Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Probiotics Given in Early Life: Can They Really Reduce the Risk of Atopy and/or Asthma?

We are reading more and more about probiotics, the organisms that live in our intestinal system and are felt to keep us healthy. Yet how strong is the evidence that supplemental probiotics make a difference in reducing the risk of atopy or asthma?

Elazab et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-0246) attempt to answer this question by providing us with a meta-analysis of clinical trials reported to date in regard to probiotic supplements given pre- and post-natally and whether they can reduce IgE levels, in turn reducing the incidence of atopy and asthma in infants and children. Interestingly enough, atopy seems to benefit, as does a reduction in IgE, but asthma doesn't.

If this doesn't make sense to you, I encourage you to read the article carefully and gain a better understanding so you too can be a pro when it comes to talking with your patients about probiotics and the strength of the evidence that they do or don’t work in reducing the incidence of some diseases.