Probiotics vs. Allergies

We always see on  TV so many adds related to Probiotics, they are good for this and that and so on, it has been proven that they helped in the treatment  of digestive diseases, lowering cholesterol  but how can effective they can be with allergies?  Some of the people who have taken them say yes , they are good , some say… no way!!!!

First of all we need to know the meaning of probiotics….

According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and  World Health Organization (WHO) defined probiotics as “live microorganisms when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health effect on the host”. In other words, probiotics are microorganisms that are really beneficial to health when they are ingested.

The most popular of them are the strains from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium from the lactic bacteria and other genera such as Streptococcus, Leuconostoc and Enterococcus .

Microscope image of Lactobacillus acidophilus.                                                               Image Credit: Bob Blaylock [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

So… what’s the deal with allergies?

There are various studies linked to the use of probiotics to relieve the symptoms of allergic reactions: dermatitis , eczema , rhinitis, asthma and others.  Some of them gave positive results, and other were really disappointing.


Probiotics vs. Dermatitis a.k.a. Eczema

Clinical trials related to the treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD) in children with positive outcomes are related with lactobacilli .  The first of these studies was concerned in the decrease of Scoring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index in children with AD during a treatment with  probiotic fortified formula during a month.

Another study with babies  who  received strains of Lactobacillus GG during a four months reduced their SCORAD levels.

Another clinical trial  was  done with the prenatal and post natal administration of Lactobacillus rhamnousus, it produced a protective barrier against AD in young children.

The consumption of supplemented formula with  Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-12 reduced the symptoms of eczema in children.


Probiotics vs. Rhinitis and Asthma

Image Credit: mcfarlandmo [CC BY-G 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
Studies have shown that the administration of L.casei reduced allergic rhinitis  in young children. However, another study with the oral administration of Lactobacillus GG strains to people who had allergic episodes during the spring didn’t cause any kind of effect.

Another research related with the combined consumption of fermented milk with Lactobacillus casei showed that it was really good in patients with allergic rhinitis but it didn’t work for asthmatics.

Apparently, there is not enough evidence that probiotics could be effective in the treatment of asthma  , there is still more work to be done with that type of condition and the consumption of these little guys.  Maybe it is the wrong strain, the wrong combination, or just probiotics are not effective for asthma.

In the other hand….

Well, these are not allergic reactions but has been proven that these guys work in the following conditions:

  1. Crohn’s disease
  2. Vaginitis
  3. Ulcerative colitis
  4. antibiotic-related diarrhea
  5. infectious diarrhea (prevention)



Probiotics are good for some conditions as I have said before, and they don’t work for the relieve of another ones.  That’s why before you taking this guys you might ask for more info to your GP or have a little bit of research before you buy them at the chemist.

What was your experience with them?


For further information:

Azevedo, M, Innocentin, S, Dorella, F, Rocha, C, Mariat, D, Pontes, D, Miyoshi, A, Azevedo, V, Langella, P, & Chatel, J 2013, ‘Immunotherapy of allergic diseases using probiotics or recombinant probiotics’, Journal Of Applied Microbiology, 115, 2, pp. 319-333.

Baquerizo, K, Yim, E, & Keri, J 2014, ‘Probiotics and prebiotics in dermatology’, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 4, p. 814.

Bermudez-Brito, M, Plaza-Diaz, J, Munoz-Quezada, S, Gomez-Llorente, C, & Gil, A 2012, ‘Probiotic mechanisms of action’, Annals Of Nutrition And Metabolism, 61, 2, pp. 160-174.

Butel, M 2014, ‘Probiotics, gut microbiota and health’, Médecine Et Maladies Infectieuses, 44, 1, pp. 1-8.

Elazab, N, Mendy, A, Gasana, J, Vieira, E, Quizon, A, & Forno, E 2013, ‘Probiotic administration in early life, atopy, and asthma: a meta-analysis of clinical trials’, Pediatrics, 3, p. 666