Can Probiotics Alleviate Asthma Symptoms?

by | Mar 3, 2022 | Health Conditions, Probiotic Blog

Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions in both adults and children.  It affects about 1 in 13 Americans and nearly 340 million people worldwide.

For some people, asthma is nothing more than an occasional inconvenience.  For others, symptoms are ongoing and life-altering.  Unfortunately, we still don’t know the exact cause of asthma, though we do know some of the major risk factors, like genetics, allergies, and respiratory issues. Those suffering from chronic asthma typically require daily medication to keep their symptoms in check.

What are Common Symptoms of Asthma?

Asthma can cause a wide range of symptoms that vary from person to person.  Some of the most common asthma symptoms include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems, including shortness of breath, gasping for air, or rapid short breaths
  • Wheezing or whistling sounds while breathing in and out
  • Frequent chest colds

Asthma can cause some symptoms more specific to infants and young children, such as trouble with eating and sucking.  People with chronic asthma may also suffer from dark circles under the eyes and exhaustion due to the added physical and mental stress that ongoing asthma symptoms can cause.

Probiotics for Asthma

The main symptom that most people think about in relation to asthma is an asthma attack.  These can be very scary experiences, as those suffering from asthma attacks can feel like they are unable to draw in or expel a full breath.  It is often described as feeling like breathing through a straw, suffocating, or drowning. 

Most asthma attacks pass within a few minutes, but they can be dangerous enough to require medical intervention in some cases.  If the breathing difficulty is debilitating, lasts for longer than a few minutes, isn’t helped at all by an inhaler, or if there is any kind of blue tinge on or around the lips, an ambulance should be called immediately.

How Gut Health is Connected to Asthma?

This probably isn’t surprising to read if you’ve checked out some of our other blogs, but most health conditions can be tied back to gut health in some way, and asthma is no exception.

Respiratory health, in general, can be tied to gut health due to the connection between gut health and immune health.  60-70% of the body’s immune system is in or around the gut.  The gut serves as the barrier between the outside world and the rest of your body.  When your gut is damaged, it can lead to all kinds of health issues.  One such issue is a leaky gut syndrome, a condition in which the gut barrier is broken down, allowing substances that are normally kept out of the body by the gut barrier to enter.  A leaky gut results in undesirable substances crossing through the gut barrier and into the bloodstream where they can cause direct harm and trigger autoimmune responses.  A leaky causes a much higher risk for autoimmune conditions and an increased likelihood to develop conditions like asthma.

People with asthma tend to have higher levels of specific bad bacteria and lower levels of some of the more beneficial probiotic bacteria like Bifidobacterium bifidum.  Research has shown that children with a better balance of good bacteria in their guts are less likely to develop asthma than children with poor bacterial balance.  Individuals with asthma are also likely to have more severe symptoms if their guts have poor bacterial makeup than individuals with healthier guts.

Can Probiotics Help with Asthma Symptoms?

We do not have the research to suggest that probiotics can be used as a substitute for medication when dealing with asthma symptoms, but we do have studies showing that probiotics can help to reduce the severity or likelihood of asthma symptoms in many cases.  The makeup of bacteria in the gut is strongly tied to gut health, and probiotics are one of the best ways to directly affect gut bacteria balance in a positive way.  The immune system can be supported to better respond to allergy symptoms through supplementation with probiotics that are tied to positive gut health and probiotics that have a more direct effect on asthma symptoms.

What Probiotic Strains Are Best to Help with Asthma?

Most probiotics can have a positive effect on asthma due to the connection between gut health and asthma, but there are certain strains of probiotics that have been shown to have more direct benefits on both asthma risk and asthma symptoms.

Probiotics for Asthma

Probiotic bacteria help to crowd out bad bacteria in the gut by competing for space on the gut lining.  Bifidobacterium breve (B. breve) is unique amongst probiotic bacteria because of its ability to digest food components that other probiotic bacteria are normally unable to digest, but some harmful bacteria or other pathogens might use as food sources.  These functions allow B. breve to have a positive impact on gut health, which leads to better immune health. 

B. breve could also offer more direct benefits to those suffering from asthma.  One study showed that B. breve and Lactobacillus rhamnosus had strong anti-inflammatory properties that are similar to budesonide, a steroid medication commonly used in inhaler form to treat chronic asthma.

Lactobacillus gasseri (L. gasseri) is another strain that could have benefits for allergy symptoms.  One study showed that L. gasseri could help with asthma by reducing allergen-induced airway inflammation.

There have been several studies related to the impact of Lactobacillus salivarius (L. salivarius) on asthma.  A study involving asthmatic patients aged 20-35 years old demonstrated that L. salivarius decreased the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and exhibited beneficial immunomodulatory activity.  Pro-inflammatory cytokines are signaling molecules that promote inflammation.  By reducing the secretion of these cytokines, L. salivarius can reduce the severity of asthma symptoms.  There are also studies indicating that L. salivarius could decrease allergen-induced airway responses or alleviate airway inflammation.

Probonix has the Probiotics You Need to Help with Asthma

As you can see, there are many reasons to consider probiotics when looking for ways to help with allergy symptoms.  A healthier gut means a healthier immune system that is better equipped to deal with asthma symptoms.

Probonix is one of the best probiotics for providing your body with good bacteria to help with asthma.  All Probonix probiotics have one or several probiotic strains that have been shown to help with asthma, so start improving your gut health and asthma symptoms today with Probonix!

About the Author

Dr. Shawn Benzinger, D.C., DABCO, FIAMA

Co-Founder, CEO | Dr. Benzinger is a certified Chiropractic Orthopedist, Acupuncturist, and Nutritionist with a passion to help people live healthier, self-sufficient lives. He has served as a national spokesperson and talk show host on areas relating to nutrition, chronic pain, and alternative health care for over 20 years. Dr. Benzinger regularly consults on musculo-skeletal and nutritional management for elite athletes across the country, and he has been working to help educate the Indianapolis community on nutrition and chronic pain for the last 36 years.