A new study out of Spain suggests daily probiotic supplementation could help reduce symptoms of the skin disorder atopic dermatitis (AD). Amazingly, researchers believe probiotics might be just as effective at managing AD as prescription steroid creams.
In total, 50 children with mild AD took part in this study. Researchers gave half of the participants specific strains of probiotics and the other half a placebo pill which they took every day from March until June of 2016. All of the children were between the ages of four and 17.
Before the study began, doctors made sure all of the children had no official diagnoses of irritable bowel syndrome or another gut disorder. None of the children involved in this study were on any immunosuppressants.
After 12 weeks, study authors measured each child’s symptoms using the standard Scoring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) test. Percentage-wise, the group that took probiotics had an 83 percent reduction in symptoms compared with a 24 percent decline in the placebo group. The greatest improvement researchers noted was that children in the probiotic group had fewer eczema rashes.
Children were allowed to use topical steroids during the course of this study. Researchers note that children who were on probiotics used topical treatments less often than the control group.
Interestingly, when asked if they felt any better after the 12-week study period, most study participants said they felt better. 77 percent of children in the probiotic group said they felt better and a shocking 53 percent of kids in the placebo group said they felt their symptoms were better.
According to their research, study authors conclude an imbalance in gut microbiome has a definite link with AD symptoms. Although more research is needed, they believe a multi-strain probiotic supplement could help AD sufferers manage their symptoms.
Researchers note, however, that they used specific bacterial strains not found in all probiotic supplements. The probiotic pills researchers gave their study participants had 109 different probiotic strains including Lactobacillus casei and Bifidobacterium lactis.
Head authors on this study include Drs. Vicente Navarro-López and Ana Ramírez-Boscá, both of whom work at the Universidada Católica San Antonio de Murcia. All of this research took place in the Southeastern port city of Alicante, Spain.
This study was published in a recent edition of JAMA Dermatology under the title “Effect of Oral Administration of a Mixture of Probiotic Strains on SCORAD Index and Use of Topical Steroids in Young Patients With Moderate Atopic Dermatitis A Randomized Clinical Trial.”