individuals with seasonal grass pollen allergic rhinitis.
The Allergic Rhinitis Study Setup
In this 2013 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants suffering from allergic rhinitis took the B. Lactis Strains for 8-weeks daily.
This was done during the peak season of pollen for maximum effectiveness. All participants were first confirmed to be allergic with a skin prick pollen test and during the course of the trial, they were asked to self questionnaire every week related to their allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Aside from the self-reporting, blood tests were taken at baseline and then twice more at the 4 and 8-week mark to check immune parameters. This was a randomized placebo-controlled trial so another group of participants took a placebo pill for the same length of time.
Allergic Rhinitis Study Results
The blood test results showed that the group that unwittingly took the B. Lactis probiotic supplement for 8-weeks had lower levels of Th-2 cytokines, secreted by stimulated blood lymphocytes. This indicates that inflammation was lowered.
The self-reporting questionnaire for Total nasal symptom scores demonstrated that in the first month the self-reported scores showed no difference but in the second month of taking the trial there was a clear difference in that those who were taking the supplement began to show lower allergic rhinitis symptom scores whereas those taking the placebo had higher symptom scores.
Percentages of activated CD63 expressing basophils were also lower in the probiotic group. this is significant because allergens are known to cause basophil activation. It was clear that through the microbiome it was slowly possible to help with inflammation inside of the nose.
The blood tests and self questionnaire showed that Bifidobacterium Lactis NCC2818 bacteria clearly had a positive impact on those suffering from allergic rhinitis.
One negative is that the positive effects took a while to kick in but if you can plan ahead and starting taking a probiotic supplement containing the B. Lactis probiotic bacteria before pollen season then you too could potentially experience the same effects in this study.
It's important to mention that taking probiotic supplements cause digestive side effects and you should always talk with your doctor first before taking any supplements.
Reference: Singh, A., Hacini-Rachinel, F., Gosoniu, M. et al. Immune-modulatory effect of probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis NCC2818 in individuals suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis to grass pollen: an exploratory, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 161–167 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2012.197