Even though probiotics have health benefits, preventing childhood asthma is not one of them, say researchers.
Principal investigator Meghan Azad, a Banting post-doctoral fellow in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, and her team reviewed data from 20 clinical trials in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan that involved more than 4,800 children whose mothers either took probiotics during pregnancy or gave probiotics to their babies in the first year.
The rate of doctor-diagnosed asthma was 11.2 per cent amoung infants who received probiotics and 10.2 per cent amoung babies who received the placebo.
Azad said that taking probiotics had no effect on the asthma rate, asserting that it can't really be advised as a strategy to prevent asthma.
She said that there's really good evidence that probiotics are beneficial to infants who are born pre-term and suffer from a bowel condition.
Azad said that there's also good evidence that probiotics might prevent eczema.
Her team made another interesting finding that warrants more research: babies who received probiotics as infants or in utero had higher incidences of lower respiratory infections.
The study has been published in the British Medical Journal this week.