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Fermented Foods for Allergies

December 12, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Seasonal allergies can be quite confounding. The word “seasonal” infers a predictable time frame during which you can expect your eyes to water, your nose to run and probably a fair share of sneezing to boot. But, in reality, allergies are notorious for keeping their own time table. Then there’s the word “allergies”. It suggests that there’s something identifiable and specific that triggers an immune response. However, there’s nothing in the air that the naked eye can perceive. Ironies aside, this leaves countless people with no other option than to keep a steady supply of antihistamines, decongestants and steroid medications on hand.

Whenever possible, it’s best to address the cause of a condition or disease. The above mentioned medications address symptoms. If you want to dig deeper and affect the underlying mechanism behind allergic reactions, the solution may be as close as your refrigerator. A number of population studies reveal that those who eat yogurt regularly are less likely to have allergies. What’s more, patients with allergies frequently demonstrate an imbalance in the bacteria that reside in the intestines. Eating yogurt with live cultures helps to increase the number of beneficial, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) which may reduce allergic symptoms and frequency of allergic reactions. Researchers have yet to identify the optimal strains of probiotics to use for seasonal allergies, though the quest for a definitive answer is currently underway. In the meantime, some studies indicate that even common, unsweetened yogurt may be enough to down-regulate the hyperimmune response and the resulting inflammation that is at the core of seasonal allergies.

In terms of dosage, most of the successful studies have utilized between a half cup and two cups of fermented milk or probiotic yogurt daily. For those who are unable to consume dairy based, fermented foods, vegetarian options are also commercially available. These products typically contain coconut, rice or soy milk as a base ingredient rather than cow’s milk. In addition, other fermented foods, including the traditional Korean cabbage dish known as Kimchi, may also possess anti-allergic potential.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Study of the Influence of Dietary Yogurt in an Allergic Population (link)

Study 2 – Suppression of Allergy Development by Habitual Intake of (link)

Study 3 – Effects of Dietary Yogurt on Immunological and Clinical (link)

Study 4 – Fluctuation of Fecal Microbiota in Individuals with Japanese (link)

Study 5 – LKM512 Yogurt Consumption Improves the Intestinal Environment (link)

Study 6 – Influence of Bifidobacterium Longum BB536 Intake on (link)

Study 7 – A Probiotic Dairy Product Containing L. Gasseri CECT5714 and (link)

Study 8 – Effect of Fermented Milk Prepared with Two Probiotic Strains on (link)

Study 9 – A Randomized Prospective Double Blind Controlled Trial on Effects (link)

Study 10 – Modulation of Th1/Th2 Balance by Lactobacillus Strains Isolated (link)

Healthy Bacteria May Modulate the Immune System

Source: Gut 2005;54:317-320 (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition

6 Comments & Updates to “Fermented Foods for Allergies”

  1. JP Says:

    Update 07/09/15:


    Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113(S2):S131-S135.

    Fermented dairy food and CVD risk.

    Fermented dairy foods such as yoghurt and cheese are commonly found in the Mediterranean diet. Recent landmark research has confirmed the effect of the Mediterranean diet on reducing the CVD risk, but the relative contributions of fermented dairy foods have not been fully articulated. The present study provides a review of the relationship between fermented dairy foods consumption and CVD risk in the context of the whole diet. Studies show that people who eat healthier diets may be more likely to consume yoghurt, so there is a challenge in attributing separate effects to yoghurt. Analyses from large population studies list yoghurt as the food most negatively associated with the risk of weight gain (a problem that may lead to CVD). There is some suggestion that fermented dairy foods consumption (yoghurt or cheese) may be associated with reduced inflammatory biomarkers associated with the development of CVD. Dietary trials suggest that cheese may not have the same effect on raising LDL-cholesterol levels as butter with the same saturated fat content. The same might be stated for yoghurt. The use of different probiotic cultures and other aspects of study design remain a problem for research. Nevertheless, population studies from a range of countries have shown that a reduced risk of CVD occurs with the consumption of fermented dairy foods. A combination of evidence is necessary, and more research is always valuable, but indications remain that fermented dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are integral to diets that are protective against CVD.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Updated 04/07/16:


    Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:7896081.

