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Allergies and intolerances

What are probiotics and how do they help

60 replies

mymama · 30/08/2005 08:17

I have been lurking for a couple of months and have not posted before.

I have a 23 month old with severe allergies to fish, eggs and nuts and intolerance to wheat and dairy (used to be severe allergy but is growing out of rapidly - he had his first severe reactions to nuts through my breast milk). I have noticed a few of you talk about probiotics and I was wondering what they are and do they help with food allergies??? I am very fortunate that he only has food allergies and does not suffer from eczema or asthma etc or environmental allergies such as grasses.

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jenk1 · 30/08/2005 13:51

bumping for u

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ruty · 30/08/2005 20:44

i'm not an expert but my ds has food allergies [started thru breast milk too] and i was advised to give probiotics. Basically, the gut needs friendly bacteria to aid the immune system, and some children are deficient in the good bacteria. Antibiotics or a bout of diarrhea can also strip the gut of good bacteria. Solgar do a good one for children - called ABCDophilus powder. i would recommend them for a child with food allergies.

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mymama · 31/08/2005 00:50

Thanks ruty. I am in Australia so have not heard of Solgar. I see a paed allergist every 6 months and she has not mentioned this. Was this advised through medic or naturopath? I think we have something here called Inner Health Plus (was advised to give after bout of severe vomiting).

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mymama · 31/08/2005 00:51

thanks for the bump jenk1. I am obviously new to all of this.

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jabberwocky · 31/08/2005 02:37

Don't know a whole lot about it but a friend of mine is really into blue-green algae which I think falls into that category.

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ghosty · 31/08/2005 02:51

mymama ... I am bumping this for you so hopefully bobbybob can see it. Her little boy has severe food allergies and as she lives in New Zealand (as do I) so she may know more about what they have there as we get some of the aussie stuff here.
She is also a big fan of probiotics recommended them to me ...
I will go and look on the bottle and see what brand they are ... back in a mo ...

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ghosty · 31/08/2005 02:54

Reuteri probiotic powder ... I got it from my local health food shop. It is made by Natures Way which is a US brand ... you are bound to have it in Australia.
IIRC little Bob's first allergies came up when bobbybob was breastfeeding ... long before solids were introduced.

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mymama · 31/08/2005 02:55

thanks ghosty. Do you think they work??? My ds is doing so well with his allergies that I am afraid to try things in case it puts us back a step.

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mymama · 31/08/2005 02:58

My ds broke out in eczema after being prescribed steroids at 3 months for a "viral" cough that turned out to be whooping cough but that is a whole other story. We have absolutely no family history so I am discovering on my own

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ghosty · 31/08/2005 03:02

Well, I think bobbybob will be able to tell you if they work for the allergies or not.
I give the powder to DD mainly when she is having any medicine from the doctor as she seems to react to drugs.
Bobbybob did say they were the best. It has to be kept in the fridge and should be in the fridge in the shop too.
I don't know much else about probiotics really, just know that they are good and basically, the thinking behind it is that the 'good' bacteria is the best weapon against the 'bad' bacteria and that when you are on any drugs that kill bacteria (antibiotics) you definitely need to take probiotics to put the good ones back in your body as the antibiotics kill all of them, good or bad ....

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ghosty · 31/08/2005 03:07

Aaagh ... on your behalf re. the whooping cough debacle.
DD had steroids two weeks ago followed by antibiotics that resulted in a terrible rash all over her body. The rash has gone but where the spots were she now looks bruised. I hate putting drugs into my child. My friend said to me yesterday that DD's tendency to react to any medication is a sign that drugs have no place in a child's body unless it was life saving. She reckons I should give DD a chance to let her body fight bugs before I take her to the doctor.
I know what she means but it is hard when you are constantly told to watch for things like meningitis ...

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jabberwocky · 31/08/2005 03:54

I know what you mean ghosty. I always said I would not run to the dr. at every little cough, but it is hard. When it is on a Friday (which has happened a couple of times) I have just decided to go rather than agonize about it over the weekend. And, it's funny, every time we've gone, it's turned out to be nothing, but this last time when I wasn't too terribly bothered it's turned out that it is probably chicken pox!

