Infants who are given yogurt to eat every day may be less likely to suffer from eczema due to a reduced skin hypersensitivity to histamine.
Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, often arising before a child’s first birthday.
Previous reports have suggested that consuming probiotics during the perinatal and postnatal periods is associated with a reduced risk of atopic eczema in the infant, but until now it hasn’t been known why. The authors of this study aimed to discover what the mechanism might be.
Pending the publication of their study in full, they presented their abstract at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology/World Allergy Joint Congress held in March 2018 in Orlando, USA.
The authors’ hypothesis was based on reports that probiotic consumption is not associated with risks of other allergic conditions and does not appear to affect levels of IgE (immunoglobulin E), the antibodies that lead to an allergic reaction. Their preliminary results suggest that daily yogurt consumption may reduce skin hypersensitivity to histamine – thereby possibly reducing risk of eczema during infancy.
Mother and infant pairs were tested for skin hypersensitivity
To investigate whether probiotics could be reducing skin hypersensitivity, the authors carried out a cross-sectional study of 256 mothers with babies aged up to 6 months.
The mums were asked to complete questionnaires about food consumption perinatally and postnatally, and skin prick tests were used to assess skin response to histamine.
Daily yogurt consumption in infancy was associated with a reduced skin hypersensitivity to histamine
- Infants who had eczema showed a larger skin reaction to the histamine – as shown by the size of their wheals on the skin prick test – than those who did not have eczema.
- Among those without eczema, the reaction to the skin prick test was less in those who consumed yogurt daily than in those who did not.
- No association was seen between perinatal consumption of yogurt by the mothers and skin prick reactions, either in the mothers or their infants.
The authors conclude that these preliminary findings point to the need for further research into the potential role of probiotic / yogurt consumption in regulating skin hypersensitivity to histamine.
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