There is no evidence probiotics can relieve the symptoms of eczema and there is evidence that they may occasionally cause infections and gut problems. These findings from The Cochrane Library come at a time when use of probiotics to treat eczema is increasing.
Eczema is an itchy skin condition that affects more than 1 in 20 people at some time in their lives and is especially common in children. Its cause is complex and not well understood, but sufferers do have different bacteria in their guts compared to unaffected people. Consequently, some nutritionists have suggested that eating live gut-dwelling bacteria, such as those found in probiotic yogurts and some infant formulas, could be beneficial.
“Some doctors are recommending probiotics as a cheap treatment for eczema, but having carried out a systematic review we have found no evidence that they work for treating eczema,” says lead researcher Robert Boyle of Imperial College, London, UK.
The Cochrane Researchers looked at 12 studies that together involved 781 children diagnosed with eczema. These studies compared severity of the disease in children given live bacteria to severity in those given a placebo. The researchers found that probiotics provided no significant health improvement.
Similar bacteria were given across all studies, so the researchers could not rule out the possibility that other strains might be beneficial. Moreover they found that in separate studies 46 patients had been reported to suffer side effects from using probiotics, including infection and bowel damage.
“There is no evidence that probiotics are a worthwhile treatment for eczema, and they may be harmful for certain groups of people,” says Boyle. “However, further studies of new probiotics are needed, because it is possible that different types of probiotics which haven’t yet been studied in eczema treatment could be more effective.”
Article: Boyle RJ, Bath-Hextall FJ, Leonardi-Bee J, Murrell DF, Tang MLK. Probiotics for treating eczema. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD006135. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006135.pub2.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- A Dimuon Particle At 30 GeV In ALEPH ??
- BPA-Free, With Regrets
- New President - Pivot To Moon On Way To Mars? Lunar Spelunking & Science Surprises
- Biofuels Are A Climate Mistake
- Who Is Trying To Destroy The Internet?
- Was Euclid A Black Woman? Sorting Through The False History And Bad Philosophy Of Mathematics
- Debunking: A President Of The US Could Order A Nuclear Attack At A Moments Notice On A Whim
- "I find your comment fascinating. As fate would have it, I was just logging in to post part 2, so..."
- "I will wait for Part 2 before I even think about comparing Hillary and Donald, and even then I..."
- "That's just two confusions. The first is that for decades astronomers have been looking for planets..."
- "Well mr walker apparently astronomers have been tracking this for the past few decades and absolutely..."
- "Nothing new here...."
- Is Modern Feminism Incompatible with Science?
- When All Else Fails, Bribing Kids to Eat Better
- Kathleen Gyllenhaal: 'IN UTERO' in Hollywood Q&A
- Herpes Vaccine Update: Dr. Halford Answers 'the Big Question'
- The media is not helping in the battle against SIDS
- Busted Breast Cancer Myths