I don’t know if there’s ever been an official survey, but I’m guessing that “Gesundheit!” and “God bless you!” are two of the most widely used terms worldwide—and with good reason. Allergies, especially allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and allergic asthma are extremely prevalent. Unfortunately, conventional medical treatment for allergies comes with its own drawbacks, and nutraceutical options have been limited and largely lacking in efficacy. However, a promising new, nutraceutical treatment for allergies has emerged from Europe and is based on—of all things—a quail egg powder called AllerGuard Express. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the research on this new treatment—but first, let’s take a brief look at allergy statistics and current medical treatment.
Allergic rhinitis affects up to 30 percent of the population worldwide.1 In the United States, about 7.5 percent or 17.6 million adults were diagnosed with hay fever in the past 12 months.2 Likewise one in 12 people (about 25 million, or 8 percent of the U.S. population) has asthma—that’s up from one in 14 people only a few years earlier.3 Comparatively, one in 10 children have asthma.4 Allergic disease, including asthma, is the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. in people of all ages. It is the third most common chronic disease in children under 18 years old.5
Current Medical Treatment
Currently there are two types of medical treatment for allergies: medication and immunotherapy. With regard to medications, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says: “Decongestants and antihistamines are the most common allergy medications. They help to reduce a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing and itching. Other medications work by preventing the release of the chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Corticosteroids are effective in treating inflammation in your nose.”6 The drawback is that allergy medications also have a significant number of side effects. For example, WebMD indicates that some of the main side effects associated with antihistamines include dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, restlessness or moodiness (in some children), trouble urinating or not being able to urinate, blurred vision and confusion.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, “Immunotherapy involves giving gradually increasing doses of the substance, or allergen, to which the person is allergic. The incremental increases of the allergen cause the immune system to become less sensitive to the substance, probably by causing production of a ‘blocking’ antibody, which reduces the symptoms of allergy when the substances is encountered in the future. Immunotherapy also reduces the inflammation that characterizes rhinitis and asthma.” But there are also drawbacks to immunotherapy. This treatment is delivered via weekly injections (a negative for some people) or in oral form, and is expensive. Medical insurance may pay for the injections, but seldom pays for oral treatment. Furthermore, it can take quite a long time to get relief from allergic symptoms with immunotherapy—typically a year or more.
The Story of Quail Eggs
Now let’s shift gears and take a look at allergy treatment using AllerGuard Express. It all started in the early 1970s when a French general practitioner noticed that farmers who raised quails presented fewer allergy symptoms than the general population in the same area. One quail farmer saw the gradual disappearance of existing asthma and constant, allergy-related shortness of breath in his spouse and then that of his employees with the consumption of quail eggs. Another quail farmer who experimented successfully with this treatment on his own family and friends confirmed this observation. The physician then gave raw quail eggs to his allergy patients, including both adults and children, and observed a reduction in their symptoms.7
Subsequently investigations in several human clinical trials were carried out by a larger group of physicians under the direction of a highly respected French allergist, physician Dr. G. Bruttmann. In these studies, subjects suffering from outdoor and indoor allergens were given AllerGuard Express tablets or placebo. In addition, each of the studies included a good size population and was double-blinded. The results of these studies indicated that consumption of AllerGuard Express led to relief of subjects’ symptoms with good tolerability of the administered product. Following is a review of those studies.
Allerguard Express In the Treatment of Dust Mite-induced Allergic Asthma in Children
In a multi-center study,8 a group of 180 children with dust mite-induced allergic asthma were treated with one tablet daily of 21 mg AllerGuard Express or a placebo. The study took place over a 22-month period. The results showed that AllerGuard Express was significantly better than placebo. In fact, there was a 77.7 percent (p<0.001) reduction in the number of attacks at the end of treatment, an improvement in respiratory function, and a 58.6 percent reduction in the use of rescue medications by the AllerGuard Express group.
AllerGuard Express In the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis
In a multi-center study,9 a group of 160 adults with pollen-induced allergic rhinitis were treated with one tablet daily of 21 mg AllerGuard Express or a placebo. The study took place over an eight-month period. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in the intensity of allergic rhinitis in the treatment group compared to the placebo group (p< 0.0001), with an improvement in all the symptoms considered. Furthermore, there was a significant improvement in the condition of the nasal mucosa compared to the placebo group (p<0.0001), and a significant reduction in consumption of the rescue medication (p<0.0001). Moreover, these results were obtained at the peak of the pollen season. By the third month, 70 percent of the treated patients no longer experienced any unpleasant symptoms.
