We all know that the probiotics (beneficial bacteria) found in Stonyfield Farm yogurt can help enhance your digestive and immune health. What you might not know Â is that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus in the same quantity found in one serving of Stonyfield Farm yogurt has been shown to lower incidence and severity of eczema in toddlers, too. It's not just any yogurt. The specific probiotic cultures make a big difference.
What is eczema?
Eczema is the most common category of skin diseases. It's caused by both irritation and an immune response. It can be a skin reaction to something you came in contact with like a new detergent. Or you can have a skin reaction if you have a family history of allergic hypersensitivity or atopy. This skin irritation can be the response to a food allergy, exposure to respiratory irritants like dust mites or pollen, environmental or chemical irritants or because of psychological stress. Symptoms of eczema include redness, itching, crusting and weeping skin ulcers.
How common is eczema?
Eczema is thought to affect 10% of the general population. Prevalence has increased two- to threefold in industrial countries. Â It's upwards of 15-25% of dermatological patients.A study conducted on eczema prevalence in Sweden published in 2003 found that 14.6% reported having eczema. More women have it. It's linked to living closer to heavy traffic environments as well as to respiratory conditions like asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Eczema and Probiotics
In a recently published study from New Zealand, it was shown that with intake of the therapeutic probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus at the same level as one serving of Stonyfield Farm yogurt, there was reduced incidence and severity of eczema at one and two years of age. Pregnant women at 35 weeks gestation were given either L. rhamnosus, B. lactis or placebo. After birth, either probiotic or placebo was put in breast milk or water and syringe-fed. Children were evaluated at 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. Severity Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) was performed on all children in the study who had visible eczema. L. rhamnosus HN001 (the strain Stonyfield uses) was found to have a protective effect against the development of eczema at 1 and 2 years. Children receiving it had less eczema and the eczema symptoms were milder. The group receiving B. Lactis saw no difference from placebo. The specific strain of probiotic makes a difference. Based on the results of this study, there is the potential that through diet, one could help decrease the incidence and severity of eczema in a young child. For example, a pregnant woman could eat daily servings of Stonyfield Farm yogurt like YoMommy and then breastfeed her baby for at least 6 months while eating yogurt daily. Â She can introduce YoBaby Simply Plain at 6 months and provide YoBaby yogurt or other Stonyfield Farm varieties throughout the child's first 2 years. While incidence of eczema is increasing worldwide, it's good to know there are ways to potentially decrease it.
How common is Eczema?
Jon M. Hanifin; Michael L. Reed; Eczema Prevalence and Impact Working Group: A Population-Based Survey of Eczema Prevalence in the United States. Â Dermatitis. Â 2007;18(2):82-91.
Montnemery, P, et al: Prevalence of self-reported eczema in relation to living environment, socio-economic status and respiratory symptoms assessed in a questionnaire study BMC Dermatology 2003, 3:4.
Wickens, K., Black, P., Stanley, T., Mitchell, E., Fitzharris, P., Crane, J.: A differential effect of two probiotics in the prevention of eczema and atopy. Â World Allergy Organization Journal, Volume WAC 2007 Abstracts: S316, 2007. Â Â
Â Â Â RJ Â :o)
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