Can pro­bi­otics ef­fec­tively treat eczema?

Truro Daily News - - LIFESTYLES - Drs. Oz & Roizen

Q: My mom has eczema, and I heard eat­ing pro­bi­otics can al­le­vi­ate her symp­toms. Is there any truth to that? — Amy D., Du­luth, Minn.

A: Yes, pro­bi­otics may help con­trol eczema, es­pe­cially when used in con­junc­tion with other treat­ments, such as cor­ti­cos­teroid creams and oint­ments. Pho­tother­apy also can be ef­fec­tive. Your mom should check with her der­ma­tol­o­gist to de­ter­mine her best ap­proach.

The most com­mon type of eczema, atopic der­mati­tis, af­fects one in seven chil­dren and one in 50 adults. It’s trig­gered by im­mune-sys­tem mal­func­tion (there’s a com­pro­mised skin/im­mune bar­rier). An­other com­mon form of eczema, con­tact der­mati­tis, is an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion. An­ti­his­tamine meds such as Be­nadryl can re­lieve symp­toms in the short term.

There’s a nat­u­ral con­nec­tion among bol­ster­ing your im­mune sys­tem, bal­anc­ing your bac­te­ria with pro­bi­otics and re­liev­ing symp­toms of eczema. One study in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Der­ma­tol­ogy found that “pro­bi­otics, es­pe­cially L. rham­no­sus GG, seem to be ef­fec­tive for the pre­ven­tion of atopic der­mati­tis. They also were found to re­duce the sever­ity of AD in ap­prox­i­mately half of the tri­als the re­searchers re­viewed.” Cul­turelle and some other brands con­tain strains, in­clud­ing L. rham­no­sus GG, in the lac­to­bacil­lus GG lin­eage.

In ad­di­tion to tak­ing sup­ple­ments, you can choose more pro­bi­otic-con­tain­ing foods, such as fat-free yo­gurt, kim­chi, sauer­kraut, miso (miso soup), ke­fir, sour­dough bread, nat­u­rally fer­mented sour pick­les, tem­peh and, of course, dark cho­co­late.

To help pro­bi­otics do their job, you want to sup­ply those good bac­te­ria with the foods they need to flour­ish: those are called pre­bi­otics. Pre­bi­otic treats for your pro­bi­otic res­i­dents in­clude legumes (beans and peas), as­para­gus, Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes, ba­nanas, whole-grain oat­meal and even a lit­tle red wine.

We bet that if your mom boosts her diet with pre- and pro­bi­otics, she’ll see im­prove­ments in her over­all health and her eczema.

And she’ll de­rive other ben­e­fits, too: some stud­ies show that pro­bi­otics im­prove glu­cose and blood pres­sure con­trol. Mehmet oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. oz Show,” and Mike roizen, M.D. is Chief Well­ness of­fi­cer and Chair of Well­ness In­sti­tute at Cleve­land Clinic. Email your health and well­ness ques­tions to Dr. oz and Dr. roizen at youdocs­daily@share­care.com.

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