Dr. Brian Lum
What Are The Best Probiotics For Allergy Symptoms?
Millions of allergy sufferers have resigned themselves to discomfort every allergy season.
Since they are reacting to their environment, they feel that there is nothing more to do but take antihistamines.
But your body's response to allergies is not fixed - it is determined by how healthy you are, and how diverse and strong your microbiome is.
It is possible to significantly reduce, and even eliminate, allergy symptoms by treating underlying conditions (like an untreated infection), by strengthening your gut health and restoring your microbiome with the right probiotics.
Gut Health, Histamine & Probiotics
Having robust gut health isn't just about taking the right probiotic.
There is a reason that allergy symptoms and digestive symptoms are often intertwined, and thats histamine.
When histamine and poor gut health combine they can not only cause increased allergy symptoms but digestive problems like bloating, cramping, trouble digesting food, and acid reflux.
Excess histamine can even play a role in autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease and arthritis.
Addressing the root cause will be key in not only reducing (or eliminating) your seasonal allergies, but will help you feel better overall.
Histamine Can Cause Digestive Symptoms
When allergy season hits every year, many of us have typical allergy symptoms.
These symptoms can range from headaches and sneezing to less recognized symptoms like digestive problems and dizziness.
itchy and watery eyes
All of these symptoms can be caused by excess histamine in the body.
How Allergies Cause Histamine
Histamine is released when a perceived threat or foreign substance is detected entering the body.
These foreign substances can be things like dust, pollen, and foods we eat every day.
When a foreign substance is detected, mast cells release histamine to tell your body to respond to the threat.
In response to histamine release, surrounding blood vessels dilate, increasing white blood cells and blood plasma proteins in that area.
Immune system proteins (antibodies) bind with the invading foreign substance (antigens).
When allergies cause severe symptoms, it can be a consequence of your immune system overreacting to the perceived foreign invader.
This overreaction could be due to many factors but in the case of seasonal allergies, it is usually because the body can't keep up with the number of perceived threats flooding your system.
Chronic Illness And Histamine
Not only can symptoms like bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhea be caused by histamine - but even chronic illnesses can have a strong histamine component to them.
Chronic Conditions With A Histamine Component
Those who suffer from seasonal allergies have higher than normal histamine levels.
In a majority of these cases these elevated histamine levels come from either a digestive disorder or from a digestive microbial imbalance.
If you have been diagnosed with IBS, Crohn's disease ulcerative colitis or acid reflux then a key to improving your allergy symptoms (as well as your other symptoms) is to improve your digestive health.
Improving your digestive health lowers your histamine levels can significantly decrease, or eliminate entirely, your allergy symptoms.
A Diverse Microbiome For Overall Health
Your microbiome extends throughout your body (even up into your sinuses and in your ears) and is incredibly diverse.
Just eating differently for a few weeks can fundamentally change the makeup of our microbiome
Think of it as a rainforest full of thousands of different species all comprising a delicate ecosystem. If you get an infection, it is as if an invasive species is now among your ecosystem.
When we take antibiotics, you cut down the entire rainforest - this happens each time you take a course of antibiotics.
Many of my patients have taken 2-50 courses of antibiotics throughout their lives, this is partly why allergies (environmental, seasonal and dietary) are so rampant.
The prevailing advice after a course of antibiotics is to take a probiotic - often with only one or two strains of bacteria.
Just as replanting two kinds of trees where there once was a rainforest is inadequate, throwing a few seeds down won't do much to replenish what you had.
This is why many people have symptoms like fatigue, congestion, gastrointestinal problem and decreased immunity after extensive antibiotic use.
Other factors, like pesticide exposure or a c-section birth can negatively impact our microbiome diversity.
3 Steps To Improve Allergy Symptoms
Step 1: Rule Out Other Complications
Step 2: Heal Microbiome
Step 3: Reduce Histamine
Step 1: Rule Out Other Complications
If your allergy symptoms are severe, you have an chronic condition (like an autoimmune condition, or chronic pain) or you have other symptoms unrelated to allergies, functional medicine testing can help you determine if there is a larger underlying cause for all of your symptoms.
A parasite or a food sensitivity could be the reason behind your fatigue, headaches and severe allergies.
Low stomach acid and a fungal overgrowth could be the cause for your diarrhea, anxiety and sleeplessness.
Rather than waste money and time on a piecemeal approach, functional medicine testing is designed to pick up things that are frequently missed even if you always go to your annual checkup.
Functional medicine testing is unlike what you would get at your local hospital.
Instead of checking for one marker, or just checking to confirm a diagnosis, we check things like gut permeability and neurotransmitter function.
Investigating these will not only give us an overall picture of your health, but it can solve many long-term mysteries of unexplained symptoms, fatigue or multiple chronic conditions.
Functional medicine is also great for lowering your risk of chronic disease. I offer online consultations and in person functional medicine appointments.
Read more about functional medicine
Step 2: Heal Microbiome
These suggestions are assuming you do not have any circumstances that need to be addressed first (like those listed above).
After these have been ruled out by me or another functional medicine doctor, we can proceed to adding things to your digestive tract that will strengthen strains that will be beneficial for reducing allergy symptoms.
Best Strains Of Probiotics For Allergies
Just as important as building up your microbiome and treating any underlying infection is to not take anything that will make it harder for your body to deal with seasonal allergies.
The list below can be problematic for those with seasonal allergies as they either produce histamine themselves or degrade histamine.
Worst Strains Of Probiotics Or Infections For Allergies
Candida (not a probiotic but a problematic fungal infection)
Citrobacter (problematic bacterial gut infection)
C. perfringens (bacterial infection)
E. coli (naturally occuring in the gut - overgrowth can contribute to allergy and gut dysfunction symptoms)
H. pylori (bacterial infection, commonly contributes to acid reflux and a wide range of digestive symptoms)
3. Reduce Histamine
Reducing your histamine levels while you are repairing your microbiome would go a long way to helping your allergy symptoms.
One of the big ways to do this would be to not get exposed to as many environmental allergens and to alter your diet.
How To Reduce Your Exposure To Histamine
Pollen counts are the highest in the early morning to midday, if you can, delay your outdoor activities until later in the day.
Invest in an air filter for your home (or at least your bedroom)
Avoid histamine-rich foods (like dairy, smoked meats and avocados)
Probiotics To Reduce Histmine (Histamine Degraders)
If you are histamine intolerant, that is a condition that can be helped significantly by functional medicine testing and treatment as most causes of histamine intolerance are treatable.
Read more about histamine intolerance
Functional Medicine For Allergy Symptoms
Functional medicine is best suited to problems that are overlooked by conventional medicine.
Rather than prescribe an antihistamine or a pharmaceutical as the first step, we investigate why you are having these symptoms and in most cases, we can relieve symptoms naturally.
I offer online and in-person functional medicine appointments. During your hour-long new patient appointment we go over your entire medical history, family history, medical history, previous testing and current symptoms and goals. Based on what we find, I can order the specific testing to confirm your diagnosis and evaluate your physiology from a holistic perspective. Most of the underlying problems I find relating to severe seasonal allergy symptoms can be treated naturally and patients start to see symptom relief within weeks.
I offer Telehealth services including online functional medicine consultations and in-person functional medicine and soft tissue appointments. I personalize treatment and even work with your primary care physician or order testing if you are out of state or outside of the country. If you would like to speak with me directly you can schedule a Free 15 Minute Consultation here or call my office directly at 913-728-5291.
If you think that you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information. Nor should you ever delay seeking medical advice or treatment due to the information contained on this Website.