Children whose mothers took a daily probiotic supplement (Lactobacillus reuteri)
beginning in the 36th week of pregnancy and who took a daily L. reuteri
supplement in the first year of life had significantly less skin allergy (eczema). At 24 months, 8% of kids who took L. reuteri
had allergy-related eczema compared to 20% of those who took placebo. Researchers also found that 14% of kids who took L. reuteri
were sensitive to a skin-prick allergy test compared to 31% for placebo. Infants with eczema have higher risk for allergic asthma and hay fever later in life. Doctors believe that probiotics are anti-inflammatory and improve the immune system in the gut.