Kiwis find bug to beat eczema
10th of September
The Dominion Post
Nick Churchouse and NZPA
Cheese-derived bacteria have been found to halve the prevalence of childhood eczema, which affects 30 per cent of Kiwi children up to the age of two.
A two-year study by Fonterra in conjunction with the University of Otago and Auckland University has singled out the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain as remarkably effective in reducing ezcema in children up to two.
Probiotics are live, naturally occurring micro-organisms that work within the digestive system to improve digestion and general health.
Otago University professor Julian Crane said the study investigated the use of two probiotic supplements in mothers and babies.
"Our study has found when you give pregnant women the probiotic supplement L rhamnosus during the last five weeks of pregnancy, and for six months after birth while mothers are breastfeeding, and then you give their infants the same probiotic up to two years of age, there is a 50 per cent reduction in eczema by the age of two."
The second probiotic tested, Bifidobacterium lactis, did not have the same results and acted more as a placebo, he said.
Fonterra director of ingredients marketing Donald Moore said the L rhamnosus probiotic was a boon for paediatric nutrition companies, which were already showing interest in putting it into their premium products.
He said the strain was not common and had great commercial potential.
Eczema affects 30 per cent of infants in New Zealand by the age of two, and the prevalence of the skin condition is increasing in New Zealand and around the world, though the reasons are not clear.
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