Probiotics can 'relieve sneezing and itchy eyes' suggests new study

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Image: Could a pot of yoghurt help your hay fever?

Photo: Seven

Bowl full of berry goodness

Unless you’ve been swaddled in cotton wool for the last few weeks (or don't count yourself as a sufferer, you lucky so-and-so), you’ll know that hay fever season has well and truly arrived.


If you’re struggling with sneezing and itchy eyes, the answer could be hiding in your yogurt pot. 


According to new research from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, probiotics (the friendly bacteria found in some yogurts) could help ease symptoms.


Doctors reviewed 23 studies involving more than 1,900 people and found that those who had consumed probiotics reported significantly reduced symptoms of hay fever compared with people who had consumed a placebo.


Writing in the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology journal, the study's authors said, “The current study suggests that probiotics have the potential to alter disease severity, symptoms and quality of life in patients with allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

“Positive outcomes were reported in a majority of studies with no significant adverse effects.

“Much about the role of probiotics in the human response remains poorly understood and additional translational studies will likely be needed to clarify this in the future.”


According to the charity Allergy UK, nearly 18 million people in the UK now suffer from hay fever and this latest research supports the growing school of thought that allergies may be cause by a lack of bacteria in the gut.


While scientists stopped short of recommending probiotics as a standalone treatment they said that they were looking into how these findings could be translated into future treatments.


In the meantime, we might grab a spoon just in case – if we can find one through our pink, hay fever-ravaged eyelids that is.