Another eight-month, multi-center study10 examined the effect of AllerGuard Express (21 mg/day) or placebo in 180 adult patients with pollen-induced allergic rhinitis. As with the prior study, results showed a statistically significant reduction in the intensity of allergic rhinitis in the quail egg group compared to the placebo group (p<0.0001), improvement in all the symptoms and a significant improvement in the condition of the nasal mucosa compared to the placebo group (p<0.0001). Likewise, a significant reduction in consumption of the rescue medication (p<0.0001) was also seen, and these results took place at the peak of the pollen season and were already significant 45 days after the start of treatment. By the third month, 80 percent of the treated patients treated no longer experienced any symptoms or unpleasant symptoms.
An additional eight-month, multi-center study11 examined the effect of AllerGuard Express (21 mg/day) or placebo in 95 patients, 48 of whom were adults and 47 of whom where children, all with pollen-induced allergic rhinitis. As with the prior two studies, results showed a statistically significant reduction in the intensity of allergic rhinitis in the AllerGuard Express group compared to the placebo group (p<0.0001), with an improvement in all the symptoms and a significant improvement in the condition of the nasal mucosa compared to the placebo group (p<0.0001). Once again, there was a significant reduction in consumption of the rescue medication (p<0.0001), and once again these results were obtained at the peak of the pollen season. The doctor assessed the overall efficacy as good or very good in 68.7 percent of the patients treated with quail egg powder (p<0.05).
Unlike in seasonal rhinitis, the symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis will usually be present throughout the entire year. Consequently, a 10-month, multi-center study examined the effect of AllerGuard Express (21 mg/day) or placebo in 124 adult patients with perennial allergic rhinitis. In this study, both the doctor and the patient assessed the results. The doctor’s/patient’s assessment showed that the effect of treatment was significantly greater with AllerGuard Express (63.4 percent/65.7 percent) compared to the placebo group (27.3 percent/25 percent) (p<0.003), and that efficacy was seen after 28 days of treatment in terms of both nasal congestion and conjunctivitis/runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion.
Altogether, there were 739 allergic patients in these five studies. In each study there was a significant improvement in allergy symptoms among those patients using AllerGuard Express over those using the placebo. Combining the results of all five studies 72 percent of quail egg users experienced significant relieve from allergy symptoms, while only 20 percent of those in the placebo group experienced similar relief.
It should be noted that in most of these studies, patients started supplementation about one month prior to expected allergic attacks. Furthermore, progressive results were seen over a period of months with continued use. Nevertheless, significantly quicker relieve from allergy symptoms were seen with AllerGuard Express in the most recent study.
Relief With AllerGuard Express in 15 Minutes
Most recently, a randomized, double-blind, two-arm crossover, placebo-controlled, clinical trial12 was conducted in 43 adults. The participants were exposed to a mixture of the most prevalent outdoor and indoor allergens including grass and tree pollen, dust mites, as well as cat and dog dander. They then immediately took two tablets (42 mg of AllerGuard Express) or placebo, both in the form of chewable tablets, and were evaluated over a two-hour period. The results were that participants who AllerGuard Express were able to breathe significantly better through their nose (18 percent improvement; p≤0.05 vs. placebo) starting as soon as 15 minutes after allergen exposure and consumption of the tablets, and also reported improvements in how they felt ranging from 25-44 percent for stuffy nose, runny nose, itchy nose, watery eyes and itchy eyes during the same 15 minute time period. Over the entire two-hour post-challenge period, participants who took the AllerGuard Express reported they felt significantly better with regard to stuffy nose, runny nose, itchy nose, watery eyes, and itchy eyes compared to how they felt after taking the placebo, and all without any adverse events.
How Does it Work?
