Probiotic administration prenatally and/or early in life decreased the risk for atopic sensitization and the total immunoglobulin E level in children but not the risk for asthma or wheeze, according to recent study findings published in Pediatrics.
“There was no difference based on timing of administration (prenatally to mothers plus postnatally vs. only postnatally) with regard to IgE, but the decrease in the risk of atopy was significant only when probiotics were started during pregnancy and continued after birth,” Nancy Elazab, MD, of the University of Miami, and colleagues wrote.
The metanalysis included randomized, placebo-controlled studies to evaluate the effect of probiotic supplementation on atopic sensitization and asthma and wheeze prevention in children.
Researchers found that probiotics reduced total IgE (mean reduction: –7.59 U/mL; 95% CI, –14.96 to –0.22) and was more pronounced with longer follow-up. Risk for atopic sensitization was also reduced when probiotics were administered prenatally (RR=0.88; 95% CI, 0.78-0.99). However, asthma and wheeze were not reduced with probiotics (RR=0.96; 95% CI, 0.85-1.07).
“We found that the administration of probiotics in early life may reduce total IgE and protect against atopic sensitization but does not appear to protect against asthma and wheeze,” researchers wrote. “Therefore, carefully selected probiotics administered during pregnancy and early infancy may have a role in the primary prevention of atopic diseases, particularly in high-risk infants. Future trials should consider specific strains of probiotics, longer follow-up times, and perhaps association with oligosaccharides, particularly when assessing the effects of probiotics in the reduction of risk of asthma and wheeze later in life.”
Disclosure: The researcher reports no relevant financial disclosures.