Got (good) bugs?
The right probiotics may help your hay fever.

There's nothing quite like spring and the giddy feeling that accompanies the season of new life in the plant and animal kingdoms. But if you're an allergy sufferer, spring fever may have a whole different meaning. The pollen and grasses can turn the brightest, sweetest of days into a sneezy, drippy, itchy mess. Good bugs may help to reduce seasonal-allergy symptoms, suggests a small clinical study.

We're not talking about ants or crickets outside (speaking of spring), but about certain beneficial bacteria that live inside your digestive system. Researchers divided a group of allergy sufferers, and half took a probiotic supplement of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria (brand name Kyo-Dophilus) while the other half took a placebo. Lo and behold, those who took the probiotic supplement during hay fever season reported having fewer symptoms. The digestive tract houses part of the immune system, and researchers suspect that a surge in those particular bacteria increase the body's percentage of regulatory T-cells, which helps to keep symptoms in check. (The study focused on people with mild symptoms only.) If allergies tend to sideline you this time of year, talk with your physician about trying probiotics. You may get to enjoy that "spring fever" after all.


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