A study from Ukraine has found that supplementation with probiotics benefits children with atopic dermatitis (eczema).
In the study 90 preschool children (ages 1 to 3 years) with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis were randomly divided into two groups to receive either a probiotic or an equivalent placebo (dummy pill) twice a day. The probiotic contained a combination of L. acidophilus DDS-1 and B. lactis UABLA-12 with fructooligosaccharides (FOS).
After four weeks both groups demonstrated a decrease in SCORAD indexes (scoring of atopic dermatitis); the decrease in the group taking probiotics was almost 34 per cent after eight weeks, while the placebo group demonstrated a decrease of 19 per cent. Corresponding changes in immune parameters were observed.
Several clinical studies have demonstrated mild to complete resolution of AD following treatment with probiotics while others have suggested the effect is limited to select children with atopy (hypersensitivity). In a trial reported in The Lancet researchers administered a probiotic prenatally to mothers with a family history of atopic eczema, hayfever, or asthma, and postnatally for 6 months to their infants; the incidence of atopic eczema in the probiotic group was half that of the placebo group.
White blood cells called killer T-cells, a major part of the immune response, are divided in Th1 and Th2; many researchers regard allergy as a Th2 weighted imbalance. Babies tend to be born with Th2 biased immune responses; this imbalance is rapidly shifted postnatally under the influence of bacterial exposure, which would explain the apparent efficacy of probiotics.