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Eczema- A nutritional approach for long term intervention

Eczema, an atopic skin condition caused by inflammation to the skin is a condition that afflicts 2.4-7% of the population.

Modern medicine has no cure for eczema and superficially treats the skin with moisturisers and potentially harmful corticosteroids.

Today’s newsletter explores the internal factors that potentially drive the manifestation of eczema. We will also provide nutritional and lifestyle suggestions, together with a selection of our recommended products to help.

Allergens and Food Allergies 

Many allergens such as dampness, or cold and dry weather, can be a trigger for eczema. More specifically, allergens such as house dust mites, pet fur, pollen and moulds can exasperate the condition. It is important to manage or remove these triggers to help alleviate symptoms.

Topical products such as perfumes and cosmetics can be triggers as well as, rubber, latex, medicated creams, ointments and metal alloys. We recommend using organic natural skin care products to help reduce outbreaks.

  • Topical chamomile can help as it is an anti inflammatory
  • Topical Witch Hazel Can also be used
  • MSM cream may help dry eczema

Studies have found Food allergies play a major role in driving eczema. Allergenic foods cause many of the digestive disorders we will explore later in the article and must be eliminated to help heal the gut.

The most common food allergens include:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Nuts  
  • Soya
  • Wheat
  • Citrus
  • Chocolate

We recommend a permanent gluten and dairy free diet to help reduce inflammation within the body and prevent further development of allergies. Try elimination and reintroduction of other food allergens to ascertain which foods you are allergic or intolerant to and completely avoid once the specific foods have been identified.

Histamine

Histamine is produced by the mast cells of the immune system and is involved in many bodily functions. 70-80% of eczema cases are mediated by the immunoglobulin IGE and 20-30 are non-IgE mediated. Although this type of eczema is not well understood, it is thought that a Deficiency in the cyclic AMP pathway (cAMP) results in increased histamine release. In many cases people with allergies have increased histamine levels.

Many foods contain high levels of histamine and can trigger its release. 

High Histamine foods include:

  • Fermented foods
  • Alcohol
  • Vinegars
  • Soya
  • Dairy Products
  • Processed meats
  • Mushrooms
  • Tinned and smoked fish
  • Dried fruit
  • Yeast
  • Chocolate
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Shellfish
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Chickpeas

Try an elimination of any of these foods you eat to see if histamine could be a potential factor in the manifestation of your eczema symptoms.

 

The Gut and it’s importance to good health

You are what you eat is only partially true; you are also what you absorb. The first doctor Hippocrates stated all disease begins in the gut and in the case of eczema, digestive system dysfunction has been cited as a major underlying cause.

Hypochlorhydria (low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach)

Low stomach acid has been implicated in eczema outbreaks. Research suggests low gastric acidity may influence the development of food allergies and promote an environment for bacterial overgrown that can inhibit the absorption of vital nutrients.

To avoid low stomach acid:

  • Avoid acid blocking drugs and antacid’s that exasperate the problem
  • Avoid regular use of bicarbonates
  • Eat a natural wholefood diet to obtain nutrients needed for HCL secretion
  • Avoid a high fat/high sugar diet that creates over secretion and leads to long-term hypo secretion.

To improve stomach acid secretion:

  • Consume apple cider vinegar before meals
  • Betaine HCL supplementation
  • Digestive enzyme supplementation
  • Chew foods thoroughly and eat smaller meals

Leaky gut

Leaky gut has been cited as a major driver of eczema symptoms. Leaky gut is intestinal permeability of the tight junction cells of the stomach wall. Many factors cause these cells to become ‘leaky’, allowing particles of undigested food to enter the blood stream, which subsequently overwhelms the immune system, causing inflammatory responses.

 

It is important for general health to eliminate the causative factors that create leaky gut which include:

  • Antibiotics and NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Steroids
  • Recreational Drugs
  • GMO’s
  • Pesticides, herbicides fungicides.
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive Stress
  • Gluten
  • Excessive sugar consumption
  • Radiation and chemotherapy
  • Maldigestion of fats
  • Whole food exposure before 4 months of age

It is fair to say these factors are widespread in society. It is vital you try to drastically reduce exposure to start the gut healing process, as leaky gut has more risk factors for your health asides from eczema.

To heal a leaky gut:

  • Prepare bone broths-releases collagen and helps rebuild damaged tissue and cartilage
  • Consume fermented vegetables- coconut kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi
  • Consume probiotics to promote good bacteria, balance PH and support healthy acid secretion
  • Consume steamed vegetables-contain enzymes to help break down foods if people have leaky gut or inflammation. Raw vegetables can aggravate the gut so eat in moderation.
  • Consume healthy fats, coconut oil for its anti microbial properties, omega 3 from  salmon, mackerel, flax seeds, they are anti-inflammatory and support cell membranes.
  • Vegan options- digestive enzymes, bromelian, beetroot, legumes, lentils, spinach, parsley, cabbage.

 

Revolution foods products to help support eczema

Epsom bathing salts

  • Help to reduce inflammation
  • Help to reduce stress

 

Moringa, bee pollen and pine pollen

  • Contain high levels of B vitamins needed for healthy skin, correct circulation and reproduction of all cells
  • Moringa is high in sulphur, essential for healthy skin and detoxification. Also contains 46 anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Bee pollen is renowned for its hypoallergenic properties.
  • Pine Pollen stimulates digestive functions and is antimicrobial and anti parasitic
  • All contain vitamin C, inhibits inflammation and stabilizes cell membranes

 

Probiotic capsules

  • Supports the beneficial bacteria within the gut
  • Supports healthy Stomach PH
  • Improves stomach acid secretion

 

Organic Coconut oil

  • Provides essential fatty acids
  • Anti microbial
  • Anti fungal
  • Anti Bacterial

 

Pacifica seaweed capsules

  • Contains Iodine and other trace minerals needed for healing of tissues
  • Contains high levels of sulphur needed for skin and detoxification

 

References

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Eczema-(atopic)

 

Prescription for nutritional healing fifth edition Phyllis A. Balch

CNM lecture notes 2015

Clinical nutrition a functional approach second edition