Hope for hay fever patients

«These results are very interesting,» said Linda Thomas, head of science at Yakult Italy, who provided the drinks and some funding. «We are delighted that independent scientists found evidence of this biological activity. The project was part of ongoing research on the benefits of our probiotic strain. The Institute of Food Research is well positioned to do this kind of basic research, because it is the only one with the right combination of experience in the field of microbiology, immunology, flow cytometry, and research on human nutrition. «Flow cytometry allows rapid analysis of thousands of single cells and can detect rare events. It brings the power of physics to bear on important biological issues, using laser light to measure the characteristics of thousands of individual cells suspended in a fluid stream.

Blood samples were taken before the pollen season, then again when it was at its peak (June), and four weeks after the end of the season. There were no significant differences in levels of IgE in the blood between the two groups at baseline, but levels of IgE were lower in the probiotic group both in high season and in subsequent years.

Yakult (http://www.yakult.co.uk/) was developed in 1935 by Dr Shirota at Kyoto University in Japan. Yakult has almost 75 years in bacteriological research and has been recognized worldwide for the use of bacteria in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The search continues for Yakult Central Institute in Japan, and the company also works closely with scientific and medical communities to better understand the role of bacteria in health. Today Yakult is consumed by 25 million people in 31 countries and territories around the world. Source: Zoe Dunford

Notes: The Complete Reference: Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 2008. oral administration of Lactobacillus casei Shirota modified allergen-induced immune response in allergic rhinitis. Kamal Ivory, Stephen J. Chambers, Carmen Pin, Elena Prieto, Juan L. Arques, Claudio Nicoletti

IgE stimulates the release of histamine to flush out the spores, which irritates the airways swell and produce them the symptoms of hay fever.

But I’m not recommending that sufferers rush to the supermarket shelves for now. The observed changes may not have an immediate effect on symptoms.

At the same time, the IgG antibody levels were higher, a type of antibody that, unlike IgE seems to play a protective role against allergic reactions.

The observed changes may also reduce the severity of symptoms, but clinical symptoms were not measured in this study. It ‘s a matter of research.

In this study, volunteers with a history of seasonal hay fever drank a glass of milk a day, with or without live bacteria over 5 months. The double-blind study versus placebo-controlled, so neither the volunteers nor the scientists knew who had been assigned the probiotic drinks. probiotic drinks contained Lactobacillus casei, a bacterial species that has been widely studied for its health-promoting properties.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or fungal spores, most commonly grass pollen. The immune system mistakes the spores for harmful invaders and produces excessive amounts of IgE antibodies bind to them and fight them.

Funding was provided through grants from Yakult and IFR BBSRC core strategic.

«The probiotic strain we tested changed the way in which the body’s immune cells respond to grass pollen, restoring a more balanced immune response», says Dr Kamal Ivory, a senior member of the group.

Professor Nicoletti’s group intend to perform a similar study in the near future to see whether the immunological changes translate into a real reduction of clinical symptoms of hay fever. They would also examine the mechanisms involved.

With the peak grass pollen season approach, scientists can reveal that a daily dose of probiotics can change the immune status of people with hay fever.

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Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
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«This was a pilot study based on small numbers of patients, but we were fascinated to discover a response,» said research leader Professor Claudio Nicoletti. «The probiotic significantly reduced the production of molecules associated with allergy.»

The mission of the Institute of Food Research (http://www.ifr.ac.uk/) is to undertake international quality scientific research on nutrition and human health and to work in partnership with others to provide scientific basis for consumers, policy makers, the food industry and academia. This is a private limited company with charitable status, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/).

In the first study of its kind in humans, scientists at the Institute of Food Research found that probiotic bacteria in a glass a day can alter the immune response to grass pollen, a common cause of hay fever hay fever season.

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