Another Link: Gut Bacteria and the Development of Atopic Dermatitis, Eosinophilia
by Dr. Frank Lichtenberger, MD, PhD
Several months ago I wrote a blog describing a review of the association with probiotics and the possible prevention of the development of eczema. It is very exciting to know that probiotics (good bacteria for the gut) may help a percentage of kids from developing eczema. But the previous review focused on the addition of “good bacteria,” and did not talk about “bad bacteria”. This most recent article, published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, address the possibility that “bad bacteria,” I.E. Clostridia in the gut may drive allergic inflammation in the blood stream (eosinophilia) and the skin (eczema).
While the study only looked at 24 kids, there was a strong association with the presence of Clostridia, with the kids that later developed eczema, when compared to children that did not have eczema. There were no major differences in other major gut microbes. The interesting thing to me is that this study was on kids that had NEVER had antibiotics, and these bacteria came from natural inoculation. While the association with eosinophilia is very interesting, it only suggests an increase tendency for developing allergies, as this is a non-specific marker of allergic inflammation.
Commercial testing for this type of bacteria in the stool is not widely available, and currently can only be sent through specialty labs.
Kefir and yogurt are great natural sources of probiotics, but they are dairy and there is a lot of overlap with cow’s milk food allergy and allergic conditions like eczema. For my patients, I will typically suggest lactobacillus case (probiotic), which is available with and without a prescription, and it does a great job surviving the stomach acid and re-populating the gut.
Here is a link to the original scientific article: http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(16)30177-6/fulltext