Probiotics May Help Fight the Growing Eczema Epidemic

October is National Eczema Awareness Month, a good time to review new information about treatment. Probiotic supplements such as Vidazorb® Chewable Probiotics, hold great promise for prevention and symptomatic relief of eczema.

Beltsville, MD, October, 2012 – Recent statistics show that one in ten children develop symptoms of eczema, an irritating itchy skin rash common in infants and children, before the age of five. While this is alarming news for parents, recent studies show that regular use of probiotic supplements like Vidazorb® may be the key to relief of eczema.

Eczema is not an allergy in itself, it is the body’s response to allergens such as food, fabric, grass, pollen and other environmental factors. These allergens trigger the skin’s response of incessant itching, hives and welts. Eczema flare-ups are sometimes the result of a specific irritant, but more often there is no obvious external cause for the rash. Intolerable itching can lead children to scratching themselves until their skin is red with sores, sometimes to the point of bleeding. Even though eczema is not contagious, the unsightly nature of the breakout can lead to alienation by other playmates and their parents.

The standard treatment for chronic eczema involves wearing soft cotton fabrics, taking lukewarm baths, using mild soap or non-soap cleansers and patting the skin gently to dry, applying moisturizer immediately after bathing, and avoiding extremes of weather and any personal triggers. Medical treatment often includes oral or topical steroids, which can be too harsh for a young child, and often, can actually worsen the situation.

Research has found that probotic supplements may relieve the itch of eczema. In clinical studies using bacterial strain, BB-12®, found in Vidazorb® probiotic supplements, infants that took probiotics developed less eczema, and if the infants already suffered from eczema, they had fewer incidents and greater improvement.(1) Another study in pregnant mothers of at-risk infants showed that those taking a mixture of probiotics beginning 2-4 weeks before delivery and continuing while breastfeeding saw significantly less eczema than would be expected in their infants.(2) The mechanisms by which probiotics work have to do with the way they change the bacterial composition and metabolic activity of the intestines. Friendly probiotic bacteria seem to crowd out harmful bacteria that produce inflammation and toxins making the gut more permeable to harmful allergens.

“While it is still too early to conclude that probiotics can prevent and treat eczema,” Registered Dietitian, Mary Hartley explains, “the science is promising, and parents who try Vidazorb® for their children’s eczema swear by it.”

V Kirjavainen, et al. (2002) Aberrant composition of gut microbiota of allergic infants: a target of bifidobacterial therapy at weaning? Gut 51: 51–55.
KWickens, et al. (2008) A differential effect of 2 probiotics in the prevention of eczema and atopy: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Allergy Clin Immunol 122: 788-794