Author: Mr. Myron Yau, Nutritionist at HK BioTek
In the past decades, scientists have been heavily discussing the association between probiotics/prebiotics and relief or prevention of eczema. Based on the natural properties of probiotics/prebiotics, long-term usage of them do not result in severe side effects like those caused by steroids. Therefore, if they are proven to possess eczema-relieving property, it will be a huge breakthrough in eczema treatment.
Indeed, there have been a number of research studies lighting up this hope. For example, a research results published in 2010 revealed that taking certain kinds of probiotics and prebiotics can significantly improve some parameters of clinical eczema symptoms in preschool children. But a study just published in 2014 indicated probiotics does not bear extra beneficial effect to the treatment. This shows controversy still persists.
On the contrary, taking probiotics as a preventive measure is more generally accepted by scientists. A meta-analysis published in 2014 included 27 different research papers and analyzed 2797 people’s data, discovering that probiotics supplementation during pregnancy and early infancy was indeed related to statistically significant reduction in risk of eczema. Surely, further investigation is still needed.
Gerasimov et al. Probiotic Supplement Reduces Atopic Dermatitis in Preschool Children: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Clinical Trial. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2010;11(5):351-61. Yang et al. Efficacy of Probiotic Therapy on Atopic Dermatitis in Children: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2014 May;6(3):208-15. Mansfield et al. Comparative Probiotic Strain Efficacy in the Prevention of Eczema in Infants and Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Mil Med. 2014 Jun;179(6):580-92.