Bacteria can help prevent the development of infant eczema

Clinical studies presented at the International Symposium on Early Nutrition Programming in Granada in April have found that certain types of bacteria residing in the gut of babies with a family history of allergic conditions can reduce the number of babies who go on to develop eczema.

Babies' guts are colonised by bacteria after birth and acquiring the right balance of the different bacterial strains is important for developing effective gut immunity. Gut immunity is the first line of defence and prevents the absorption and over-reaction to any trigger molecule causing allergy. Breast milk contains antibodies and natural prebiotics, which promote the establishment of a healthy balance of gut bacteria, and exclusively breast-fed babies are less likely to develop eczema.

The studies presented at the symposium offer hope that, with the use of the right bacterial strains and appropriate prebiotic mixtures, babies' natural defences can be boosted and their risk of eczema reduced.

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August 2008

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