Taking probiotics during pregnancy and then after birth would reduce the risk of eczema during the child’s first 11 years.
Why it’s important
The immune system of children is gradually built and the intestinal microbiota plays a role in this development. This is why probiotics, bacteria that contribute to the proper balance of the gut microbiota, also contribute to good immunity and can thus help prevent allergies.
It is against atopic dermatitis (or eczema) that probiotics seem most effective as anti-allergic treatment. The researchers believe that early eczema could predispose a child to develop other allergies. So by preventing eczema, probiotics could have a protective effect vis-à-vis other allergic diseases. And prevention is better than cure: in fact, a Chinese study shows that probiotics are more effective in preventing allergies than for their treatment.
In this new study published in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology , 474 pregnant women were separated into 3 groups. The first two groups received a supplement of one of two probiotics ( Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Bifidobacterium lactis ), the third group received a placebo. Supplementation started at an advanced stage of pregnancy (35 th week) and continued until weaning of the child. Probiotics were then administered to children from birth to 2 years of age. The children were followed until the age of 11 years.
Previous studies have shown the beneficial effect of probiotics on the risk of eczema at 2, 4 and 6 years of age. This time, the results show that Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001) supplementation halved the risk of eczema in children at 11 years old. The other probiotic ( Bifidobacterium lactis ) had no significant beneficial effect compared to placebo.
The probiotic supplement also protected children against asthma, hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and allergies (measured by a skin test with common allergens).
It seems that to be effective, probiotics must be taken before birth. Be careful, not all strains are effective. In terms of allergies, lactobacilli seem more effective than bifidobacteria. It takes a minimum of 1 billion (10 9 ) CFU per day and probiotic in general to observe therapeutic effects.
In the same way, omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy helps reduce the risk of eczema and allergies in children. Breastfeeding is also a way to prevent the risk of allergy in children, especially thanks to oligosaccharides in breast milk that act as prebiotics and affect the intestinal microbiota of the child. Finally, note that according to a Swedish study, giving fish to children under 9 months would also reduce the risk of eczema.