There are a plethora of studies showing the benefits of probiotics during second and third trimesters of pregnancy. One of the supplements I always recommend during pregnancy are probiotics. Research has shown they are particularly important in the latter stages of pregnancy.
There was just another study released showing the benefits of a particular strain known as Lactobacillus GG for infant dermatitis. (You’ll find Lactobacillus GG on the shelves everywhere under the brand name “Culturelle”. This product has by far the most research of any probiotic. However that is because it has the most financial backing of any probiotic. In my clinical experience there are many different strains and brands of probiotics that can be used effectively.)
In Chinese medicine the skin is a reflection of the Lung system which is connected to the Large Intestine system. In Functional Nutrition it is known that skin issues are often a reflection of gut/digestive imbalances. When someone comes to see me for a skin issue I always look to the gut first. The gut contains over 70% of our immune system and skin problems such as dermatitis are often immune related. With this particular study of infant dermatitis they hypothesized that gut immune function can be improved by administering the probiotics. The gut immunological markers significantly improved in the probiotic treated group. However at the end of the study the dermatitis of both the treated and non-treated groups were not significant. There may be several reasons – one may be because they did not give the probiotics for a long enough period of time (only 1 month). The other is that only certain infants may respond, such as those that have high IgE levels. (Children and adults with high IgE levels tend to have a good first line of defense and get few colds, but they also can develop many allergies. How much IgE we have is basically genetically passed down from the parents.). However there are studies that show the benefit of probiotics with skin issues and I can say clinically I’ve seen many people with skin issues benefit from probiotics.
So in general I do suggest that all women in 2nd and 3rd trimester take a good probiotic. I also strongly suggest that any infants or children that have skin issues or digestive issues (constipation being very common) try a probiotic. For infants get one that you put on the tip of your finger and they can suck on your fingertip. For our toddler he loves it right off the spoon as the one we use has a sweetness to it because it is grown on rice. (not all probiotics have a sweet taste to them so try to find one your child will like, they are out there.) Probiotics are being discovered as great modulators of the immune system and may prevent many health issues.
Yours In Health,
NCCAOM Chinese Herbalist
CBNS Certified Nutrition Specialist.