Probiotic and Prebiotic Combo May be Best for Combating Childhood Eczema
Eczema is a common inflammatory skin condition in children that can persist into later life. A recent study suggests that synbiotics, which are a combination of probiotics and prebiotics, are most effective in combating eczema in children.
For this study, the researchers examined data from six treatment trials that included a total of 369 children between the ages of 0 and 14 and two prevention trials that included 1,320 children between the ages of 0 and 6 months. They found that taking probiotics in combination with prebiotics for eight weeks was associated with a significant reduction in the Severity Scoring Atopic Dermatitis index. However, the effect was only seen for children age one year and up. No effect was seen for infants under one year old.
The most significant reduction in atopic dermatitis symptoms was seen when mixed probiotic strains were used as opposed to single strain probiotics. The researchers also noted that while the synbiotics performed better than probiotics alone, there was no significant difference between prebiotics alone and synbiotics. They noted though that only two of the studies used prebiotics as a control and that those two studies had small sample sizes.
Researchers from the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan, conducted the study. It was published on March 1, 2016, in JAMA Pediatrics.
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut.
While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.
Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.