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VERIFY: Think local honey is good for allergies? Here's why you're wrong.

The idea is that local bees are in contact with local allergens so their honey helps allergy sufferers build up immunity. Sounds great, but what does the science have to say?

DALLAS — Guess what's coming, folks? Spring allergies.  

Burning eyes, runny noses, headaches. Yuck!

There’s a common belief out there that local honey can help minimize the symptoms of allergies. Dana Clements, a Verify viewer, wants to know if that’s true and sent in this question:

"Is it fact or myth that local honey 35 miles within your home possibly helps build your immunity to the allergies in your area??" 

To see if that's true, I looked at this scientific research from the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

And I talked to Dr. Gary Gross, who happens to have both the best name ever for an allergist/immunologist and also happens to be my doctor.

“Scientifically speaking, can taking local honey reduce the symptoms of your allergies?” I asked Gross.

“We don't have any evidence, scientific evidence, that taking local honey really helps allergies,” Gross said.

The idea behind this claim is the science of immunology, where you're exposed to a little bit of what you're allergic to and then build up immunity to that allergen. 

So, if local bees are in contact with local pollens, their honey would help allergy sufferers build immunity to those allergens.

Now, back to that 2002 study from the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. It tested three groups of people with common allergies. 

The first got local honey, the second got nationally collected honey, the third got honey-flavored corn syrup as a placebo.

The study concluded: "Neither honey group experienced relief from their symptoms in excess of that seen in the placebo group."

But why? Let’s ask Gross.

“Bees are looking for flowering plants, and they collect the pollen from flowering plants," he said. "Whereas, allergies are caused by the small windblown pollens that bees don't like,” he said.

“Tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen. Those are the pollens that bees don't care about."

So, can local honey build your immunity to allergies? The research says no. 

And, besides, bees are coming into contact with flowers, not the trees and grass that sparks your allergies.

Got something you want Verified? Send an email to david@verifytv.com

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