Probiotics Reduce Risk of Eczema in Children
The BMJ (British Medical Journal), 23rd July 2010, has reported that a study conducted on pregnant women who drank milk containing “friendly bacteria” during pregnancy and during breastfeeding reduced the risk of their the developement of eczema in children. The study also found that these probiotics can reduce the severity of the eczema symptoms.
Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are beneficial bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. Probiotics are naturally found in the body and they have a number of important functions in the body. They are essential for proper digestion, preventing overgrowth of yeast and other harmful bacteria. Probiotics also improve the absorption of vitamins, especially the B vitamins, and minerals into the bloodstream. Studies have shown that probiotics may reduce the incidence of allergies by supporting the immune system.
Research has also shown that babies given probiotic supplements have a lower risk of developing eczema. This latest study was conducted by researchers in Norway on 415 pregnant women who were planning to breastfeed their babies. The group were split into two, half the women drank milk with probiotics from the 36th week of the pregnancy until their baby was 3 months old, and the other half drank identical milk without the added probiotics. The researchers followed up with the mothers and toddlers after two years.
The results showed that the children, whose mother’s had the probiotic milk, were half as likely, to have eczema at the age of 2 than those whose mothers were in the other group, with the regular milk. In those children in the probiotic group, that did develop eczema, the symptoms were generally less severe. The researchers concluded that the widespread use of probiotics by pregnant women might reduce the rates of eczema in children.