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by Dr. Daniel J. Heller
Probiotics may help prevent allergies and eczema in children—and could even help prevent asthma—according to a recent Finnish study that reviewed current literature on the subject.
Researcher Mikael Kuitunen found that when probiotics were administered before and after birth, fewer children experienced symptoms of eczema through age 2. Follow-up research suggests that the effects may continue until at least age 4.
Other research, published in the prestigious journal Pediatrics, found similar results. In this examination, investigators reviewed 25 different studies to assess the effects of probiotics on the atopic triad – that is, a family predisposition to seasonal allergies, eczema and asthma.
Overall, the study showed that certain probiotics had an affect on reducing the risk for allergic reactions. The effects became even clearer as time passed.
The research did not find that probiotics significantly reduced the risk for asthma, but researchers suggested that a longer-term study and a closer look at different types of probiotics might yield different results.
Both studies showed that the greatest affects were achieved when probiotics were administered both prenatally and postnatally.
So is there any difference between probiotics for prevention of allergies and eczema? The Finnish study showed that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had the greatest affect. L. rhamnosus is sometimes used in yogurt and other dairy products. It is also marketed as the probiotic supplement Culturelle in the United States, as well as being available in a wide array of probiotic supplements and products. It is also available in other countries, but under different brand names. Surprisingly, the researchers found that widely available probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus—probably the most commonly used probiotic among the general public—was associated with an increased risk for allergy sensitization. Although it isn’t mentioned in the article, it seems possible that it isn’t acidophilus per se that causes problems, but rather that the most common source for it is in yogurt. Since dairy is a common food allergen, women and infants who consume acidophilus in yogurt may be inadvertently making things worse by consuming dairy.
For expectant mothers, this means that certain probiotics may be an effective natural preventative for allergies, eczema and even asthma, particularly if these conditions—the “atopic triad”—run in your family.
by PMS Comfort
by Dr. Daniel J. Heller