Probiotics help relieve eczema

Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium to the rescue again, this time for eczema...

Probiotic Supplementation Decreases Atopic Dermatitis

Source: American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

Atopic dermatitis is often referred to as “eczema,” which is a general term for several types of inflammation of the skin and is the most common of the many types of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects the skin. It is not contagious; it cannot be passed from one person to another. In atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes extremely itchy. Scratching leads to redness, swelling, cracking, “weeping” clear fluid, and finally, crusting and scaling. In most cases, there are periods of time when the disease is worse (called exacerbations or flares) followed by periods when the skin improves or clears up entirely (called remissions). As some children with atopic dermatitis grow older, their skin disease improves or disappears altogether, although their skin often remains dry and easily irritated. In others, atopic dermatitis continues to be a significant problem in adulthood.

Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria that lives in the digestive, urinary and genital systems. It is also in some fermented foods such as yogurt and in dietary supplements. Lactobacillus is used for treating and preventing diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, inflammation of the colon, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, respiratory infections, skin disorders.

Bifidobacteria are bacteria that exist primarily in the large intestine although some also inhabit the lower part of the small intestine. To date, 28 species of bifidobacteria have been isolated from the intestines of humans and animals. The following five are the predominant species that occur in humans: Bifidobacteria bididum (bifidus), B. infantis, B. breve, B. adolescentis, and B. longum.

Researchers investigated the effects of a supplement containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium with fructo-oliogosaccharide in the treatment of preschool children with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective trial involved 90 children who were administered either the probiotic or placebo for 8 weeks. The percentage in Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) value was the main outcome measure. Other measures were Infant Dermatitis Quality of Life (IDQOL) and Dermatitis Family Impact (DFI) scores, use of topical corticosteroid and lymphocyte subsets in peripheral blood. The results were a 34 percent decrease in SCORAD was observed in the probiotic group in comparison to a 19 percent decrease in the placebo group. There was a 33 percent decrease in IDQOL and a 35 percent decrease in DFI in the probiotic group compared to a 19 percent and a 24 percent decrease, respectively, in the placebo group. These results indicate that the probiotic was significantly effective in treating atopic dermatitis in children.1

1 Gerasimov SV, Vasiuta VV, Myhovych OO, et al. Probiotic supplement reduces atopic dermatitis in preschool children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2010;11(5):351-61.

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