We all have heard about the benefits of certain supplements for pregnant women, infants and children. Well, probiotics may soon be joining fish oil, folic acid, and multivitamin in this genre. A study on probiotics and pregnancy indicates that giving probiotic supplements to pregnant women can reduce risk of developing allergies in children.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are fairly new entrants to the health supplements world and are to be among considered the “new” health miracles. Nevertheless, probiotic supplements have quickly become some of the most popular in the market today.
There is some debate about how to define probiotics. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines probiotics as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Yes, they are actually alive, and most of these microorganisms are bacteria. Most people think of antibiotics and antibacterial products when you mention bacteria. (MedicineNet: Probiotics)
In lose terms, probiotics can be defined as good or “friendly” bacteria that help us fight bad bacteria. They are often consumed naturally in a diet consisting of fermented foods such as cultured milk and yogurt. Needless to repeat, but I will do so all the same, you can also get them via supplements.
While probiotic supplements have mainly been used to promote digestive health, a recent study indicates there could be more to them. According to the study, giving probiotics to pregnant women and infants could reduce risk of children developing allergies later in life, by as much as 50 percent.
The double-blind placebo controlled study was run by the College of Medicine at Swansea University and has been submitted to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology by Professor Stephen Allen who is also presenting the data in detail to healthcare professionals next week.
The study was conducted on 454 mothers-infant pairs, who took a daily dose of ProVen Lab 4 Probiotics produced at a plant in Port Talbot, from 36 weeks of pregnancy and during the first six months of life.
The babies were assessed at two years of age and it was found that those taking the probiotic significantly reduced their chance of becoming allergic to common allergens such as pollen, cat dander, house dust mite, cow’s milk and eggs by 50%.
Moreover, the risk of the children developing atopic eczema was reduced by 60%! See original story
The study appears to have been sponsored by ProVen™ Probiotics, said to be one of the most extensively trialed supplements in the UK. Interesting findings, all the same.