The role of probiotics in the management of allergic disease

Clin Exp Allergy. 2006 May;36(5):568-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2006.02472.x.


Probiotics have recently been advocated for the prevention and treatment of allergic disease (AD). In clinical practice they are increasingly being used for these purposes. Here we review the evidence base for the use of probiotics in the management of AD. We find support for their use in the treatment of childhood eczema, but the clinical significance of any treatment effect is uncertain. There is also evidence to support the use of probiotics in the prevention of childhood eczema. However the available evidence suggests that probiotics are not an effective treatment for allergic airway diseases. Probiotics may be more effective when used early in life, and they may have a particular role in gastrointestinal AD. The relative efficacy of different probiotic strains in the management of AD is not well established, and further work is needed to establish their mechanisms of action. In summary probiotics are likely to play a part in the management of childhood eczema in the future, and further studies are warranted to precisely define their role.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diet therapy
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Bifidobacterium / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diet therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / microbiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diet therapy
  • Food Hypersensitivity / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diet therapy*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / microbiology
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Lactobacillus / immunology
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / diet therapy
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology