Taking the right probiotic early in life seem to reduce the risk of eczema.

First, the details.

  • 474 infants at risk of allergic disease based on a family history were studied.
  • Pregnant women were randomly assigned to take 1 of 3 treatments daily from 35 weeks gestation until 6 months if breast-feeding.
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001
    • Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis strain HN019
    • Placebo
  • Their infants were randomly assigned to the same treatment from birth to 2 years.
  • Skin prick tests to common allergens was performed at 2 years.
  • The participants and the researchers were not aware of the treatment given — double-blind.

And, the results.

  • Infants receiving L rhamnosus had a significantly reduced risk of eczema compared with placebo.
  • This was not the case for B animalis subsp lactis.
  • There was no significant effect of L rhamnosus or B animalis subsp lactis on atopy (allergic hypersensitivity).
  • L rhamnosus was more likely to be present in the feces at 3 months, although detection rates were similar by 24 months.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Supplementation with L rhamnosus, but not B animalis subsp lactis, substantially reduced the cumulative prevalence of eczema, but not atopy, by 2 years.”

How this happens should be studied.

10/8/08 18:45 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 www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.