Bottle-fed children of parents with allergies are less likely to develop allergies themselves if given prebiotics – supplements that support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine. The infants were fed a hypoallergenic infant formula supplemented with either a combination of 90% galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and 10% fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) or placebo, for the first six months of life, then followed for two years.Researchers found that the two-year-old children who received the prebiotic-supplemented formula were less likely to experience allergies. They were half as likely to have had eczema, one-third as likely to have had recurrent wheezing, and one-seventh as likely to have had hives as children in the placebo group. They also had fewer upper respiratory tract infections such as ear, throat, and sinus infections, and fewer prescriptions for antibiotics.

Source: J Nutr2008;138:1091

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