Any parent whose child experiences eczema knows how frustrating the skin condition can be. Small children and infants suffer dry, irritated skin that can become socially embarrassing in later years. Take your child to the doctor and most likely you’ll leave the office with a prescription for topical steroids. These might offer temporary relief but often don’t work long term and can weaken the skin over time. A mounting body of research is pointing to a surprising area for eczema treatment—the bacteria in your gut.
Each of us carries around trillions of helpful bacteria in our gut that are responsible for not just digestion but intricate cellular communication that may play a critical role in autoimmune conditions like eczema. One recent study at the University of Miami showed infants who received the Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic strain experienced a significant decrease in eczema. Other studies have demonstrated different probiotic strains to be effective in decreasing eczema in infants and young children.
So how do you get a small child, much less an infant, to ingest probiotics? Here are some tips to get probiotics into their diet:
- Taking a daily probiotic throughout pregnancy has been shown to lessen eczema, and it’s good for mom as well.
- If breastfeeding, continue taking the probiotics, and the healthy bacteria will be given to your child via breast milk.
- If formula feeding, look for a formula with probiotics.
- For older babies, consider foods that contain probiotics. Some companies are adding the healthy bacteria to infant cereals.
- Giving probiotics to your baby over one year old can be as simple as breaking open a capsule and sprinkling on food’check with your physician for proper dose.
- Yogurt and kefir that contain live cultures.
- Offering naturally fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut and miso soup to young children can help them develop a palate for these probiotic-rich foods.
- Juice with probiotics, like GoodBelly.