by Andrew Chapple

Norwich BioScience Institutes
November 26, 2013
from Eurekalert Website




Researchers have a nose for how probiotics could affect hay fever


A study has shown that a daily probiotic drink changed how cells lining the nasal passages of hay fever sufferers reacted to a single out-of-season challenge.


However, it did not lead to significant changes in hay fever symptoms, although this challenge test may not have accurately represented natural allergen exposure.


This is pollen from a dandelion.


Our immune system must distinguish between "friends" that can be beneficial to our health and "foes" that can have harmful effects.


There is now a growing body of evidence that the gut microbiota, the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut, influences that recognition. When it fails an immune response occurs.


This is the case with hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, when the immune system reacts to pollen or fungal spores.

Previously, a research team at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) found that taking a drink containing the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus casei changed how our immune system responds to grass pollen, measured through changes in molecules produced by the immune system.

A new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE (Oral Delivery of a Probiotic Induced Changes at the Nasal Mucosa of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis Subjects after Local Allergen Challenge - A Randomised Clinical Trial), shows for the first time how these probiotics can interact with cells in our gut to produce systematic changes in cells lining our nasal cavity.

Funded by Yakult and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), clinicians and scientists at IFR and the University of East Anglia (UEA) on the Norwich Research Park gave 60 hay fever sufferers daily drinks for 16 weeks, outside of the hay fever season. One group was given a drink containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota, and the other group received very similar drinks without the probiotic.


The study was double-blinded and placebo controlled, so neither the volunteers nor the scientists knew which group was receiving the probiotic.


Samples were taken from the volunteers' nasal cavities and blood, both before and after being challenged with pollen to trigger their allergy. This was then repeated at the end of the 16-week intervention. Clinical measurements of the symptoms of hay fever were also recorded.

Volunteers who received the probiotic drink saw changes in allergic inflammation in their nasal lining, as well as changes in their blood, that are associated with immune responses. This is strong evidence of how the gut microbiota can influence cells of the gut lining, and have a systematic influence on our bodies and distant cells, such as those lining our nasal passages.


But despite this, the probiotic had no detectable effect on the symptoms of hay fever.

Hay fever is a complicated condition to assess, and mimic in a clinical setting. The researchers used a single allergy challenge, applied to the volunteers' nasal passage, to provide a standard, reproducible test to help ensure all the subsequent results are comparable.


In the real world hay fever is usually triggered by longer term exposure to the allergen, variable in strength and timing over a period of days or weeks.


The IFR researchers are now exploring the possibility of carrying out a seasonal study to investigate whether the changes in the nasal mucosa seen in this single challenge study relate to changes in hay fever symptoms triggered by a more realistic natural exposure to pollen.













Simplifying Probiotics

-   A Path to Improving Your Gut Health   -
by Anna Hunt
Staff Writer

October 2, 2013
from WakingTimes Website




Billions of beneficial bacteria, commonly referred to as probiotics, live in the human body.


These bacteria are part of what keeps the body in balance in order to maintain overall good health. They reside in the human digestive system, specifically the intestinal tract also referred to as the gut, (as well as in the mouth, on the skin, in the colon, etc), and are integral to gastrointestinal functions.


Over recent years, scientists are starting to discover that these microorganisms also play a role in immunological, metabolic, and neurological diseases.





Common Types of Probiotics


The best known of the probiotics are the Lactobacilli.


There are a number of Lactobacilli species that are especially effective in creating an overall balance of the various microorganisms in the gut:

  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus is found in naturally fermented foods and is also used by the dairy industry to produce yogurt.


  • Lactobacillus acidophilus is naturally-occurring in the human gastrointestinal tract. Certain strains are often included in probiotic supplements because they are believed to be able to survive gastrointestinal transit, being resistant to bile, low pH, and digestive enzymes.


  • Other common Lactobacilli species include brevis, casei and sporogenes.

Other common probiotics include:

  • Bifidobacteria, which are one of the major genera of probiotics found in the gastrointestinal tract of mammals, including humans. Various species are often used in the food industry.


  • Streptococci, which are often known for being the main culprit of strep throat and pink eye, although there are many non-pathogenic species that are part of the human microbiome. Streptococci are used in the production of Swiss cheese, reduced-fat cheese and yogurt.


  • Bacilli, which are found in soils and in certain fermented foods, as for example kimchi. Certain species of Bacilli, such as Bacillus pumilus, are capable of degrading bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, which pollutes human bodies due to plastics overuse.




Why are Probiotics Important?


Just as billions of beneficial bacteria can live in the body, the gut is also filled with harmful bacteria.


The body needs probiotics to counteract these harmful bacteria in order to enable the production of vitamins and enzymes essential for healthy body function and prevent build-up of carcinogenic toxins.


Artificial food additives, GMOs in our foods, chlorinated and fluoridated water, and use of antibiotics are all detrimental to healthy gut flora.



Gut Flora Accounts for up to 80% of our Immunity

More Probiotics, Less Antibiotics

At a vaccine seminar, Dr. Michael Geta was part of a four member panel answering questions from the audience.


One audience member asked why infants are getting vaccinated before the age of one when their immune systems aren’t developed enough for vaccine immune responses.

The person on the panel to whom it was addressed, a Ph.D vaccine advocate, surprised Geta when she told the questionnaire his understanding was accurate. She explained that early scheduling was a training exercise to start parents vaccinating sooner since they might forget after the child reached one year.

