Probiotics can reduce children’s eczema and other skin disorders

A meta-analysis of 25 interventional studies showed that infants who receive probiotics had significantly reduced atopic sensation and related ailments such as eczema

A meta-analysis of 25 interventional studies showed that infants who receive probiotics either prenatally or post-natally had significantly reduced atopic sensation and related ailments such as eczema.

However, the researchers found that other allergic disorders suchas asthma and wheezing were not affected.

The study, published in Pediatrics in August 2013, included only double-blind, randomised, controlled trials published between 2001 and 2012 that measured outcomes on children who didn’t have atopic diseases when they were given probiotics.

Probiotic supplementation was either prenatal or in the child’s first year of life. Strains included Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria and probiotic mixtures.

The researchers found that children who were given probiotics either prenatally or post-natally had significantly lower immunoglobulin (IgE) levels than control groups.

However, the decrease in the risk of atopy was significant only when probiotic consumption started during pregnancy and continued after birth. Meta-regression also showed that the IgE reduction was greater with longer follow-up periods. Lactobacillus acidophilus was the strain most associated with an increased risk in atopic sensitisation.

The researchers further analyzed 14 of the studies and found that probiotic usage didn’t significantly reduce children’s asthma or wheezing. This is consistent with previous studies in adults.

The researchers said that based on their analysis, probiotics’ lack of effect on asthma and wheezing may be due to the specific strains used or insufficient follow-up times.

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