Pregnant women who take probiotic supplements reduce the risk of eczema by 40 percent in their children for the first four years of life, according to a study published in May 2003.
The study was comprised of 132 at-risk children whose mothers were given either lactobacillus or a placebo for four weeks before giving birth. After birth, mothers who breastfed continued taking supplements for six months.
The research also suggests the supplements prevent or reduce the risk of asthma, though no firm conclusion was reached because the ailment doesn’t normally develop for several years.
Of 53 children exposed to lactobacillus, only 14 developed eczema after four years, compared with nearly half of those who did not get the supplement. Concentrations of exhaled nitric oxide, a marker for asthmatic lung inflammation, were significantly higher in children who did not receive lactobacillus in the womb.