Researchers led by Dr Erick Forno analyzed results of 25 independent study trials that looked into the effect of mothers taking probiotics during the pregnancy or during the first year of their babies' lives and found that the babies had a 12 percent lower risk of developing allergies, except asthma, compared to children born to parents who did not take probiotics.
The researchers were unable to identify how exactly probiotics reduced allergy risk but suggested that it could increase the number of 'good bacteria' in the babies' gut and thereby improving their immune system.
"Our hope is that with the results from our study, researchers will move on from trying to determine 'if' probiotics help prevent allergies, and into 'how' or what the best approach may be. Doctors don't typically recommend for or against probiotics for pregnant women or young children, and it's still too soon to make that leap. Based on our findings, probiotics have a protective effect against allergies, but we still have things to learn before we can give general advice to the public", Dr Forno said.