Yogurt For Babies May Beat Allergies

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Feeding babies yogurt can lower their risk of allergies and eczema, a new study has found.

The research, conducted by scientists at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago, Wellington in New Zealand, looked at 390 mothers, who were asked about what they fed their babies in the first year of life.

Researchers regularly saw the babies to monitor signs of eczema and conducted a skin prick test for allergy when babies were a year old. “We found up to 70 per cent reduction in eczema and allergy in the first year of life for daily consumers,” said Dr Julian Crane, who led the study. “The more regularly yoghurt was given, the greater the effect.” 

The researchers say the results should encourage parents to consider feeding their infants plain unsweetened yogurt from six months of age, especially if they are worried about a risk of eczema or allergic disease.

However, researchers do not know whether the effect will last into later childhood. “Our study does not provide ‘proof’ that it is the yogurt that is responsible [to the reduction in eczema and allergies]. This would require a trial in which some infants get yogurt and some don’t. No such trial has yet been done,” warned Crane.

The study was published in late March in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

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