Probiotics during pregnancy associated with lower eczema risk for kids

Probiotics during pregnancy associated with lower eczema risk for kids

Women who take probiotics while they’re pregnant and breastfeeding could be less likely to have children with eczema, Reuters reports.

Probiotic use during this period is associated with a 22 percent lower risk of young children developing eczema, research review suggests.

There was already some evidence that probiotic exposure in early life may reduce risk of eczema in an infant,” said senior study author Dr. Robert Boyle of Imperial College London and the University of Nottingham in the UK.

This study makes it clearer that maternal probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding seem to protect infants from eczema, whereas probiotics added to an infant’s diet directly do not seem to protect infants from developing eczema, Boyle added.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 400 studies including a total of about 1.5 million people. Most of the trials focused on the bacteria lactobacillus, a common probiotic in yogurt and other fermented foods.

These studies found a reduced eczema risk for kids when their mothers took probiotics during the final weeks of pregnancy and the first six months of breastfeeding.

Avoiding potentially allergenic foods like nuts, dairy and eggs during pregnancy didn’t appear to influence a child’s risk of eczema, the study also found.

Another supplement, fish oil, was associated with a lower risk of egg allergies in kids.
One limitation of the current study is that the small trials in the analysis varied in duration, how they assessed mothers’ diets and supplement use, and how they determined whether children developed allergies or eczema, the authors note in PLoS Medicine.