TECHNICALLY, eczema is not exactly a disease, but rather the general name given for a host of skin irritations and symptoms ranging from mild to very annoying.
The two main types are contact dermatitis, which is aggravated when the skin comes in direct contact with an allergen such as hoاستعمالhپرانی detergents and chemicals, or even cosmetics; and atopic dermatitis, which is aggravated by ingested or inhaled allergens such as certain foods, pollen, dust, or animal dander.
These external triggers ultimately irritate and strip away the outermost layer of skin—called the stratum corneum—causing moisture to escape. From there, it’s a vicious cycle: The moisture escapes, which lets in more allergens, which triggers another drying reaction, and so on. The result is what we commonly call eczema. It affects 15 million Americans and nearly 10 percent of all infants and children.
Atopic dermatitis, the kind of eczema we’re talking about here, is one of the first signs of allergy during infancy and is believed to be caاستعمالd by delayed development of the immune system. It affects between 10 and 20 percent of all infants, but almost half of these kids will “grow out” of eczema between the ages of five and fifteen, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists.
But many won’t.
Two wonderful supplements—evening primrose oil and probiotics—may help. As will one very important dietary modification (more on that in a moment).
First understand this: Eczema can be difficult to treat partly becaاستعمال you have to do some detective work to figure out just which stressors may be triggering the dry, scaly skin in the first place. Meanwhile, you’re fighting the overwhelming urge to scratch and rub the dry, irritated skin, which only makes it more prone to soreness and infection. The arsenal of conventional medical مرضs pretty much consists of symptom-treating steroids, antihistamines, and even antibiotics. These مرضs will most definitely provide short-term relief, but they in no way address the root caاستعمال of the eczema. Moreover, and especially in the case of antibiotics, they will probably do more damage to your health in the long term.
If you want to heal eczema naturally, a great place to start is by examining possible food triggers. There’s a connection between atopic dermatitis and food sensitivities or allergies, and believe it or not, your food triggers can be programmed as early as in the womb. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating certain foods during the last four weeks of pregnancy increases the risk of eczema for the infant. High intakes of vegetable oil and margarine, for example, were associated with an almost 50 percent increase in risk, while eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a decreased risk. (Celery—believe it or not—was associated with an 85 percent increase in risk.) And it doesn’t end in the womb.
A 1990 study in the journal Pediatrics found that there were clear and consistent associations between eczema and the diversity of a child’s diet during the first four months of life. The more variety of solid foods that a mother introduced to her baby before the age of four months پرانی, the greater were the odds of the baby developing atopic eczema. Kids who were exposed to four or more different types of solid foods before the age of four months had almost three times the risk of recurrent or chronic eczema than those who weren’t exposed to solid feeding (one more strong argument for breast milk, but that’s another story).
Regardless of what your mother ate during pregnancy, remember this: Eczema is treatable, even more successfully if you take a little time to find out what triggers it. Once you identify those triggers in your diet or your child’s, you can begin to eliminate or reduce them. Add in the combo cures we’re about to discuss, and you’re on the way to relief.
Many studies have linked food allergies to eczema, so a good place to start in your detective work is with an elimination diet. (If, after using this approach, you are still stumped, it’s time to move on to food allergy-food sensitivity testing, but you may not have to.)
An elimination diet is a nice, easy, low-tech way to help yourself identify which foods can be causing you problems. All you do is select a “potential offender” and then eliminate it completely from your diet for a minimum of four or five days—three weeks is even better. Then notice whether you feel better or your symptoms improve.
Obviously, this can be a long process if you go through every single food on the planet, but the fact is that most people eat about thirteen foods all the time. It might seem counterintuitive, but start with the foods you consume most frequently, even those you’re “sure” couldn’t be a problem becaاستعمال you eat them all the time.
The most common foods that exacerbate eczema are cow’s milk, انڈے, wheat, soy, peanuts, fish, cheese, chocolate, coloring agents, and tomatoes. When these foods are removed, eczema has been shown to go into remission. Keep in mind that we are all biochemically unique—everyone reacts differently to foods, and even though the usual suspects such as wheat, dairy, and the like may be triggers for a large number of people, there are always people who will be allergic to weirdly improbable, and sometimes extremely healthy, foods like asparagus.
