By Dr. Ken Redcross, M.D., author, “Bond: The 4 Cornerstones of a Lasting and Caring Relationship with Your Doctor”
Allergy sufferers will try just about anything to reduce the discomforts associated with the change of the seasons from winter to spring and summer. One often-overlooked solution is to address the health of the microbiome, or gut health, to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. In fact, according to a study from the National Institutes of Health, a gut microbiota that lacks diversity is associated with all variations of allergies, especially seasonal allergies.
Healthy Gut = Healthy Immune System
The gut, or your microbiome, is responsible for clearing toxins while protecting against bad bacteria and viruses that could cause infection. Without a healthy microbiome the immune system is compromised. Most people do not realize that 70% of your immune system is actually positioned in your gut. So having a healthy gut is critical to anyone facing health challenges like allergies.
There are many ways that we can disrupt the balance and diversity of our microbiomes, including eating a diet that lacks fiber and is loaded with refined sugar and chemical additives. Too much alcohol is dangerous for the gut as well as itcan inhibit the production of digestive enzymes and juices, meaning it becomes more difficult for your body to process, digest, and absorb nutrients from your food. Habitual alcohol consumption may even result in bacterial overgrowth and destruction of the overall composition of the gut microbiome. Medications we take routinely without hesitation can also cause a gut disruption.
Antibiotics have long been known as microbiome disruptors, but a recent study suggests that many non-antibiotic drugs can also negatively affect the microbiome, including antihistamines, which include commonly used drugs such as: loratadine (Claritin), terfenadine, clemizole, astemizole.
“The Friendly Trio” Fights Allergy Symptoms
Limiting the amount of allergy drugs to address short-term symptoms, could help improve allergies in the long-run. Powering up the immune system using the right strains of probiotics, by taking a specific probiotic supplement, could also make a difference.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, conducted by the University of Florida, and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 200+ participants in their mid-20s, who self-identified as having seasonal allergies took Kyo-Dophilus probiotics to determine whether consuming probiotic these three probiotic strains: Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and B. longum MM-2, compared with placebo, would result in beneficial effects on rhinoconjunctivitis (of which symptoms include: nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing and red eyes) during allergy season. After eight weeks, the study concluded that this specific combination of probiotic strains, also known as “The Friendly Trio” improved rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life during allergy season for healthy individuals with self-reported seasonal allergies. Further studies on “The Friendly Trio” show it also supports improved digestion and can restore a healthy microbiome in aging adults.
Picking a Probiotic That’s Best for You
When selecting a probiotic supplement, allergy sufferers should look for one that has “The Friendly Trio” written on the label so you know that you are getting the beneficial strains that can help fight against allergies. Finding a probiotic that contains prebiotics can be beneficial too. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that promote the proliferation of your good gut bacteria. Prebiotic fibers also improve your gut’s immune response. Certain combinations of foods can provide these benefits too, such as bananas, sauerkraut, greens, kimchi, kefir and yogurt, but it can be difficult and inconvenient to incorporate significant amounts of these foods into a daily diet in order to gain specific gut health benefits.
Probiotics and prebiotic supplement combos are known as synbiotics.Incorporating a comprehensive synbiotic into your daily supplement routine, like Kyo-Dophilus Pro+ Synbiotic is the best way to supercharge your gut and immune health, while minimizing allergy discomforts. Kyo-Dophilus Pro+ Synbiotic contains 20 billion CFU of a diverse community of nine beneficial bacteria species, including “The Friendly Trio” and a proprietary a-gluco-oligosaccharide prebiotic designed to support bacterial diversity for a healthier gut. Pro+ Synbiotic has six additional probiotics with targeted benefits including: B. longum BB536, which has been shown to dampen allergy symptoms, boost innate immunity, and relieve occasional digestive discomfort; B. breve M-16-V, another probiotic that guards against seasonal allergies as well as atopic dermatitis; plus B. infantis, L. rhamnosus, and B. lactis, which support gastrointestinal health by harmonizing gut microbiota, regulating bowel frequency and alleviating bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Allergies should not get in the way of having an active lifestyle. Exercise can improve the immune system and studies show that active people have healthier, more diverse microbiomes. Consistent exercise also helps ease stress that can also disrupt a healthy gut. Being sedentary leads to stagnant blood flow because your heart is pumping at your resting heart rate all the time. When you start moving, your blood flow speeds up causing allergens to move through your bloodstream quicker and more efficiently, decreasing inflammation and irritation. Even some light exercises during your worst attacks could be beneficial because of this reason.
Combining a well-researched synbiotic probiotic/prebiotic combo supplement, with a daily exercise routine will strengthen your overall health and help your allergies too. More resources about the power of probiotics and how they help with allergies can be found at www.probiotics.com where I serve on a probiotic scientific advisory council and can answer more questions submitted on the Ask The Experts page.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Ken Redcross, MD, is author of, “Bond: The 4 Cornerstones of a Lasting and Caring Relationship with Your Doctor,” (2018) and founder of Redcross Concierge, a personalized medical practice designed to enhance the patient-doctor relationship while providing convenient access to a full spectrum of healthcare services and holistic and wellness counseling. As one of the first full-service concierge, personalized medical practices in the United States, Redcross’ patient portfolio includes C-level business executives, athletes and professionals in the entertainment industry, as well as individuals from all walks and stages of life including college students, young professionals, busy parents and retirees. His focus on developing the patient-doctor bond is a unique characteristic of his concierge services that allows for a more strategic and customized approach to each patient’s healthcare plan. Redcross earned his medical degree from the prestigious Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, specializing in internal medicine. During his training, he participated in fellowships in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, to fulfill his passion in serving the underserved while enhancing his medical fluency in Spanish. After completing his residency, Redcross co-founded and served as president of Medi-Stop, an urgent care, walk-in clinic in California, treating minor medical ailments. He is based in New York, but travels across the country as his concierge practice requires. Redcross is an advisor for www.Probiotics.com and is on the scientific advisory council for Organic & Natural Health Association.