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Originally published November 11 2009

Probiotics found to reduce eczema and skin allergies

by Paul Louis, staff writer

(Natural News) Most health conscious people know of the positive effects on digestion from using probiotic supplements. Many take probiotic supplements after using antibiotics to replace the good intestinal flora bacteria indiscriminately killed during antibiotic use.

This practice is so well known that MD's have begun recommending probiotics during and after antibiotics.

But there is new evidence that probiotic benefits go beyond that. One area of investigative research is building the immune system's resistance to allergies that affect the skin. An obvious example of a skin's allergic reaction is eczema, which tends occur often with infants.

A recent Dutch study gathered over 150 pregnant women with allergic disease histories in their families. During the last six weeks of pregnancy, they were given either three strains of probiotics or an inactive placebo pill. Neither they nor the doctors knew which was which.

After those pregnant women gave birth, most of their children were monitored by the Dutch researchers. The children continued to receive probiotics or placebos for 12 months. After three months, the rate of eczema occurring among the probiotic subjects was less than half of those given only placebos.

There were no more probiotics or placebos administered to the children after 12 months. However, many were still observed up until age two. As they approached that age, the gap between eczema occurrences between the two groups, probiotic and placebo, narrowed somewhat.

But there was still a substantial difference. The study results were considered evidence that probiotics can have an effect on offspring from allergy-prone mothers, and the report was written up in the Journal of Allergy.

Another recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition involved probiotics administered to mice. This time the focus was on food allergies. The mice all had whey intolerances, and they were fed probiotics and prebiotics while drinking milk. With the help of probiotics, their intolerance to whey showed considerable improvement with almost no skin reactions.

Up to eight percent of children have various chronic food allergies. Extending this study to children may prove probiotics to be a useful natural remedy for eliminating food allergies.

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