Dietary modifications can lower symptoms of allergic reactions, a new study reveals

Micronutrient deficits can increase inflammation and make the immune system more susceptible to allergens. Iron deficiency indicates danger to immune cells and causes an excessive immunological response.

Dietary modifications can lower symptoms of allergic reactions, a new study reveals

Image Credit: Medical University of Vienna

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna’s Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, and the University of Vienna conducted a placebo-controlled trial for the first time, demonstrating that focused dietary modifications can lower the symptom burden in allergic reactions.

As a result, scientists are forging an entirely new path in the treatment of allergy sufferers. The study was recently published in “The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.”

The vicious circle of allergy in the context of the research studies conducted at the Messerli Research Institute in collaborative efforts with the University Department of Ear, Nose, and Throat Diseases at the Medical University of Vienna. A hyperactive immune system sets the body on notice and hinders sufficient iron absorption, even though iron is exactly the micronutrient required to mitigate the extreme reaction.

Image Credit: ratmaner/

Image Credit: ratmaner/

The research team created a lozenge to compensate for micronutrient deficits in immune cells, which was examined for the first time in double-blind, placebo-controlled research.

Circumventing inhibition of iron absorption

The lozenge is made from cow’s whey protein beta-lactoglobulin, which serves as a carrier for a variety of vitamins.

Thanks to this carrier, absorption takes place via the lymph instead of blood vessels - in other words, exactly where immune cells are present in abundance ensuring micronutrient uptake in a targeted manner.”

Franziska Roth-Walter, Study Lead, Messerli Research Institute

A tablet is not regarded as an iron supplement because it only contains a trace quantity of iron, less than one milligram. Rather, the micronutrients are in a state that allows them to be transported to immune cells by the whey protein beta-lactoglobulin. According to the findings, supplementing with this lozenge greatly reduced the symptom burden in people sensitive to birch and grass pollen.

There was also an enhancement in the iron status of circulating monocytes and red blood cell parameters after 6 months of the administration. During the peak birch pollen season, supplementation with the lozenge led to a 45% reduction in the Combined Symptom Medication Score, a measure of symptoms and drug use.

Reducing immune cell hypersensitivity

Specific allergen immunotherapy is now the sole cause-and-effect therapeutic option for allergic disorders. This entails utilizing an allergen that is particular to the allergy in question, such as birch pollen for birch pollen allergy.

Supplying the immune cells with micronutrients via the lozenge showed a strikingly similar efficacy, but in a completely allergen-independent and therefore universal way,” explains Franziska Roth-Walter.

As a result, the paper proposes a novel strategy for the treatment of allergy sufferers. Instead of attacking the allergy itself; this strategy uses a dietary measure to lower the underlying responsiveness of immune cells to allergenic chemicals.

Journal reference:

Bartosik, T., et al. (2022) Ameliorating Atopy by Compensating Micronutritional Deficiencies in Immune Cells: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoLifeSciences.
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