As many of you already know, one of my main areas of special interest in Naturopathic Nutrition are gut health and various skin problems such as Eczema, Psoriasis, various allergies, etc. About 90% of people I see suffer from eczema. Usually they have already been to GPs, dermatologists and allergologists and came out with zero results and a bottle of corticosteroid cream. Exactly as I have 6 years ago, when my own son was suffering from terrible eczema. At that time I genuinely believed that orthodox medicine can help. I couldn’t think differently as I was trained as a conventional doctor and had a medical degree… Little did I know…
Anyway, after about 2 years of trying various creams with no results and continuing suffering we took a different route and decided to look for a cause instead of constant slapping creams all over his body. So I went to see a Nutritional Therapist. That was my first encounter with this profession and you all know what came out of it – I have become one!
What I love about this natural approach is that Nutritional Therapy takes the pieces of your health jigsaw and puts them together to make a picture of your health and wellbeing that is unique to you. This picture allows us to look at and understand the underlying causes of why you are not feeling your best in order to help us nurture you and restore your health and vitality.
In simple terms, eczema is a sign that there is a constant inflammatory process in your body. So resolving eczema is not about what to put on your skin, but addressing the problem INSIDE – targeting our immune system in the gut. Putting more toxic creams on your skin will only make matters worse in the long run.
When our immune system goes into ‘overdrive’ and overreacts to a trigger by attacking this trigger or even your own tissue/cells – one of the most common visual symptoms will be eczema.
Since 80% of our immune system is located in our intestines, we can be sure that the main reason for this immune imbalance is a lost integrity of gut lining and increased amount of pores in it, often called ‘leaky gut’. Food particles like amino acids or lipids, or bacteria, toxins, heavy metals, etc. then are able to penetrate the intestinal walls and reach the blood or lymph where they don’t belong, causing the immune cells to be in a constant inflamed state. The most common particles to cause such a problem are dairy and gluten molecules, but also refined sugar, chemicals, heavy metals, etc.
The other big root cause for autoimmunity in general and eczema in particular is abnormal gut flora (dysbiosis), which is when bad bacteria and yeast dominate and cause inflammation. A diet high in simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and low fibre breeds yeast (Candida), and chemicals in the form of antibiotics, NSAIDs, etc also have that effect. EMF exposure such as cell phone use, wifi, microwaves etc aggravates cases of eczema and has been proven to increase sensitivity to dust/pollen allergens.
In terms of genetics – current statistics is that 15% of eczema cases are due to a genetic mutation in a particular gene called Filaggrin, and if a baby is born with at least 1 mutation in this gene the risk for that baby is 40%.
However, it is our lifestyle and environment that determines whether our genes get triggered or not. And this means all the toxic load that we are subjected to during pregnancy, during and after birth.
The sad truth is – vaccines and specifically their highly toxic ingredients-adjuvants (heavy metals, animal tissue residues, casein molecules, aborted foetal cells traces, bacteria and even parasites), injected directly into the bloodstream bypassing the natural filters of the gut are one of the main triggers of impaired immunity, severe flares and consequent conditions like eczema. It is listed as a common ‘side effect’ on all vaccine inserts. A very serious side effect actually. And if the baby’s immune system is not strong ( and in most cases it isn’t) – baby breaks out in eczema which may last for years and eventually triggers asthma in worst cases.
Although everyone’s bodies are unique and it’s best to undergo a naturopathic evaluation to determine the best route to healing, the following 9 tips for healing eczema naturally are beneficial for anyone.
1. Seek naturopathic medical help.
Don’t try to do it yourself, you may want to save money but you will never get best results without a professional help which includes proper testing, corrected diet and usually necessary supplements. Always seek professional help from a naturopathic nutritionist for a natural approach that treats the cause and supports the optimum function of the body, inside-out. You will get better, I promise!
2. Test your IgG for hidden food intolerances or do elimination diet.
I have yet to encounter a client (including myself, my husband and my 2 children) who has not tested positive for at least 5-6 food sensitivities, even if they were not experiencing noticeable symptoms. These reactions may go unnoticed, but changes in your cells are taking place. The mediators released during an immune reaction to any given food have different effects on the body, including inflammation, blood pressure changes, increased sensitivity to pain, hormone imbalances, and many more. Constant exposure leads to chronic inflammation, chemical disturbances, and tissue damage, which will eventually have a serious impact on your long-term health.
