• Natural and Alternative Treatment Study Report: Probiotics for Hay Fever and Asthma in Children

    Juvenile asthma image Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria, so-called because they promote health rather than harm it. The most famous probiotic is Lactobacillus acidophilus , used in making yogurt. There are numerous other probiotics as well.
    Probiotics are most often used to restore the normal intestinal balance of bacteria when it has been altered by use of antibiotics. Bacteria are constantly at war with one another; if friendly bacteria can be encouraged to grow, they will in turn inhibit or destroy unhelpful bacteria, which might otherwise cause diarrhea or other problems. For this reason, probiotics have been extensively studied for the treatment of intestinal disorders. However, they have shown promise for other conditions as well. For example, the ecology of microorganisms in the digestive tract can influence the function of the immune system, and there is some evidence that deliberate colonization of the digestive tract by certain bacteria might prove beneficial for disorders related to the immune system.
    Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and allergic asthma are a category of immune disorder for which probiotics have been advocated. To test the hypothesis that probiotics can help these conditions, Italian researchers conducted a study that was published in 2007 in Pediatric Research . This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial enrolled 187 children aged 2-5 years old. All the participants in this trial suffered from allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, or both. Over the one-year study period, participants were given either ordinary milk or milk enriched with the probiotics Lactobacillus casei , Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophilus . The results showed that use of the probiotic-enriched milk significantly reduced the severity of hay fever, but did not significantly effect the severity of asthma. (Use of the probiotic mixture also reduced episodes of diarrhea, but this was not a new finding.)
    Note that the word “significantly” as used above refers to statistical significance. This means that the benefits seen were unlikely to be due to chance. It does not mean that these benefits were particularly marked. In fact, probiotics only very slightly reduced hay fever symptoms.
    For more information, see the full articles on hay fever , asthma , and probiotics .


    Giovannini M, Agostoni C, Riva E, et al. A randomized prospective double-blind controlled trial on effects of long-term consumption of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei in preschool children with allergic asthma and/or rhinitis. Pediatr Res . 2007 Jun 25 [Epub ahead of print].

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.