Probiotics have recently gained popularity with the general public for its “good” bacteria. Several supplements and food and drinks boast the positive impacts that their probiotic-containing products have on gastrointestinal symptoms, yeast infections, and the overall immune system. The benefits of probiotics have mostly been researched on gastrointestinal illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and have shown positive results. However, the effect of probiotics has seldom been studied the other issues, and even if they have, results have been inconclusive.
Gerasimov et al. in Ukraine studied the effects of probiotics on moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, in children aged one to three years. 90 children were included in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The children in the treatment group received a combination of two types of probiotics--L. acidophilus DDS-1 and B. lactis UABLA-12, along with fructo-oligosaccharide (a natural sugar that promotes the growth of probiotics)--in a dosage of 5 billion colony-forming units; this dosage was taken twice per day for eight weeks. Improvement in the symptoms of eczema was measured by the changes in Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) scores, as well as Infant Dermatitis Quality of Life (IDQOL) and Dermatitis Family Impact (DFI) scores; use of topical corticosteriod and various lymphocytes (white blood cells that help to defend the body against disease) from blood tests were also measured.
The researchers found that at the end of the study, the treatment group had a 33.7% reduction in their SCORAD scores, compared to a 19.4% reduction in the control group. The treatment group also had a greater reduction in IDQOL and DFI scores, as well as use of topical corticosteriod. Not all of the types of lymphocytes were different between the treatment and placebo groups. However, the percentage of two lymphocytes that indicate inflammation decreased and the percentage of a lymphocyte that destroys harmful substances increased in the treatment group. All of these findings were statistically significant.
Gerasimov et al. concluded that a supplement containing a mixture of L. acidophilus DDS-1, B. lactis UABLA-12, and fructo-oligosaccharide in a dosage of 5 billion colony-forming units would provide significant clinical improvment in children with eczema. However, further studies need to be completed on the effects of probiotics in adults with eczema.
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