18 million people suffer from hayfever in the UK to some extent. For some it can be life changing and for most just annoying. Hayfever is triggered when pollen proteins are recognised by an over-sensitized immune system.
The result is an aggressive response by your immune system to neutralise what it thinks is a mass invasion. Recently scientists in the US reviewed 23 studies involving 1900 people and found that those that ate a probiotic yoghurt a day had a significant reduction in symptoms.
It is now thought that a variety of allergies are triggered by a lack of good bacteria in the gut. Overzealous cleaning and lack of exposure to naturally occurring pathogens in the soil and on our food have lead to a reduction in our gut flora. This news is further evidence that a healthy gut flora of probiotic bacteria can help desensitise your immune system.
A gut that is populated with good bacteria is less inflamed and the endothelium or lining of the gut is healthier. An inflammed gut can lose it’s ability to protect and can become “leaky”. This simply means that larger molecules can cross it’s wall and enter the body than normal. As around 70% of your immune system is sensibly placed where it is needed most i.e. around the gut, it can easily be stimulated to attack larger molecules such as proteins. The result is the body’s policemen get a bit carried away and indiscriminately go on patrol attacking things that are in effect harmless. In severe cases the immune system can start to attack the body itself. Indeed there has been a large body of evidence recently where this association has been noted.
The friendly bacteria also help to breakdown food stuffs that we are unable to deal with. So that can aid digestion and reduce the feeling of bloatedness. A word of caution though, the Yakult, Actimel type handy shots contain a lot of sugar and should be avoided. It is much better to supplement with a broad spectrum or high concentration probiotic. Alternatively live cultures of natural yoghurts should be used. Again beware some have a lot of sugar added. At Back In Form we stock or can order a variety of high quality probiotics as this is such an important contribution to overall health.
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