Probiotic may benefit children with asthma and rhinitis
MedWire News: Daily supplementation with the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri is associated with improved lung function and reduced symptoms in children with asthma and allergic rhinitis, results from a Taiwanese study show.
"Previous studies have suggested that probiotic administration may have therapeutic and/or preventive effects on atopic dermatitis in infants; however, its role in allergic airway diseases remains controversial," explain Jiu-Yao Wang (National Cheng Kung University, Tainan) and team.
For the current study, the researchers enrolled 105 schoolchildren, aged 6-12 years, with asthma and allergic rhinitis who were assigned to receive an L. gasseri supplement (n=49) or placebo (n=56) each day for 8 weeks.
All the children kept symptom diaries during the study period and underwent extensive clinical assessments at baseline and every 2 weeks, during which blood samples were also taken for analysis. The children also underwent lung function tests at baseline, at week 6, and at the end of the study period.
The researchers found that mean FEV1 increased significantly from 1.21 l to 1.52 l over the study period in the probiotic group, but only from 1.37 l to 1.42 l in the placebo group. Children in the probiotic group also experienced significantly greater improvements in forced vital capacity and nighttime peak expiratory flow rates over the study period than children in the placebo group.
Probiotic-treated children also showed significantly greater reductions in clinical symptom scores for both asthma and allergic rhinitis than placebo-treated children at the end of the study period.
Furthermore, treatment with L. gasseri was associated with significant reductions in tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12, and IL-13 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells, the researchers note in the journal Pediatric Pulmonology.
Wang and team conclude: "Probiotic supplementation may have clinical benefits for school children suffering from allergic airway diseases such as asthma and AR."
However, they add that further studies are needed to confirm their findings.
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By Mark Cowen