Featured on HealingQuest Radio: Allergy Relief with Probiotics

Roy Walkenhorst: Hello, and welcome back to Healing Quest, I'm Roy Walkenhorst-

Judy Brooks: And I'm Judy Brooks, and if you're just joining us, our focus is holistic wellness and the latest in natural ways to keep us all healthy. 

Roy Walkenhorst: You know, we've talked frequently about allergies, because they affect so many of us. 25% of all Americans, according to a recent presentation of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Experts also say if you feel like the allergy system is getting worse every year, you're not wrong, and you're not alone. They say a big factor in this is climate change, with its higher temperatures and increasing levels of carbon dioxide.

Judy Brooks: In fact, studies show that allergy seasons throughout the year are getting longer, as much as 27 days longer than they were ten years ago. We sure see that here, that's for sure. And people that haven't had allergies in the past that are now experiencing that. So the growing problem of allergies is something we're paying close attention to because of how many of us are affected by them. Something we're also paying close attention to is the growing body of science about the value of probiotics in keeping us healthy.

Roy Walkenhorst: And here's where that surprise comes in that we were talking about. We've always thought that probiotics were mostly good for keeping our digestive tract healthy and our immune system healthy, and we were surprised and delighted to learn that one of their other benefits is helping us deal with allergies.

Judy Brooks: So to help us understand that, we're pleased to welcome back to Healing Quest, our favorite microbiologist, Kiran Krishnan, who's developed one of the world's leading probiotic, a dietary supplement called Just Thrive Probiotic, that's having some very impressive results in the world of natural health.

Judy Brooks: So, Kiran, thanks for joining us today to talk about probiotics and allergies.

Kiran Krishnan: You're welcome, and thank you so much for having me. This is a really important topic, so I'm grateful for the opportunity.

Roy Walkenhorst: I can't resist saying, it's nothing to sneeze at, what we're going to talk about. There's probably not a probiotic that could prevent me from saying that. But the good news is that it's really fascinating to see how this whole thing works. I'm sure you can explain that better than I can possibly.

Kiran Krishnan: Yeah, you know, it's interesting when you look at it and you see that, we've all met people and maybe it's us ourselves that end up developing allergies later on in life. Things that you weren't necessarily allergic to before, and then now all of a sudden you're in your late 20s, 30s, all of a sudden, the ragweed and the pollen and all those things start to be irritants to your system, causing the sniffles and the itchiness, the dry eyes, the swelling, and then you end up with the over the counter allergy meds on a regular basis, sinus infections, and so on.

Kiran Krishnan: Now, it is true that the exposure level to allergens is increasing quite a bit as well, because of climate change and so on, but also, the way our body responds to allergens has completely changed as well. And this goes along with food allergy also. We all know that 25 years ago, 30 years ago, you never heard of a peanut allergy. Now, virtually every school in the US has to be peanut-free because there are kids that are so allergic to peanuts that they are anaphylactic. So, the question is, what about our system is allowing us to create these really unfavorable immune reactions against allergies. And as it turns out, it's the bacteria that live in our gut that control our immune systems. Because of things we're doing to decimate those microbes, we're finding out that that has an inadvertent effect on the way we respond to allergies.

Kiran Krishnan: Now, there's a second part to it, and that's lack of exposure to bacteria. That's another aspect of it as well, and we can elaborate on each.

Judy Brooks: Well, what is it about the probiotic strains in Just Thrive that increase the T-regularity cells that help suppress unfavorable immune reactions like allergies?

Kiran Krishnan: You hit the nail right on the head. It's the T-regulatory cells that, their whole job is to survey immune responses going on in the body, because when anything enters the body that's foreign, whether it's a ragweed, a pollen, or a peanut protein or a soy protein, your immune system, especially the first line of defense in your immune system, something called the innate immune system, has no choice but to react to it. Now, once the immune system reacts to it, there is a checkpoint. After the initial reaction, the checkpoint occurs where T-reg cells come in, and they're supposed to decide and train the immune system if this is something we need to continue reacting to and create more inflammation, more what we call IgE, that ends up giving you kind of the allergy type symptoms, or is this something we need to learn not to initiate that kind of attack to.

Kiran Krishnan: And as it turns out, those T-reg cells are completely dependent on the presence of certain types of bacteria in the gut. The thing that makes certain bacteria really good at upregulating these T-regs is the ability of the bacteria to interact with immune tissue in the digestive system. One of the big areas of that is something called the Peyer's patches, which is this kind of really elaborate immune system that is part of your intestinal lining in the small bowel, the terminal end of the small bowel. Certain bacteria have a really good, amazing capability to really interact with those immune cells and these spores in Just Thrive are one of those types of bacteria. They are just so good at interacting with those immune cells.

