Asthma/AllergyInfantsPre, Pro, Synbiotics

A prebiotic reduces the incidence of atopic dermatitis in high-risk infants

For the first time prebiotics lowered the risk atopic dermatitis in a high-risk population of infants.

More than 200 infants at risk for atopy (an allergy involving an inherited immunoglobulin of the IgE type) took part in the study. Those on bottle-feeding were randomly assigned to a prebiotic formula (a mixture of galacto- and long chain fructo-oligosaccharides) or maltodextrine as placebo.

  • Significantly fewer infants given the prebiotic developed atopic dermatitis
  • Diet had no effect on the severity of the dermatitis
  • Prebiotic supplements were associated with fecal bifidobacteria counts
  • But there was no difference in lactobacilli counts

The investigators proposed that oligosaccharides affect immune development by altering bowel flora. Prebiotics might have a role in primary allergy prevention during infancy.

The distinguishing characteristics of prebiotics compared to probiotics and synbiotics were discussed here earlier.

10/20/06 23:02 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.