Maternal consumption of probiotics dramatically reduces the incidence of eczema in children

A randomised, double-blind study, conducted by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (part of a larger research project at the university called the Prevention of Allergy Among Children in Trondheim, or PACT) compared mothers who drank one glass of probiotic milk a day to women who were given a placebo.

Researchers followed 415 pregnant women and their children from pregnancy until the children were two years old. The participants were randomly selected among pregnant women in Trondheim -- and then randomly divided into two groups, one of which was given milk with probiotics at week 36 in their pregnancy up to three months after the birth, and the other a placebo milk. Mothers in the study did not know whether they were given the probiotic milk or the placebo milk.

The children were checked for eczema, asthma and allergy throughout the period, as well as for asthma and allergy at age two.

The results showed that probiotic bacteria reduced the incidence of eczema in children up to age two years by 40% and that in the children in the 'probiotics group' who did have eczema, it was less severe. However, the probiotic milk had no effect on asthma or allergies.

The researchers have started a follow-up study of the children to see if they find any preventive effect on allergic diseases, especially asthma, when children have reached six years old.

This is the first study to show that certain probiotic bacteria given to the mother during pregnancy and breast-feeding prevents eczema. Previous studies have shown that ingestion of some probiotics by children may prevent eczema, but this is the first study to show a preventative effect when the mother alone consumed the probiotics.

Dotterud et al. Probiotics in pregnant women to prevent allergic disease: a randomised, double-blind trial. British Journal of Dermatology, 2010; no DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09889.x

 Courtesy of Science Daily





    Click here for LINKS to manufacturers of nutrition and food supplements.

    Top of page