Allergic rhinitis symptoms mainly result from an Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated temporary immune response against environmental triggers. In individuals with a sensitized immune system, allergen-specific IgE antibodies are produced in response to environmental allergens.13-14 Worldwide, sensitization (IgE antibodies) to allergies in the environment is present in up to 40 percent of the population.15
Certain outdoor and indoor antigens such as pollen, mold, animal dander and house dust mites contain protease enzymes. When they are inhaled and come into direct contact with the nasal cavity endothelium, these protease enzymes can injure tissues and induce a transient IgE-mediated allergic inflammatory response.16 In-vitro testing has shown that protein fractions contained in the quail egg, including ovomucoids and ovoinhibitors, act as serine protease inhibitors.17-18 By inhibiting proteases, AllerGuard Express bioactives help reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
There is no single magic pharmaceutical or nutraceutical that will eliminate allergies. However, given the strong and extensive human clinical research on quail egg powder (commercially known as AllerGuard Express), as well as its excellent safety profile, the use of this nutraceutical offers promising results in helping to relieve allergic symptoms. VR
1 Pawankar R, Canonica GW, Holgate ST, Lockey RF. WAO White Book on Allergy. Milwaukee, WI: World Allergy Organization; 2011.
2 Schiller JS, Lucas JW, Ward BW, Peregoy JA. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat. 2012;10(252):208 pgs.
3 American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Asthma Facts. Retrieved January 22, 2016 from www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/asthma-statistics.aspx.
4 Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved January 22, 2016 from www.childstats.gov/pdf/ac2012/ ac_12.pdf.
5 American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Allergy Facts. Retrieved January 22, 2016 from http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies. 6 Allergy Treatment: Allergy Medication. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2016 from http://acaai.org/allergies/treatment/medication.
7 Truffier JC. Approche therapeutique de la maladie allergique par ingestion d’oeufs de caille. La Clinique. 1978;22: 2-4.
8 Bruttman G. Study 1 (réf. 82-83-1): Dust Mite-Induced Allergic Asthma In Children. & Bruttman G. “Ovix” Quail Egg Homogenate: A Clinical Evaluation. La Medicina Biologica. April-June 1995;2:25-29.
9 Bruttman G. Study 2 (réf. 83-2): Exclusive Pollen-Induced Rhinitis. & Bruttman G. “Ovix” Quail Egg Homogenate: A Clinical Evaluation. La Medicina Biologica. April-June 1995;2:25-29.
10 Bruttman G. Study 3 (réf. 83-3): Pollen-Induced Rhinitis. & Bruttman G. “Ovix” Quail Egg Homogenate: A Clinical Evaluation. La Medicina Biologica. April-June 1995;2:25-29.
11 Bruttman G. Study 4 (réf. 88-1): Pollen-Induced Allergic Rhinitis. & Bruttman G. “Ovix” Quail Egg Homogenate: A Clinical Evaluation. La Medicina Biologica. April-June 1995;2:25-29.
12 Benichou AC, Armanet M, Bussiere A, Chevreau N, Cardot J-M, Tetard J. A Proprietary Blend of Quail Egg for the Attenuation of Nasal Provocation with a Standardized Allergenic Challenge: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Food Sci Nutr. 2014 Nov;2(6):655-63.
13 Bousquet J, Khaltaev N, Cruz AA, Denburg J, Fokkens WJ, Togias A, et al. Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) 2008 update (in collaboration with the World Health Organization, GA(2)LEN and AllerGen). Allergy. 2008;63 Suppl 86:8-160.
14 Reed CE, Kita H. The role of protease activation of inflammation in allergic respiratory diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Nov;114(5):997-1008.
15 Pawankar R, Canonica GW, Holgate ST, Lockey RF. WAO White Book on Allergy. Milwaukee, WI: World Allergy Organization; 2011.
16 Widmer F, Hayes PJ, Whittaker RG, Kumar RK. Substrate preference profiles of proteases released by allergenic pollens. Clin Exp Allergy. 2000 Apr;30(4):571-6.
17 Feeney RE, Means GE, Bigler JC. Inhibition of human trypsin, plasmin, and thrombin by naturally occurring inhibitors of proteolytic enzymes. J Biol Chem. 1969;244(8):1957-1960.
18 Takahashi K, Kitao S, Tashiro M, Asao T, Kanamori M. Inhibitory specificity against various trypsins and stability of ovomucoid from Japanese quail egg white. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). dec 1994;40(6):593-601.
Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, the dean of academics for Huntington College of Health Sciences, is a nutritionist, herbalist, writer and educator. For more than 30 years he has educated and trained natural product retailers and health care professionals, has researched and formulated natural products for dozens of dietary supplement companies, and has written articles on nutrition, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals and integrative health issues for trade, consumer magazines and peer-reviewed publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.