A new study has found that mothers who consume food with probiotics when they are pregnant and breastfeeding reduce their children’s risk of eczema. Milk, yogurt, and soya drinks are some of the most common sources for probiotics.
Probiotics are the “friendly bacteria” that we want growing in our digestive tracks. They help our bodies digest foods and can fight against some of the more harmful bacteria that tries to invade. As we learn more about the benefits of probiotics, more and more food companies are marketing foods with these bacterias in them. Now researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have given us yet another reason to enjoy probiotic foods.
The researchers looked at 415 pregnant women who were planning to breastfeed. Half of the women drank milk with probiotics from their ninth month of pregnancy until their babies were 3 months old. The other half of the women drank milk containing no probiotics. The women and infants were followed up two years later to see what the eczema rates were.
What the researchers found was that the children of mothers who drank the probiotic milk were half as likely to develop eczema, and those that did had less severe cases. Factors such as allergies, parental smoking, and feeding habits were all examined to see if they had any effect. Still, the mothers who drank probiotic milk had significantly lower rates of children with eczema.
This study adds to the growing list of benefits that probiotics offer. Previous studies had looked at how probiotics could help children who were already prone to eczema. This is the first study that looks at treating all children before birth and in the early months of breastfeeding.
More research needs to be done to see exactly how probiotics work against eczema, but for now researchers are certain that adding probiotics is a simple way to reduce eczema risks. – Summer, staff writer
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