Probiotics belong to beneficial bacteria traditionally used as an alternative way to cure eczema. It is a common disease that has the form of itchy red skin. Scientists know about 400 strains of probiotics, and two of them are believed to fight eczema better than others. These are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
Probiotics are present in our bodies and in specific foods, such as kefir, yogurt and some fermented products. These bacteria are also marketed in dietary supplement form. Such supplements are used as a protection against immune dysfunction and help reduce inflammation that is usual for eczema.
Studies concerning probiotics have showed mixed results. One research has proved that such supplements lessen the severity of skin damage, the other has indicated no great effect.
The American Journal of Clinical Dermatology published a report saying that probiotics can prevent and treat atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema. Thirteen clinical trials on probiotics helped find their ability to be an effective way of treatment for AD. However, probiotics are able to reduce the severity of AD, but they are helpless in case of lessening inflammation.
According to the article published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, probiotics appeared to be no more effective than a placebo in dealing with eczema symptoms. Twelve clinical studies with more than 7 hundred patients even showed that the use of probiotics brings a small risk of adverse events like bowel dysfunction and infections.
Since eczema is a common disease in children because of their vulnerable immune system, it is important to be sure that probiotics can do no harm to them.
Research in this field are quite limited, and the available results are mixed. The review held by Pediatric Allergy and Immunology analyzed the effectiveness of probiotics against AD in children, and the scientists could not gather enough evidence to support their use.
Without limiting the preceding, the other study has shown that mothers-to-be that had been taking probiotic supplements during pregnancy had had a reduced risk of eczema. Investigators of the British Journal of Nutrition found that taking certain probiotics while pregnant helps prevent AD in children in the age from two to seven. What is more interesting, the most efficient bacteria was lactobacilli bacteria, and the mixture of different probiotics appeared to have almost no impact on eczema development.
If you are planning to begin taking probiotic supplements, you have to know that they interact with certain drugs. For example, with immunosuppressants. It is strictly recommended to consult your physician first. Only a professional can study the contents of the supplement properly and secure all guarantees.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers, as well as babies and people in medical conditions that require taking medications, should be careful, as the safety of taking such supplements has not been established.
One can buy probiotics in different healthy food stores and dietary centrums. It is possible also to find probiotics in cultured dairy products (kefir and yogurt). However, the number of active organisms there varies, as it depends on the processing method. Fermented food like kim chi, sauerkraut and miso also are rich in probiotics, but some consumers may have issues with digestive tract (bloating and gases) after eating such products.
Now scientists do not confirm that probiotics are effective in treating eczema, as there is not enough clinical evidence. Nevertheless, an increased daily intake of probiotics will do no harm and may even make your overall health better.
If you are considering taking probiotics or special supplements containing them, in order to lessen the severity of eczema of any other chronic disease, please, visit your health care provider prior to starting the new diet. Remember that self-treating and avoiding standard medical care may lead to negative consequences.