Probiotic Milk During Pregnancy Stops Baby Eczema
Researchers say women who drink probiotic milk during and after pregnancy could reduce the chances their baby will develop eczema. Babies of women who drank probiotic milk beginning at week 36, and then during breast-feeding, were found to have almost half the incidence of eczema compared to babies whose mothers were given placebo milk.
The findings are part of a bigger project from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) called the Prevention of Allergy Among Children in Trondheim, or PACT, focused on childhood allergies that have been on the rise.
The researchers are also trying to find out if probiotic milk during pregnancy and breast-feeding could reduce the asthma in children but the study failed to find any benefit up to age 2.
Christian Kvikne Dotterud, a student in the Medical Student Research Programme at the Department of Community Medicine at NTNU explains, “The results showed that probiotic bacteria reduced the incidence of eczema in children up to age two years by 40 percent. And the kids in ‘probiotics group’, who did have eczema, had less severe cases.”
Past studies have shown that children who consume probiotics have fewer allergies. “Our study is the first to show that certain probiotic bacteria given to the mother during pregnancy and breast-feeding prevents eczema,” says Dotterud.
Included in the study were 415 pregnant women and their children who the Norwegian scientists followed until age 2. The researchers note the probiotics given to mothers during and after pregnancy were responsible for the 40 percent reduction in eczema seen in the children. Neither the mothers nor the researchers knew who was receiving probiotic milk and who was given placebo milk.
There has been some skepticism about giving probiotics to infants, leading the researchers to give it to the mothers instead. All of the women planned to breastfeed. The scientists say they believe probiotics have a "positive" effect on breast milk.
The type of bacteria added to the pregnant mothers’ milk was the Norwegian product Biola from Tine SA that contains LGG ®, Lactobacillus acidophilus (La-5) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bb-12). Of the three probiotic types LGG ® is the most widely used on the market and the most studied for its health benefits. The study suggests the benefits of probiotics likely come from consuming a variety of strains, even those that have been less extensively studied.
The scientists plan to screen the children at age 6 to find out if probiotic milk consumed during pregnancy followed by breast-feeding reduces asthma as well as eczema. The study is part of an impetus to find interventions that can reduce allergies in children.
The current findings show that mothers of babies given probiotic milk during and after pregnancy reduced the incidence of eczema in their babies by 40 percent.
The mothers drank one glass of probiotic milk a day during pregnancy and breast-feeding to reduce the chances of eczema in their babies.