Mixing a type of beneficial or “probiotic” bacteria, Lactobacillus GG (LGG), into food helps reduce symptoms in allergic infants with the skin condition eczema, according to a report in the medical journal Allergy.
Previous reports have suggested that probiotic bacteria may be useful in reducing symptoms in food-allergic children. To investigate this further, Dr. Mirva Viljanen, from the University of Helsinki in Finland, and colleagues assessed symptoms in 230 infants with eczema and suspected allergy to cow’s milk.
The children’s food was mixed with capsules containing LGG alone, LGG plus three other probiotics, or inactive “placebo” for 4 weeks.
Following the treatment phase, milk exposure testing was performed and cow’s milk allergy was diagnosed in 120 infants, the authors report.
In the overall analysis, allergy symptoms dropped by 65 percent during the study, but no differences were observed between the treatment groups.
However, when the analysis was confined to subjects sensitized by a type of antibody called IgE, LGG alone, but not with the other probiotics, seemed to reduce symptoms compared with placebo.
Influencing the natural microbes in the intestinal tract “by administration of probiotic bacteria to treat allergy is a new alternative,” the authors state. The findings suggest that this may be a successful approach for some children with food allergy.
SOURCE: Allergy, April 2005.
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD