Background: Rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life is often reduced during seasonal allergies. The Mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (MRQLQ) is a validated tool used to measure quality of life in people experiencing allergies (0 = not troubled to 6 = extremely troubled). Probiotics may improve quality of life during allergy season by increasing the percentage of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and inducing tolerance.Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether consuming Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and B. longum MM-2 compared with placebo would result in beneficial effects on MRQLQ scores throughout allergy season in individuals who typically experience seasonal allergies. Secondary outcomes included changes in immune markers as part of a potential mechanism for changes in MRQLQ scores.Design: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel, randomized clinical trial, 173 participants (mean ± SEM: age 27 ± 1 y) who self-identified as having seasonal allergies received either a probiotic (2 capsules/d, 1.5 billion colony-forming units/capsule) or placebo during spring allergy season for 8 wk. MRQLQ scores were collected weekly throughout the study. Fasting blood samples were taken from a subgroup (placebo, n = 37; probiotic, n = 35) at baseline and week 6 (predicted peak of pollen) to determine serum immunoglobulin (Ig) E concentrations and Treg percentages.Results: The probiotic group reported an improvement in the MRQLQ global score from baseline to pollen peak (-0.68 ± 0.13) when compared with the placebo group (-0.19 ± 0.14; P = 0.0092). Both serum total IgE and the percentage of Tregs increased from baseline to week 6, but changes were not different between groups.Conclusions: This combination probiotic improved rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life during allergy season for healthy individuals with self-reported seasonal allergies; however, the associated mechanism is still unclear. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02349711.
Keywords: Bifidobacterium bifidum; Bifidobacterium longum; Lactobacillus gasseri; allergic rhinitis; healthy adults; probiotics; quality of life; seasonal allergies.
© 2017 American Society for Nutrition.