As part of a clinical development programme, the researchers investigated whether a multispecies-probiotic formulation, which has been shown in previous research to reduce eczema in children, could benefit hayfever patents as well.
They gave 44 adults aged 18-65 with moderate to severe hay fever, the probiotic twice a day for a period of eight weeks. The patients were asked to report hayfever symptoms, medication use, and rated their quality of life.
The probiotic supplement contained Winclove’s Ecologic AllergyCare and Nutrimune’s Probiotik Pur.
“At the end of the study, 63% of the participants taking the probiotic reported a significantly improved quality of life,” said research leader Dr Nic West from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland.
“In addition, the patients experienced less severe hayfever symptoms and required less medication.”
The paper, published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, stated the study was based on a Simon Two-Stage Design to account for seasonal variation in symptoms.
Under this design, more than 10 patients are required to exhibit an improvement in quality-of-life scores to determine that there was sufficient activity for the supplement to be considered effective
Hayfever is thought to affect between 10% to 30% of the population worldwide, and is increasingly prevalent.
“We are now investigating whether the probiotic formulation helps regulate the immune system, which in turn increases tolerance to hayfever causing agents,” added Dr West.
“We have already seen in various studies that probiotics can have benefits in regards to immune health as well as gut and respiratory. With these latest results relating to hayfever, although this is not seen as a ‘cure all’ it is great to see the reduction in symptoms alongside the absence of any adverse side effects.”
The paper concluded that this pilot study supports further clinical development of probiotics for allergic rhinitis.
“The supplement was largely well tolerated by participants at the dose provided,” it states.
“The proportion of participants exhibiting improvement in quality-of-life metrics warrants continued investigation in the form of a phase III placebo-controlled trial.”