Supporting a Healthy Microbiome for the Primary Prevention of Eczema


Eczema is increasing worldwide with associated increases in health costs and decreases in quality of life. There are many factors that are speculated to interact in the development of eczema including genetics and environmental exposures. Prevention of the development of eczema may prevent the further development of food allergies and asthma. This concept has prompted a variety of research into the area of primary prevention of eczema in infants. This exploration includes a growing body of research examining infants supplemented with probiotics, prebiotics, or both (synbiotics) often compared with their breastfed counterparts. The goal of this paper is to examine the evidence for manipulating the microbiome in the prevention of eczema. Several strains of probiotics, compositions of prebiotics, and varied combinations of both are commercially available. Evidence supports altering the microbiome in infants at high risk of atopy who are not able to breastfeed with Lactobacillus strains when given both prenatally followed by prolonged use (greater than 6 months) postnatally for the primary prevention of eczema. Prebiotics have also been shown beneficial for primary prevention of eczema in formula-fed infants with prolonged use greater than 6 months. These findings are in keeping with the World Allergy Organization (WAO) recommendations that support interventions to manipulate the microbiome with both probiotics and prebiotics.

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Toll-like receptors


Double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled


Short-chain fatty acids



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Correspondence to Sofia Szari.

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Szari, S., Quinn, J.A. Supporting a Healthy Microbiome for the Primary Prevention of Eczema. Clinic Rev Allerg Immunol 57, 286–293 (2019).

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  • Primary prevention of eczema
  • Eczema
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Microbiome
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Postbiotics
  • Synbiotics