    Effect of Inhalation of Aromatherapy Oil on Patients with Perennial Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

    This study aimed to investigate the effects of aromatherapy oil inhalation on symptoms, quality of life, sleep quality, and fatigue level among adults with perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR). Fifty-four men and women aged between 20 and 60 were randomized to inhale aromatherapy oil containing essential oil from sandalwood, geranium, and Ravensara or almond oil (the placebo) for 5 minutes twice daily for 7 days. PAR symptoms determined by Total Nasal Symptom Score (TNSS), the Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ), sleep quality by Verran Synder-Halpern (VSH) scale, and fatigue level by Chalder Fatigue Scale (CFS) were assessed before and after intervention period. Compared with the placebo, the experimental group showed significant improvement in TNSS, especially in nasal obstruction. The aromatherapy group also showed significantly higher improvements in total score of RQLQ and CFS. These findings indicate that inhalation of certain aromatherapy oil helps relieve PAR symptoms, improve rhinitis-specific quality of life, and reduce fatigue in patients with PAR. In conclusion, inhalation of aromatherapy essential oil may have potential as an effective intervention to alleviate PAR.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Updated 07/17/16:


    Allergy Asthma Proc. 2016 Jul;37(4):324-34.

    Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and vitamin D supplementation on the immunologic effectiveness of grass-specific sublingual immunotherapy in children with allergy.

    BACKGROUND: An important issue in sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is how to improve efficacy.

    OBJECTIVE: To compare the clinical and immunologic efficacy of SLIT given alone and, to enhance clinical efficacy, given with probiotic or vitamin D supplementation.

    METHODS: One hundred children, ages 5-12 years, sensitive to grass pollen, with allergic rhinitis participated in a 5-month prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Children received 5-grass SLIT 300 IR tablets with either vitamin D 1000 IU daily supplementation, probiotic, or placebo. The control group included children with allergy who did not qualify for immunotherapy. Primary end points included a symptom-medication score, lung function, and exhaled nitric oxide concentration. The secondary end point was the immunologic efficacy measured by the following: CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) (forkhead box P3) cells, Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4, interleukin (IL) 1, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor, IL-10, and transforming growth factor β-1 levels in cell culture supernatants.

    RESULTS: Reduction in the symptom-medication score and improvement in lung function as well as a significant increase in the percentage of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) in children who received SLIT in all the groups were observed compared with control group. In the SLIT-probiotic group, between-group analysis showed significantly higher CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) induction compared with the SLIT group and higher reduction in the percentage of TLR-positive cell group compared with the SLIT-vitamin D group (Fig. 1). An increase in CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) induction, reduction in TLR-positive cells recruitment and an increase in transforming growth factor β-1 production were independently associated with a better clinical effect of SLIT in children.

    CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated the clinical and immunologic effect of probiotic and vitamin D supplementation on SLIT. Probiotic supplementation showed better clinical and immunologic response in children with allergic rhinitis.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Updated 05/23/17:


    Ital J Pediatr. 2017 Mar 7;43(1):25.

    Bifidobacterium mixture (B longum BB536, B infantis M-63, B breve M-16V) treatment in children with seasonal allergic rhinitis and intermittent asthma.

    BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis (AR) and allergic asthma are caused by an IgE-mediated inflammatory reaction. Probiotics may exert anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory activity. Thus, this study aimed at investigating whether a Bifidobacteria mixture could be able to relieve nasal symptoms, and affect quality of life (QoL) in children with AR and intermittent asthma due to Parietaria allergy.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: The present study was conducted as placebo-controlled, double-blinded, and randomized. Globally, 40 children (18 males; mean age 9 ± 2.2 years) were enrolled. They were treated with probiotics or placebo: 1 sachet/day for 4 weeks. AR symptoms, and QoL were assessed at baseline and after treatment. Use of rescue medications, such as cetirizine syrup and salbutamol spray, was also permitted and recorded.

