Can probiotics prevent allergies?
Allergies have been on the rise for decades, and the possible causes are the subject of much debate...
Thousands of parents and parents-to-be worry about childhood allergies. Today, between 15-40% of young children are affected by eczema, asthma, hayfever and food allergies. Most children develop allergic sensitivity before the age of two. If a child develops atopic eczema during this time there is a greater than 50% chance that they will develop asthma before the age of 12. Constant use of antibacterial cleansers, disinfectants and occasional antibiotics in clean homes and play environments have resulted to kids being exposed to fewer microbes that the children of decades past.
Exposure to sufficient levels of the right kind of microflora seems to be critical in reducing the likelihood of the immune system developing allergies. Probiotics seem to be a safe method in offering the necessary early exposure to microflora, and potentially offer a way of significantly reducing allergy incidence. Over the past 10 years, several studies have shown a positive link between probiotics and reduced allergy incidence in infants. Pregnant mothers, infants and children could all benefit from probiotic intake, and help reduce likelihood of developing allergies further into life.
ProVen Baby Probiotic For Formula Fed Babies (£13.95, 30 day supply, provenbiotics.co.uk) has been developed specifically for newborn babies up to 12 months of age. It contains four types of friendly bacteria, which naturally form part of the microflora population of infants, and also a type of fibre called GOS which is found in high concentrations in breast milk and which helps make the friendly bacteria grow in the intestine of the baby.