Roy Walkenhorst: So we talked before about people who do suffer from allergies, and if they're taking an herbal or vitamin product to alleviate that, can they also just start taking a probiotic like Just Thrive, or will it somehow interfere with what they may be taking now?

Kiran Krishnan: No, the mechanisms by which they work are completely different, so it certainly will not interfere. If anything, it will help support the immune system to illicit a more favorable response to the allergen. Now, most herbal and other supplement products that are designed for allergies are designed to help alleviate the symptoms of allergies, you know, like quercetin for example. Quercetin is in many allergy products, and they're designed to reduce the inflammatory response that's occurring, but it's not fixing the core problem, the core problem being the immune system reacting the way it's reacting without the training that's required. And that is depending on the T-reg cells. So, none of the herbal stuff can upregulate the T-reg cells, you need these friendly, really good bacteria that can handle the immune response, or manipulate the immune response to some degree, to upregulate T-reg cells.

Judy Brooks: I had a question though. Do all probiotics work for allergies?

Kiran Krishnan: That's a really important question, because that's a part that we really have to delineate for people, because there's only a few cells, types of cells or strains, that's a term that people are familiar with, probiotic strains, that have the capability of actually getting to those Peyer's patches, which is the immune tissue in the intestinal lining, and actually upregulating really important chemical messengers within those Peyer's patches that end up upregulating those T-reg cells. So that is a very specialized function that the vast majority of probiotics have not been shown to be able to do.

Kiran Krishnan: And also the problem with the vast majority of probiotics is they end up dying in the stomach anyway. So what you're getting going through the system is just basically dead bacteria moving through, so those dead bacteria have no chance of going and upregulating that T-reg system.

Roy Walkenhorst: Now, what makes Just Thrive so special, I think, as you've told us before, is there's a spore technology which you guys have been able to access.

Kiran Krishnan: Yeah, absolutely. These are unique strains that have the capability of putting themselves into the spore state, where they cover themselves in an armor-like coating, and that allows them to pass through the harsh environment of the stomach acid 100% of the time, so they survive, they get into the intestines. When they get into the intestines, they create the [inaudible 00:08:50] armor-like coating, and then they become a live functioning probiotic bacteria for you in your gut.

Kiran Krishnan: Now, there's some unique features on the outer cell membrane of these bacteria that make them more antigenic, is the word, or more recognized, by the immune system in those Peyer's patches. So there's two parts to it that make it really unique when it comes to this particular application. One is the ability to survive through, because they're in that spore form. The second is their membrane structure, which is better recognized by our immune system to upregulate the functions of the immune system versus any of the dead bacteria or certainly any other whole bacteria.

Roy Walkenhorst: So, Kiran, we've only got a short bit of time left, but I just can't resist guessing. How much difference do you think people can feel when they begin, for example, taking the Just Thrive probiotic, in terms of the allergy symptoms that they're having?

Kiran Krishnan: You know, that's an important question without a hard and fast answer, because what we're doing with the using the probiotic is we're retraining the immune system. So some people will get that retraining done very quickly, within the first 30 days, they'll start to notice that allergens that were terribly bothersome to them are not bothersome any more. Some people will take three, four months before they start seeing the major changes because their immune system is just designed to move slower in that respect, or they have other complications going on.

Kiran Krishnan: A great example is my wife. She had been taking over the counter things like Allegra and Zyrtec and all that for 15 years of her life because she has severe environmental allergies. In the last four years, she hasn't taken a single one of those even once, and that's after about three months of being on the probiotics. I didn't even tell her anything about that, she just noticed that a couple of days she forgot taking her OTC, her over the counter allergy medications, and realized, "Wait a minute, I'm not sniffly, itchy, congested. Maybe I'll just stop taking it." And then, two months after stopping taking it, she comes to me and goes, "Hey, does this stuff actually help with allergies? Because I stopped taking my stuff."

Kiran Krishnan: And I'm like, "Yes, it does. Okay, good, okay." You know, I might have told her that sometime in the beginning, but she probably didn't listen to me. So you know, now, she realized that it's four years, she had been taking over the counter allergy meds for almost 15 years.

Judy Brooks: Wow, that's a great success story.

Roy Walkenhorst: We've been talking with microbiologist Kiran Krishnan about how the right kind of probiotic can not only keep our digestive system healthy, but also help us deal with allergies.

Judy Brooks: So, as our regular listeners know, both Roy and I are big fans of probiotics. The one we take every day is called Just Thrive, and you can find out more about that at ThriveProbiotic.com, or we have a link for you on our website at HealingQuest.tv.