Hayfever patients can benefit from probiotics, study reveals

New research from a pilot study at Griffith University has shown that probiotics can improve the quality of life of hayfever patients.

Hayfever (or seasonal allergic rhinitis), is a chronic disorder of the upper respiratory tract, caused by an overreaction of the immune system to pollen. It is a global health problem affecting between 10% – 30% of the population worldwide, and is increasingly prevalent.

As part of a clinical first-of-its-kind development program, researchers investigated whether a multispecies-probiotic formulation, which has been shown in previous research to reduce eczema in children, could benefit hayfever patents as well.


They gave 44 adults aged 18-65 with moderate to severe hay fever the probiotic twice a day for a period of eight weeks. The patients were asked to report hayfever symptoms, medication use, and rated their quality of life.

“At the end of the study, 63% of the participants taking the probiotic reported a significantly improved quality of life,” says research leader Dr Nic West from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland.

“In addition, the patients experienced less severe hayfever symptoms and required less medication.

“We suspect that the probiotic formulation supresses an inflammatory response of the regulatory cells of the immune system, which in turn increases tolerance to hayfever causing agents.

“We have already seen in various studies that probiotics can have benefits in regards to immune health as well as gut, respiratory and even mental health. With these latest results relating to hayfever, although this is not seen as a ‘cure all’, it is great to see the reduction in symptoms alongside the absence of any adverse side effects.”

As a pilot study, Dr West says these findings are key outcomes that support the clinical development of probiotics for allergic rhinitis.