Probiotics offer potential treatment for eczema & allergies in children

Have you noticed the increase in children with eczema?
Did you know that probiotics can help to reduce the incidence of eczema & allergic reactions developing?

Most children develop allergic sensitivity in the first 2 years of life. If a child is diagnosed with atopic eczema during this time, then there is a great than 50% likelihood of progressing to develop asthma by the age of 12.

Key factors that contribute to this include the mothers predisposition to allergies, whopping cough, immunisation and antibiotic use. If there is maternal allergy it increases risk of allergy from 22 to 32%. Use of antibiotics before 2 years old is an even greater risk, increasing to an overall 38%. And a combination of all factors gives an overall risk factor of 67%[1].

What’s interesting about this is the role of antibiotics. Antibotics destroy all microflora (bacteria) both good and bad. We need a balance of microflora, the right type and the right amount for a healthy immune system and to help prevent it becoming “allergic”. The health of the mothers gut and microflora also play a role to ensure that adequate amounts are passed onto the infant. Research has shown that supplementing with probiotics can help to promote the correct development of the immune system and potentially lower the risk of allergy. Studies from 1998, 2001, 2007, 2009 and 2012 have revealed this.

A recent (2012) large, well-designed study revealed that those who took the Lab4b strain of probiotic were 57% less likely to develop allergic eczema that those receiving the dummy product and 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to the common allergens including pollen, cow’s milk, egg and house dust mite. In this study half of the mothers took 10 billion of the Lab4b probiotic per day during the last trimester and then gave the same probiotic to their newborn babies every day for 6 months following birth [2].

Biocare is a good quality brand regularly recommended by Nutritional Therapists. They have a product called “AnteNatal BioFlora” – a new specialised probiotic for use by women during pregnancy and it contains LAB4B. They also stock “Baby BioFlora” which has LAB4B and is suitable from birth.

Top tip from Discover Nutrition: avoid any hot drinks when taking your probiotic supplement as hot drinks can kill the probiotic microorganisms.

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1. Farooqi & Hopkin (1998) Early childhood infection and atopic disorder. Thorax 53:927-932

2. Allen SJ et al (2012) Probiotics and atopic eczema: a double-blind randomised controlled trial. Archives of Disease in Childhood 97: Suppl 1 A2

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