Controversy exists regarding the preventive effect of probiotics on the development of eczema or atopic dermatitis. We investigated whether supplementation of probiotics prevents the development of eczema in infants at high risk. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 112 pregnant women with a family history of allergic diseases received a once-daily supplement, either a mixture of Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4, B. lactis AD011, and Lactobacillus acidophilus AD031, or placebo, starting at 4-8 wks before delivery and continuing until 6 months after delivery. Infants were exclusively breast-fed during the first 3 months, and were subsequently fed with breastmilk or cow's milk formula from 4 to 6 months of age. Clinical symptoms of the infants were monitored until 1 yr of age, when the total and specific IgE against common food allergens were measured. A total of 68 infants completed the study. The prevalence of eczema at 1 yr in the probiotic group was significantly lower than in the placebo group (18.2% vs. 40.0%, p=0.048). The cumulative incidence of eczema during the first 12 months was reduced significantly in probiotic group (36.4% vs. 62.9%, p=0.029); however, there was no difference in serum total IgE level or the sensitization against food allergens between the two groups. Prenatal and postnatal supplementation with a mixture of B. bifidum BGN4, B. lactis AD011, and L. acidophilus AD031 is an effective approach in preventing the development of eczema in infants at high risk of allergy during the first year of life.
Copyright (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S