The Ph.D, whose name was withheld by her request, went on to explain how a county nurse had asked her to encourage parents to get their kids vaccinated after one year of age because the ones they got before then were worthless.


The Ph.D responded to that nurse with “Yeah, I know.”


Audio clip:




Dr. Geta explains:

‘Infants in their first year mostly depend on generalized, non-specific immunity, including (hopefully) immunoglobulins from breast milk, to protect their young bodies from infection.


They do not produce antibodies of their own until about age one.’

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book (GAPS book) and creator of the GAPS diet goes further.


She is a UK pediatrician who successfully treats autistic and other mentally and physically dysfunctional children by nutritionally restoring gut flora. She learned how by treating her own son’s autism.

She agrees that mother’s breast milk is crucial. But not all mothers breast feed, and many who do may have other problems that hamper the milk’s protection. According to Dr. McBride, the problems begin with the mother’s intestinal flora.

The mother passes on her gut flora to her newborn. So the mother’s gut flora strength and balance is critical. Most mothers who were not breast fed initially and grew up on standard American diets (SAD) while receiving vaccinations and antibiotics have compromised gut flora.

Adequate probiotic and balanced gut flora accounts for up to 80% of our immunity.


As part of parental planning, it makes sense to maintain a good diet, take in probiotic foods and/or supplements, avoid antibiotics and vaccinations, then breast feed the child for at least a year. Interestingly, a recent report says that breastfeeding could save 830,000 lives each year.

Vaccinations and antibiotics given to newborns and older children only puts them at risk for debilitating long term neurological reactions, among other issues.


If they escape without the obvious immediate adverse reactions, their long term immunity is often heavily impaired.





Considering that many people follow a Western diet high in processed foods, starches and meats, it is easy for their gut to become unbalanced.


Scientists believe that lack of balance of good and bad bacteria can lead to cancer, hypertension and many other types of diseases. Furthermore, our bodies are increasingly subjugated to chemicals from pesticides, herbicides and industrialized products such as plastics (containing BPA and BPS).


Certain probiotics are able to handle these toxins better than our own detoxification processes.





Natural Sources of Probiotics


Probiotics are readily available to you in a variety of natural foods, including the following:


  • Kombucha is an all natural fermented drink that is made of sweetened black tea.


    It is made using SCOBY - a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha beverages are full of probiotics and other healthy amino acids. You can purchase kombucha drinks, kombucha SCOBY or a kombucha tea starter kit from various manufacturers.


    If you plan to make your own kombucha tea, consider that it needs to be fermented to a specific pH of 2.5 to 3.0, or it will not develop the beneficial nutrients or may overburden the stomach.


    Additionally, is a great resource for all things kombucha.



  • Yogurt is made by bacterial fermentation of milk.


    Yogurt can be made from cow milk, goat milk, soy milk, nut milks such as almond milk, and coconut milk. Most commercial dairy yogurts are made with Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria, and at times other lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are added.


    To offset the sourness of yogurt, large amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners are often added to commercial yogurts, therefore look for unsweetened natural yogurt or learn to make your own.



  • Kefir is a liquid yogurt-like fermented product, often made out of cow or goat milk.


    It is high in both Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria probiotics.


    Kefir is made with kefir grains - also called kefir babies - which are a combination of bacteria and yeasts. Kefir grains will also ferment milk substitutes such as soy milk, rice milk, and coconut milk, as well as other sugary liquids including fruit juice, coconut water, beer wort and ginger beer.


    You can usually find kefir drinks at your local health food store or buy kefir grains to produce your own kefir drinks.


    Kefir grains reproduce easily and can be shared with friends.



  • Kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish that originated in Korea and comes in many different varieties but usually contains vegetables such as napa cabbage, cucumbers, radishes and scallions.


    Kimchi contains many strains of probiotics including Lactobacillus kimchii, Lactobacillus brevis, and Bacillus pumilus. These bacteria are known to help the body eliminate BPA and pesticides.


    A variety of Kimchi products can be purchased in stores, or you can learn how to make kimchi at home.



  • Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar made from cider or apple must, with yeast and bacteria added to the liquid to facilitate the fermentation process.


    In addition to providing probiotics, apple cider vinegar has many internal and external health benefits, many of which are listed here. When purchasing apple cider vinegar, consider only organic raw products.


This list is by no means complete - with soy bean-based foods such as miso and natto also full of probiotics.


In addition to these specific foods, healthy soil is a great source of probiotics, and hence a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables grown in organic soil will provide the body with lots of healthy bacteria.


Reducing processed foods and ingesting more raw, organic produce will benefit your waistline in more than one way!




Resource Books:




Probiotic Supplements


There are various different types of probiotic supplements that you could buy at health food stores.


Look for the following when buying a probiotic supplement:

  • At least 10 probiotic strains


  • High culture count with both Lactobacilli (Lacto) and Bifidobacteria (Bifido) strains. Some supplements refer to these as L’s and B’s.


  • Capsules and/or probiotic strains that allow the supplement to resist stomach acid so the probiotics are released into the intestinal tract.


  • Upwards of 15 Billion live cultures per capsule. Consult your physician or holistic practitioner on what live cultures count is right for you if you are trying to address a specific physical issue or illness, or need to supplement the use of antibiotics or other prescription drugs.


  • Potency until time of consumption, especially if you need to travel with your probiotics and cannot refrigerate them.


  • No dairy, sugar, gluten, soy, corn, casein, yeast, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or any genetically modified or engineered ingredients.