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mymama · 31/08/2005 04:27

I just feel like the steroids had something to do with the onset of the allergies. Within one week of taking them ds started breaking out in hives and swelling after breastfeeding. My diet had not changed. He is my 3rd child and as I said no family history not even asthma.

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bobbybob · 31/08/2005 04:35

An immunologist told me that reactions to drugs mean that the immune system is doing it's job and the drugs are working very well. When his daughter got sick after the Meningitis vaccine - he was the only one who thought it was a good thing!

Probiotics are currently being researched in NZ in double blind trials, they are increasingly becoming mainstream medicine - my GP recommends them to everyone he give Abs to. Not that anyone buys them as the ABs are $15 max and the probitics are around $30 min!

They can't harm unless you are allergic to an ingredient (but there are lots of different sorts - avoid ones with artificial sweeteners and also check they do not contain milk as an ingredient), they are more effective taken with flax seed oil. It will be at least 2 months before you see a major change. I wouldn't stop using them for ds, if I was down to my last $40 that's what I would spend it on.

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bobbybob · 31/08/2005 04:36

mymama - the steroids would help allergies - but the revolting colours, preservatives and sweeteners could have made your child sensitive. Probiotics are really useful to help with this - you really should give them a try.

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mymama · 31/08/2005 05:30

Thanks bobbybob. I have never heard of giving them in this context. I am willing to try anything to help ds. It is great to chat to others in this situation as I find people with no experience either don't understand or don't want to understand.

I met a lady who had a serious car accident in her 30s and the extreme drugs and steroids from her treatment affected her immune system and she is now anaphylactic to most foods, colours,flavourings,chemicals etc so I have gained suspicions about the use of drugs I guess.

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tatt · 31/08/2005 07:09

I'm another big fan of probiotics because my son's eczema stopped shortly after we started them. I don't actually know if they can help with food allergy but I still think its worth a try, as long as you're careful about checking the list of ingredients for anything they might be allergic to.

My most allergic child had whooping cough too but we didn't have steroids. Any illness upsets the balance of bacteria in the gut and that seems to be connected to allergies. Not proven yet, lots of work going on but its possible probiotics may help. The only drawback is the cost as they need to be taken daily. Agree about the flaxseed oil too. We're going to keep going with probiotics until there is proof one way or another about the benefits.

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bobbybob · 31/08/2005 07:23

They are expensive but you can't put a price on a full night's sleep.

I've found they really help with food poisoning too.

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misdee · 31/08/2005 07:56

i am wondering about this. dh has been on high strngth anti biotics, and the docs feel they have 'steralised' his stomach so to speak. would probiotcs help readdress the balence? he is suffering bad diahorrea atm, and they have given him other medication to combat that.

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bobbybob · 31/08/2005 09:36

The medication will treat the symptoms, but his stomach will take ages to repopulate the good bacteria on it's own. I would give it a go, but work up to a high dose (higher than it says on the packet as they tend to be doses for maintaining rather than restoring).

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mymama · 31/08/2005 10:33

Just been out shopping and bought the Inner Health Plus. $30 most places but managed to get it for $17. Starting tomorrow. Thanks for the advice - as each of you said it can't hurt.

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bobbybob · 31/08/2005 10:52

We give it in the morning - originally it made Bob poo. However he was a lot younger.

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mymama · 31/08/2005 11:50

what do you mean by poo? Normal poo or lots of poo?

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ruty · 31/08/2005 13:40

just to say i really think doctors over prescribe steroids. All they do is suppress symptoms, they suppress the body's own mechanisms, and they have to be taken long term, they do not cure. I think if possible it is better to avoid them as they can have long term consequences, and try to find the root cause of the allergy, and strengthen the body's own defences, eg probiotics, good nutrition.

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mymama · 31/08/2005 13:46

Just for further info. The steroids were prescribed for ds's "viral" cough that the doc had diagnosed. I had been to doc repeatedly because it was a heart stopping cough - not normal. He advised steroids would stop cough in 48 hours - didn't stop. My ds stopped breathing in one of these coughing episodes so went to hosp and tests revealed whooping cough. It was too late ds had been couphing for four weeks and was at tail end. Then eczema showed up and started having reactions after feeding. I have often wondered if he was far too young (3 mths)for steroids and may have damaged his immune system in some way thus onset of allergies. What do others think???

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