Probiotics during breastfeeding reduce allergic rhinitis risk in children
Delhi: Administration of Lactobacillus reuteri, a supplemental probiotic, to breastfed newborns reduces the risk of allergic rhinitis later in life, suggests a recent study. The results of the study were presented at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) 2020 Digital Congress.
According to the authors, probiotic addition to a child's diet changes microbiota composition.
Lilijana Besednjak-Kocijančič, from the Primary Paediatric Health Centre in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, and colleagues assessed 316 healthy-weight newborns who had parents with test-confirmed allergy.
All infants were breastfed for 4 to 6 months. The 115 infants in the probiotic group received five drops of L reuteri daily from the age of 4 weeks to 12 weeks. The 201 children in the control group were breastfed without any supplements. All children were followed by the same pediatrician until they were 9 years of age.
Key findings of the study include:
- During the follow-up period, 19.6% of the children had developed allergic rhinitis or allergic rhinoconjunctivitis — confirmed with elevated IgE and positive skin-prick tests — at some point.
- Children in the probiotic group were three times less likely to develop allergic rhinitis than those in the control group (4.3% vs 13.9%).
- For allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, the difference was less pronounced (8.7% vs 9.5%).
- The frequency of allergic rhinitis and the mean duration of episodes were "significantly lower" in the probiotic group than in the control group.
"Breastfed newborns who receive a supplemental probiotic — Lactobacillus reuteri — are less likely to develop allergic rhinitis later in life," concluded the authors.
The benefit of another probiotic, NVP-1703 — a mix of Bifidobacterium longum IM55 and Lactobacillus plantarum IM76 — in adults with allergic rhinitis was shown in separate study presented at EAACI by Min-Gyu Kang, MD, from Chungbuk National University Hospital in Cheongju, South Korea.