Food allergies are always reaction to certain food proteins. Immunoglobulin E (IgE)–mediated (immediate) reactions are the ones we worry about when we hear about a “food allergy”: hives, itchy skin, wheezing, vomiting, throat swelling, and even anaphylaxis. IgE food allergy causes the release of histamine, producing an immediate hypersensitivity reaction, in which symptoms appear within minutes or hours following exposure to the allergen. These food allergies are very dangerous and can be fatal.
In contrast – IgG (immunoglobulin G) are responsible for ongoing chronic conditions and their testing is a useful guide for structuring elimination diets in many chronic conditions. Individuals with neurological, gastrointestinal, skin and degenerative disorders often suffer from IgG food allergies. These people may continue to eat offending foods unaware of their potential effects. This IgG food allergy is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction in which symptoms appear anywhere from hours to days after eating the offending food.
Sadly, NHS only tests for IgE and not IgG yet, and the only way to check your food intolerances is to go private. The test is not cheap, it cost more than £100 and sometimes I would start with elimination diet to see if we could obtain good results this way. Unfortunately sometimes a client might be intolerant to very odd foods, which is virtually impossible to identify without being tested.
IgG Food Intolerance Test will look for inflammation in your body caused by eating certain foods – the most common sensitivities are gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs, soy and yeast, but they vary from person to person. Eliminating the foods that trigger inflammation in your body will calm the immune system’s hyper reaction to these foods, and help to resolve eczema.
3. Anti-inflammatory Diet
Diet correction includes eliminating all inflammatory foods like dairy and gluten, processed refined sugar and non-organic foods.
Adding foods and nutrients that lower inflammation – bone broth (if age allows) , fish oil (as a supplement, or as wild-caught cold water fish low in mercury content), raw extra-virgin coconut oil, nigella sativa oil, turmeric, vitamins A and D3/K2, and vitamin E.
Eat a “rainbow” diet that is colourful, full of dark leafy greens and seasonal vegetables including sweet potatoes, onions, beets, carrots, kale, spinach, and zucchini. Oily fish is also very important for Omega-3.
4.PRObiotics and PREbiotics
Optimise gut flora by taking clinical strength PRObiotics with a variety of strains – Bifidobacterium, lactobacterium, L. Reuteri (specific for inflammation), Bacillus Coagulans (restoring gut lining) and Saccharomyces boullardi (driving out yeast).
PREbiotic rich foods like chicory root, asparagus, artichokes, bananas, berries, flax, leeks, legumes will give these bacteria (probiotics) the food they need to thrive. Note – if there are signs of SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) then probiotics are best administered via colon rather than orally.
5. Daily green smoothie
Start a daily habit of having a fresh green smoothie. This practice will establish a strong nutritional foundation, cleanse the liver, and improve digestion – all very important for healing eczema. Try not to make it too sweet though.
6. Invest in slow cooker/crock-pot
You will need a lot of bone broth which really helps healing the gut.
7. Stress management, sleep and exercise
Enjoy nature with regular walks, do yoga, play outside, jump on a trampoline – basically participate in any activity that allows your body energy to move – this is beneficial to promote the free flow of energy in your body.
Address other inflammation triggers for your body such as poor sleep, stress (high cortisol), toxic chemicals, EMFs and mould exposure. Mould is very common in British homes, keep an eye on it and get rid of it asap if found.
8. Vitamin D
Spend at least 30 minutes outside and don’t slap high SPF factor on your face unless it’s a very hot sunny day. Your skin needs to be able to produce vitamin D. Here in UK we are all vitamin D deficient unless we take regular trips to sunny countries a few times a year, which is not always the case. I can not stress enough how important vitamin D is for the skin and overall health. Even NHS recommends that everyone must take D3 supplements. Dosage depends on your tested level.
9. Breastfeeding a child with eczema. The only food allergen that has scientifically been proven to cause allergies in a breastfeeding baby is dairy products in a breastfeeding mother’s diet. Wheat is another problem, so mum will have to change her diet too.
These simple measures from the functional medicine approach never fail to provide great results and restoring an overall wellbeing.