Women who drink probiotic milk during and after pregnancy may be able to significantly reduce their children’s risk of developing eczema, according to a new European study.
For the study, a research team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology randomly assigned 415 expectant women to receive either probiotic milk or a placebo drink from week 36 of their pregnancy until three months after the birth of their child. The children were then followed until they reached the age of two.
At the point of follow-up the researchers found that the children born to women who consumed probiotic milk were 40 percent less likely to develop eczema than those born to control group participants. Furthermore, if children in the probiotic group did develop the skin condition, it tended to be less severe than average cases.
"We can say with great certainty that it was the probiotic bacteria alone that caused the difference in the incidence of eczema between the two groups," said Torbjorn Oien, one of the scientists involved in the research.
However, the probiotic milk did not lower the children’s risk of developing allergies or asthma.