Probiotic Shows Long Term Benefits for Eczema Sufferers

NEW ZEALAND - A probiotic developed from dairy cultures by Fonterra Nutrition has been shown to have significant long term benefits for children suffering from eczema.
calendar icon 8 October 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

A probiotic developed from dairy cultures by Fonterra Nutrition has been shown to have significant long term benefits for children suffering from eczema; a condition that affects around 1 in 5 children in New Zealand, and has reported childhood prevalence rates of up to 20.5 per cent in some countries worldwide.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001™ was shown in a previous trial to help reduce the occurrence of eczema symptoms in children by almost 50 per cent when they took the probiotic up to two years of age. Now, a follow-up study published in the respected international journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy has shown that this reduction in symptoms continues through to four years old, even though the children stopped taking the probiotic at two years of age.

Fonterra Nutrition Senior Research Scientist Dr James Dekker said the results indicate that Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001™ may be able to modify the immune system early in a child’s development, to deliver long term benefits with no discernable side effects.

“Eczema affects millions of children worldwide, with around half the cases being diagnosed before one-year of age,” he said.

“The long term benefits shown by Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001™ are extremely encouraging and are particularly relevant in New Zealand which has one of the highest incidence rates of eczema in the world,” said Dr Dekker.

The study was carried out by the University of Otago’s Wellington Asthma Research Group, with funding provided by the New Zealand Health Research Council and Fonterra.

Professor Julian Crane, one of the study’s authors, said the latest findings showed that Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001™ has a long-term protective effect and could be an effective solution in reducing the risk of eczema development in children with a family history of allergy.

“This study adds support to the theory that the placement of beneficial bacterial cultures in the diet, through probiotics, may allow more control over infant conditions such as eczema even after supplementation has ceased,” he said.

Dr Dekker says these latest findings form part of Fonterra’s 75 year history in research and innovation exploring the benefits of dairy nutrition.

The follow-up study is part of a long-term clinical trial that started by giving probiotic bacteria or placebo to pregnant women two to five weeks from birth. Following the birth of their infants, the mothers continued with the supplementation for up to 6 months if breastfeeding, while their infants received the supplementation from birth through to two years of age.

Further research on Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001™, looking into its effect after six years is due to be released early 2013.

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