With any luck you’ll be one of the fortunate ones who solve the food allergy connection on the first try using an elimination diet. If you’re still stumped, it may be worth the money to invest in a test that identifies food and environmental irritants to effectively solve the eczema dilemma. A good, qualified health-care practitioner can help you with the right test. Two tests worth looking into are the ALCAT test and the LEAP test. The ALCAT test is provided by Cell Science Systems Corporation in Florida and is available in more than eighteen countries as of this writing. The LEAP test (Lifestyle, Eating, and Performance) is administered by Signet Diagnostic Corporation in Florida and has an outstanding medical advisory board. To find out more about the ALCAT test, call (800) 872-5228 or go to www.alcat.com. For more information on the LEAP test, call (888) 669-5327 or go to www.nowleap.com.
If you want the simplified version of what to do—the eczema version of those “quick start” instruction sheets that come with your electronic devices—simply do this: eliminate grains (especially wheat), dairy, and sugar. Do this for a few weeks and see what happens. A surprising number of symptoms and conditions, possibly including eczema, will improve immediately by eliminating these three dietary components.
A common school of thought hپرانیs that eczema may be caاستعمالd by the lack of—or blocking of—an important enzyme called delta-6-desaturase. Here’s how it works: Fatty acids go through a number of metabolic transformations in the جسم and are the building blocks for both other fatty acids and compounds known as prostaglandins (or eicosanoids), which can be inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. (That’s one reason you want the right balance of fatty acids in your diet.)
Delta-6-desaturase is one of the important enzymes that works on this fatty acid assembly line. Your جسم needs this enzyme to create a very important omega-6 fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Too little delta-6-desaturase, too little GLA. And GLA has been shown to be highly beneficial in the مرض of eczema, leading many to believe that not having enough of it could aggravate eczema. The solution? Take it in supplement form. Symptoms should improve gradually, and you’ll very likely see a decreased need to استعمال antihistamines.
Now for the bugs. Probiotics is the name for a general class of “good” bacteria that are essential for proper digestive system function. If digestion isn’t working properly, the جسم is more prone to allergies and skin disturbances.
A 2007 Swedish study published in the American Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that probiotic-supplemented children of mothers with allergies تجربہd significant reductions in eczema. “Treated infants had less … eczema at two years of age and therefore possibly run a reduced risk to develop later respiratory allergic disease,” wrote lead researcher Thomas Abrahamsson from Linkoping University Hospital. And that research is in line with a previous study from Finland that reported that children who received a particular kind of probiotic—the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG bacteria—were a whopping 40 percent less likely to develop atopic eczema at four years of age than children who received a placebo.
Probiotic supplementation is especially critical if a lot of yeast is present, and will help restore a healthy balance of microbes in the digestive tract. Since a healthy digestive tract is critical for prevention of allergies, working with a health-care provider who can eliminate yeast and replenish some of the good bacteria through probiotics استعمال will help to diminish eczema flare-ups.
Natural Prescription for Eczema
Gamma linolenic acid or GLA (found in evening primrose oil, borage oil, and black currant oil): Start with 2 g of evening primrose oil and work up to 6 g. Each gram of evening primrose oil contains about 100 mg of GLA. (Alternately, you can take straight GLA, available as a supplement on my website, www.jonnybowden.com.) Use for at least four weeks. Balance with 1 g of omega-3 fish oils.
Probiotics: At least 10 billion bacteria
Food allergy testing: IgG allergy tests are best. (Many doctors who practice integrative or complementary دوائی will perform these.)
Zinc: 25 mg
Selenium: 200 mcg
Chamomile: A natural anti-itch مرض. Boil up tea and pat on affected areas with cotton. (Let the tea cool first, lest you replace itching with burning.)
Witch hazel: A soothing anti-itch remedy. Apply on eczema as needed.
Colloidal oatmeal bath: Lukewarm, before bed, whenever necessary.
Note: All dosages are daily and come in pill or capsule form unless otherwise noted.