Probiotics may be helpful in infants predisposed to eczema

kid eczema

In what could be an exciting breakthrough, researchers led by Negar Foolad from the University of California, Davis, have found that probiotics can be helpful in infants predisposed to eczema. The latter, also called as atopic dermatitis in medical parlance, is a non-contagious skin problem accompanied by intense itching of the involved part. It is estimated that one in every five children suffers from this condition. The study has been published in the latest issue of the journal Archives of Dermatology.

For their study, Foolad, along with her Colleagues did a meta-analysis of 21 studies which deal with the effect of nutritional supplements on atopic dermatitis. The supplements included probiotics, prebiotics, formula feed and fatty acids. Their efficacy in reducing the severity of eczema in children less than 3 years of age was assessed. The participants in the meta-analysis included 6859 infants or mothers who were pregnant or breast feeding, and 4134 infants or mothers who served as controls.

The results of 11 out of 17 studies showed that nutritional supplements were effective in preventing the development of eczema, whereas, 5 out of 6 studies o that these supplements were effective in reducing the severity of symptoms associated with eczema. Of the various supplements tested in the studies, probiotics were found to be the most effective- especially Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, in the long term prevention of the development of atopic dermatitis. It was seen that when given lactobacillus rhamnosus, the chances of the infant to develop eczema were reduced by half. 

Only two studies supported the use of prebiotics in reducing the severity of eczema. Similarly, fatty acids like γ-Linolenic acid were also able to reduce the severity of the condition. However, the results with formula feed were conflicting. While some studies supported its role in reducing the severity of eczema, other studies gave opposite results.


Thursday, December 20, 2012