Probiotics may decrease atopic sensitization

September 3, 2013

The use of probiotics early in life may reduce atopic sensitization in children, a recent meta-analysis suggests.

 

The use of probiotics early in life may reduce atopic sensitization in children, a recent meta-analysis suggests.

Investigators from the University of Miami, citing clinical trials that demonstrate conflicting results regarding whether probiotics can reduce asthma and atopy in children, conducted a meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials to determine the effectiveness of probiotics in preventing asthma and atopic sensitization, according to the study.

When administered prenatally and postnatally, probiotics significantly reduced the risk of atopic sensitization (prenatal, relative risk, 0.88; P=0.035 for positive result on the skin prick test; postnatal, relative risk, 0.86; P=0.027 for positive result on the skin prick test).

Probiotics effectively reduced total immunoglobin E (mean reduction: -7.59 U/mL [95 percent confidence interval: -14.96 to -0.22]; P=0.044). Administration of Lactobacillus acidophilus was associated with increased risk of atopic sensitization (P=0.02) compared to other strains, researchers noted.

Probiotics did not, however, significantly reduce the risk of asthma and wheezing (relative risk: 0.96 [95 percent confidence interval: 0.85 to 1.07]).

“Prenatal and/or early probiotic administration reduces the risk of atopic sensitization and decreases the total IgE level in children but may not reduce the risk of asthma/wheeze,” researchers concluded. “Follow-up duration and strain significantly modified these effects. Future trials for asthma prevention should carefully select probiotic strain and consider longer follow-up.”

The findings were published online Aug. 19 in Pediatrics.

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