    RESULTS: Children treated with probiotic mixture achieved a significant improvement of symptoms (p < 0.005), and QoL ((p < 0.001). Placebo group had worsening of symptoms (p < 0.005) and QoL (p < 0.001). The use of rescue medications was overlapping in the two groups. The intergroup analysis showed that probiotic mixture was significantly superior than placebo for all parameters. CONCLUSIONS: The current study demonstrated that a Bifidobacteria mixture was able of significantly improving AR symptoms and QoL in children with pollen-induced AR and intermittent asthma. Be well! JP

  5. JP Says:

    Updated 05/23/17:


    Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Mar;105(3):758-767.

    Probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2) improve rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life in individuals with seasonal allergies: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial.

    Background: Rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life is often reduced during seasonal allergies. The Mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (MRQLQ) is a validated tool used to measure quality of life in people experiencing allergies (0 = not troubled to 6 = extremely troubled). Probiotics may improve quality of life during allergy season by increasing the percentage of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and inducing tolerance.Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether consuming Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and B. longum MM-2 compared with placebo would result in beneficial effects on MRQLQ scores throughout allergy season in individuals who typically experience seasonal allergies. Secondary outcomes included changes in immune markers as part of a potential mechanism for changes in MRQLQ scores.Design: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel, randomized clinical trial, 173 participants (mean ± SEM: age 27 ± 1 y) who self-identified as having seasonal allergies received either a probiotic (2 capsules/d, 1.5 billion colony-forming units/capsule) or placebo during spring allergy season for 8 wk. MRQLQ scores were collected weekly throughout the study. Fasting blood samples were taken from a subgroup (placebo, n = 37; probiotic, n = 35) at baseline and week 6 (predicted peak of pollen) to determine serum immunoglobulin (Ig) E concentrations and Treg percentages.Results: The probiotic group reported an improvement in the MRQLQ global score from baseline to pollen peak (-0.68 ± 0.13) when compared with the placebo group (-0.19 ± 0.14; P = 0.0092). Both serum total IgE and the percentage of Tregs increased from baseline to week 6, but changes were not different between groups.Conclusions: This combination probiotic improved rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life during allergy season for healthy individuals with self-reported seasonal allergies; however, the associated mechanism is still unclear.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 08/18/18:


    Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2018 Aug 13.

    Effects of aerobic exercise and vitamin C supplementation on rhinitis symptoms in allergic rhinitis patients.

    INTRODUCTION: Exercise training and vitamin C supplementation have both been recommended as an effective adjuvant treatment in the management of symptoms in patients with many diseases. However, its effects on rhinitis symptoms remain unclear. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of exercise training alone, and in combination with vitamin C supplementation, on rhinitis symptoms in allergic rhinitis patients.

    METHODS: Twenty-seven rhinitis patients were randomized into 3 groups: control (CON; n = 8), exercise (EX; n = 9), and exercise combined with vitamin C (EX + Vit.C; n = 10). The exercise training protocol consisted of walking and/or running on a treadmill at 65-70% heart rate reserve for 30 min per session, 3 times per week for 8 weeks. The EX + Vit.C group ingested 2,000 mg vitamin C per day.

    RESULTS: After 8 weeks, both EX and EX + Vit.C groups increased peak aerobic capacity and peak nasal inspiratory flow (PNIF) and exhibited significantly decreased rhinitis symptoms, nasal blood flow (NBF) and malondialdehylde levels compared to pre-test. Rhinitis symptoms and NBF after nasal challenge with house dust mite decreased significantly in the EX and EX + Vit.C groups. The EX and EX + Vit.C groups had significantly lower nasal secretion interleukin (IL)-4, but higher nasal secretion IL-2 levels, than the CON group.

    CONCLUSIONS: This study clearly confirms that aerobic exercise training significantly improved clinical of allergic rhinitis and cytokine profiles. Nonetheless, with the limited power of small sample size, whether adding vitamin C is any beneficial is not shown. A larger randomized controlled trial is thus warranted.

    Be well!


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