Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taking probiotics while pregnant can lower eczema risk in kids

It's red, itchy and irritating to treat. Eczema can be a difficult to treat allergic skin reaction that can appear on infants' foreheads, cheeks, arms and legs or in the creases of elbows and knees in older kids.

A new study suggests that pregnant women who eat probiotic containing foods like yogurt and kefir or take supplements reduce their babies chance of developing eczema by forty percent.
Researchers with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology followed 415 pregnant women until their kids turned 2 years old.

As part of the randomized, double-blind study, researchers gave pregnant women who were 36 weeks pregnant, milk that contained probiotics and the other half received regular milk. Neither group knew which one they received. The mothers continued to drink the milk three months after they gave birth.

Researchers found mothers who drank the milk with probiotics reduced their child's chance of developing eczema by 40 percent and they say the kids in the probiotic group who did develop eczema had minor outbreaks.

Read more stories on Heather's Natural Health

Probiotic bacteria occurs naturally in the digestive track and can strengthen the immune system. This is the first time a study has suggested that pregnant women can add probiotics to their diet to improve their baby's health.

Parents typically try to avoid flare-ups of the autoimmune disease by eliminating known triggers including harsh soaps and bubble baths and keeping their kids' skin moisturized.

According to Consumer Reports Health, look for yogurt that contains the National Yogurt Association's Live and Active Cultures seal or if you prefer to buy a probiotic supplement, make sure it contains at least 1 billion lactobacillus.

Some foods that contain probiotics include:
Yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, tempeh (fermented soy) miso (Japanese seasoning) sauerkraut, kim chi.