Probiotics Studied On Eczema:  What Is The Evidence?

Probiotics Studied On Eczema: What Is The Evidence?

April 08, 2023

Are Probiotics for Eczema Effective?

Eczema is a common skin condition causing itchy dry patches of skin. It affects over 31 million Americans and 10%-20% of infants are prone to the condition. Eczema affects people of all ages but mostly happens in kids. 

The skin condition can highly affect one’s quality of life. In extreme cases, the skin can turn crusty and start bleeding. Therefore, dealing with the condition can be an everyday struggle. About 1/3rd of eczema patients spend 1-3 hours daily treating the problem. Could probiotics be a good solution besides other options like colloidal oatmeal for eczema? Read on to find out. 

Do Probiotics Work to Treat Eczema? 

It is believed that adding bacteria to a person's diet may lower or limit the number of eczema flares. Probiotics are good microbes that can improve the body's immune response and provide many health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of skin conditions like eczema. No evidence is there for any adverse effects of probiotics on eczema patients. 

In fact, a meta-analysis study ranked the safety and efficacy of all the studies that used probiotics to treat pediatric atopic dermatitis. A meta-analysis is a formal, quantitative, epidemiological study design that helps assess the outcomes of prior research systematically to reach conclusions about the same body of research. Usually, the study is based on controlled, randomized clinical trials. 

The above study was a review of 22 trials involving 1,420 kids (1 month - 18 years of age) with atopic dermatitis. Among them, 21 studies were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. The meta-analysis revealed that the probiotic preparation Mix1 is the most effective, and could reduce symptoms of the condition with high-certainty evidence (95% CI -2.65 to -1.24; SMD -1.94, 47 participants) compared with placebo. 


Interval plot of probiotic strains compared with placeboInterval plot of probiotic strains compared with placebo


Therefore, probiotics that are formulated with Mix1 (Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis CECT 8145, Lactobacillus casei CECT 9104, and Bifidobacterium longum CECT 7347) are highly effective to treat eczema.

Why Should You Take Probiotics for Eczema?

Among various kinds of eczema, the most common one is atopic dermatitis. If you learn the cause of the condition, you can understand why probiotics are often recommended for its treatment. Here's a look:

Eczema and the Immune System

Atopic dermatitis can get worse due to irritants and certain environmental factors. However, they don't cause this skin condition. It happens due to a faulty immune response, which causes the skin to be dry, inflamed, and cracked.

Since the cause is an immune response, it is often considered a good idea to embrace a treatment option like probiotics to support a healthy immune system. 

Healthful Bacteria and Probiotics

A major factor that decides the health of the immune system is the balance of bacteria in one's digestive system. People often use probiotics to manage the symptoms of eczema since these are believed to multiply healthful gut bacteria. 

That way, probiotics are thought to strengthen one's immune system. As a result of this, people can fight the faulty immune response that is responsible for the skin condition. 

What Probiotic is Not Good for Eczema? 

As you can see, because of the strain-specific effect of probiotics and mixed preparat
ions, it is difficult to recommend probiotics as a general class of supplement for treatment of pediatric atopic dermatitis. However, specific probiotic strains and mixed preparations may provide benefit for patients with eczema to relieve allergic symptoms.

For example, this comprehensive meta-analysis shows that one of the most popular and 
extensively studied probiotics, Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG® is not beneficial for eczema, and "has the most unfavorable treatment effect" for eczema when compared to placebo.  

Ask your doctor about using highly specialized probiotic strains as an adjunct therapy to treat eczema. Probiotics can also help improve the functioning of the digestive system and protect the gut barrier. 

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