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3 Ways Seasonal Allergies and Digestive Health are Connected

The Cabinet — 03.10.22
by Rebecca Moragne


1. Histamine response can cause gas + bloating.

Are you familiar with sneezing, sinus congestion, and a runny nose? The culprit to those symptoms is histamine. Histamine is a chemical released by your immune system in response to a potential allergen. When histamine is released in the gastrointestinal tract, the gut responds. These symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. For example, individuals with an allergy to birch pollen often experience GI symptoms. A clinical study in 2014 looked at the mucosa of their GI tracts and found an increased amount of white blood cells. Their intestines were inflamed, and understandably, the individuals felt that (1). 

2. High gut diversity = less severe seasonal allergies.

Since 70% of your immune system lives in your gut, your gut plays a role in any response to a seasonal allergen. In seasonal allergies, a body mounts an immune response to pollen, grass, and/or mold. Once spring arrives, you might be hit with a running nose and sneezing attack while a friend may be completely unfazed. This difference may be due to the gut. The gut microbiome in those who experience seasonal allergies differs from those who do not.

Specifically, the gut diversity is higher in those who do not experience seasonal allergies. Greater gut diversity is typically related to higher health. Think about the strength that diversity can provide - if you have a team with a lot of different skills, you will likely be able to respond to a variety of threats! 

Wondering how to diversify your gut bacteria? Try adding probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut, to your diet.

3. Probiotics can help your gut and your allergies!

Through probiotics, you can introduce bacteria into your gut to help improve gut diversity. And this improvement can help protect your body from seasonal allergies. The research between probiotics and seasonal allergies is only just emerging because as you may know from the overwhelming amount of probiotics often sold in a store, there is quite a lot of variety! Probiotics play an important role in the prevention and as a therapy for seasonal allergies, however, the benefit depends on many factors. And these factors include the type of probiotic, route of administration, dosing, and others (2).

One randomized controlled trial in 2011 administered either a probiotic or a placebo to adult volunteers. The probiotic was in the form of fermented milk. After four weeks of administration, the researchers measured each participant’s nasal reaction to a grass pollen. The study found that subjects that received the probiotic had lower nasal congestion in comparison to the placebo. This response was strengthened by a reduction in systemic immune markers including IL-5 and serum IgG. Therefore, the probiotic acted as an effective therapy against a seasonal allergy for these participants (3)!


Sources

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4048541/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3784923/
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21395878/

 

 Note: This information is for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your physician before treating any disorder.

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