How effective are probiotics for eczema in adults, children, babies and infants? How are they linked to skin health? Can they help treat eczema? What do studies say? Read on to find out. Also discover the best probiotics to help deal with eczema
Probiotics and Eczema-How good are Probiotics for Eczema?
Rigorous scientific evaluation has been ongoing since the pros of probiotics were discovered by the Nobel Laureate, Elie Metchnikoff in the early 20th century. In his postulation, Ellie proposed that the lactic acid bacilli may elicit some beneficial effects on the health of an individual. They have since been discovered to be good anti-inflammatory agents. Later on, studies showed a correlation between the gut, the brain and the skin. This important pathway has been extensively used in the review of the efficacy of probiotics as a treatment regimen for eczema.
What is eczema?
Also atopic dermatitis, is an itchy, red rash that may appear all over the body including the elbows and behind the knees on which it is the most prevalent. They may also appear on the scalp, chest and back. In both adults and children, it mostly appears on the neck, ankles and wrists. The symptoms of eczema however alleviate as children grow older. The itching on the skin may be so intense that it aggressively scratched, may cause bleeding that may lead to more inflammation and even raised risks of infection. Eczema may be:
- Atopic eczema
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- Adult seborrheic eczema
- Irritant contact dermatitis
- Infantile seborrheic eczema
- Varicose eczema
- Discoid eczema
How good are Probiotics in eczema Treatment?
The use of probiotics in the treatment of the different types of eczema has had results that cannot be regarded as definitive. Studies have been conducted and some of the results show that there is a connection between probiotics and alleviation of eczema. Others show that with administration of probiotics, there is little or total void of improvement.
According to a research report published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology in 2008, probiotics can be indicated for the treatment of eczema especially the type atopic dermatitis. To the authors of this report, half of the total number of clinical trials done on probiotics proved useful while the other half showed failure of probiotics in the reduction of the signs and symptoms of eczema.
According to another research published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, probiotics expressed effectiveness too little to merit a placebo. In fact, 12 clinical trials done on probiotics showed that they carry risks of adverse side effects such as bowel dysfunction.
Another study did not quite show the relation between the dysbiosis and acne but at least gave leverage to the existence of the gut-brain-skin axis theory. This study done in China had results showing the correlation between the impairment of normal gut flora and dandruff. Dandruff is scientifically referred to as seborrheic dermatitis. This study still shows that this axis sure may lead to the occurrence of skin conditions such as acne (Zhang H, Yu L, Yi M, and Li K)[i]
In a study done in 2011, infants with colonies of Lactobacilli showed less susceptibility to allergic diseases. This showed that there is a correlation between maternal microbiota and the prevention of allergies. Microbial diversity with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria early in life reduce the risk of developing allergic diseases as opposed to colonization by Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile[ii] (Sjögren YM, Jenmalm MC)
Probiotics are also able to modulate the immune responses that may otherwise lead to a pro-inflammatory profile in the presence of allergens. This is useful in the treatment of allergic diseases such as eczema.
Therefore, probiotics can elicit a beneficial action in the treatment of eczema from the majority of the mechanisms in its approach.
Probiotics for Eczema dults-How do they help treat Eczema in Adults?
Based on clinical evidence, recommendations have been formulated by Family Physicians in America (AAFP 2008) and one of the best include its ability to reduce the incidence of atopic dermatitis in at-risk infants. This occurs as preliminary support against the symptoms.
Doses as high as 3-50 billion CFU/dL of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium in a single or multistrain probiotics are the most effective in the treatment of eczema.
The mechanism behind the action of probiotics in eczema may be microbiological, immunological, epithelial and gut-brain-skin axis. They maintain the balance of the normal flora in the intestine hence reducing the number of pathogenic flora. This happens when the beneficial bacteria compete with the harmful bacteria for the limited nutrients in the gut. They also prevent the invasion of pathogenic bacteria through the intestinal epithelium that may otherwise see them into circulation. Such an effect may be seen on the skin as allergic reactions.
By modulating the pathogenic bacteria, the immune system is ‘augmented’ and immune messengers that are involved in inflammation are also not triggered[iii].
Topical probiotics provide a layer on the skin that protects against invasion by bacteria too therefore preventing the occurrence of inflammation and rashes.
In expectant mothers, taking probiotics will:
- Improve the symptoms of colic
- Help prevent childhood allergies
Probiotics for Children, Babies & Infants with Eczema
Probiotics for Children and babies with eczema
Researchers at Milan and Paris Universities, in their analysis of the effectiveness of probiotics in the prevention of eczema in babies, showed that it offered protection against the disease. 6500 babies were administered with probiotics with lactic acid bacteria. Breastfeeding and expectant mothers in the last 14 days also took this probiotic. The babies involved in this study had some genetic pre-disposition to allergic diseases. 34 out of 100 babies not on the supplements got eczema while 26 of 100 babies taking probiotics got eczema. Therefore 8 in 100 babies are saved from this allergy.
Probiotics and eczema in
There is however significant risk with probiotics in infants even though he/she is healthy. It is therefore not in order to rush for a probiotic once your child has eczema. There are way better treatments for eczema that are even faster in relieving the symptoms.
Best Probiotics for Eczema Treatment
Here are a number of brands that are well recognized and you could choose from.
- Acidophilus cultures
- Kefir Grains
- Jarrow formulas for Adults or Kids
- HMF Forte
- Klaire Labs
How is a video with information on how gut healthy can improve skin
References and Sources
- [i] Quantitative studies on normal flora on seborrheic dermatitis.
- [ii] Altered early infant gut microbiota in children developing allergy up to 5 years of age. Sjögren YM, Jenmalm MC, Böttcher MF, Björkstén B, Sverremark-Ekström E. Clin Exp Allergy. 2009 Apr; 39(4):518-26.
- [iii] Boza, a natural source of probiotic lactic acid bacteria. Todorov SD, Botes M, Guigas C, Schillinger U, Wiid I, Wachsman MB, Holzapfel WH, Dicks LM J Appl Microbiol. 2008 Feb; 104(2):465-77.