Combining probiotics and prebiotics to produce a symbiotic may reduce the severity of eczema in children, suggests new research from Taiwan with 60 children.
Supplements containing a combination of Lactobacillus salivarius and fructo-oligosaccharide for eight weeks were associated with significant reductions in measures of the severity of eczema, compared with a control group receiving only prebiotics, according to findings published in the British Journal of Dermatology .
Prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharide supplementation alone did improve eczema in the children, report researchers from Taipei Veterans General Hospital and National Yang-Ming University, but the effects were less than in the symbiotic group.
The study is said to be the first report showing benefits for eczema for L. salivarius.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD), is one of the first signs of allergy during the early days of life and is said to be due to delayed development of the immune system. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists it affects between 10 to 20% of all infants, but almost half of these kids will 'grow out' of eczema between the ages of five and 15.
The Taiwanese researchers recruited 60 children aged between 2 and 14 with moderate to severe eczema for their study, and randomly assigned them to receive prebiotics only (950 mg per day of fructo-oligosaccharide) or the synbiotics (950 mg of prebiotic plus 4 billion colony forming units of L. salivarius per day) for eight weeks.
Results of the study indicated that the measures of eczema obtained using the SCORing AD or SCORAD scale were signicantly reduced in both prebiotic and symbiotic groups, with the greater reductions observed in the symbiotic group.
In addition, the severity of the condition decreased in both groups. At the start of the study about 75% of the children in the symbiotic group had severe eczema with the other 25% having a moderate form. By the end of the study, fewer than 10% had severe eczema, with about 40% having moderate eczema, and over 50% having a mild form.
In the control, prebiotic only, group, about 60% of the children had severe eczema at the start with the rest having a moderate form. By the end of the study, about 20% still had severe eczema, with about 60% having moderate eczema, and about 20% having a mild form.
“We have shown that a novel strain, L. salivarius PM-A0006, had therapeutic efficacy for [ameliorating severity in] children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis when used in a synbiotic combination with a prebiotic, fructo-oligosaccharide,” wrote the researchers.
“During a short treatment period, the synbiotic combination showed superior efficacy for ameliorating the severity of atopic dermatitis compared with the prebiotic alone.”
The researchers added that continued follow-up would be necessary to elucidate the potential long term benefits of the symbiotic combination on eczema in children.
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Source: British Journal of Dermatology
January 2012, Volume 166, Issue 1, pages 129-136
“Lactobacillus salivarius plus fructo-oligosaccharide is superior to fructo-oligosaccharide alone for treating children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis: a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial of efficacy and safety”
Authors: K.-G. Wu, T.-H. Li, H.-J. Peng