The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical effect of a supplementary diet containing heat-killed lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus paracasei K71 (LAB diet) on adult patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 34 adult type AD subjects who were treated with conventional topical corticosteroid and tacrolimus. LAB diet or placebo was added over 12 weeks. The primary end-point was the clinical severity of AD which was evaluated by a severity scoring system proposed by the guideline of the Japanese Dermatological Association. The effect was also secondarily evaluated by itch scores of visual analog scales (VAS), quality-of-life (QOL) impairment scores of Skindex 16 and consumption amounts of topical therapeutics. Data on these four assessment variables were collected at baseline and at week 4, 8 and 12. Within the study population, the skin severity scores were significantly decreased from baseline at week 8 (P < 0.05) and at week 12 (P < 0.01) in the LAB diet group but not in the placebo group. Influence of LAB diet on itch scores or QOL impairment scores was not evident. The consumption of topical therapeutics in the placebo group was 1.9-times greater in total amount compared with the corresponding value in the LAB diet group during the intervention period, although there was no significant difference. No LAB diet- or placebo-related adverse events were observed. We concluded that the LAB diet may have some benefits as a complementary therapy for adult AD patients who are managed with the conventional treatment.
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