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Eczema and Probiotic Foods

Kefir grains fermenting

Skin Problems

Whats Going on Inside

Eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy, red patches on different locations of the body and affects over 30 million people, especially children between the ages of one and five. The standard treatment is steroidal creams, corticosteroids, or antihistamines but this does not address the underlying cause of why it started in the first place. Scientists are finding that infants with a low intestinal microbial diversity during the first month of life are associated with atopic eczema. [1] At least 60% of the cases of eczema are found in children under five years of age, but more and more adults are having flareups. More evidence is pointing to the use of antibiotics and diets that harm the gut flora.

Eczema and Dermatitis

Eczema can also be called dermatitis and is caused by an overabundance of antibodies in the system called immunoglobulin (IgE). The production of IgE is the body's overreaction and attempt to protect itself. This is why eczema is considered an autoimmune condition which means that the body is basically harming itself.

Underlying causes can be multifaceted and you have to be a little bit of a detective to assess what's going on that has your skin erupting and causing distressing symptoms. Remember, disease is not the enemy. It's the warning sign and the body's cry for help.

Look at the Gut First

The first place to look is in your gut. Many people with eczema have allergic reactions to food. We often see that people with food allergies are missing important gut bacteria that have been killed by antibiotics. This can go hand in hand with eczema. The skin is one of the body's biggest detoxifiers and when you eat something the body can't digest properly, your skin may flare-up in an allergic reaction. Removing the offending foods will help, but healing the gut with a cultured food at every meal goes a long way in not only restoring missing bacteria that are causing the food allergies but also in allowing the skin to heal and restore itself. Check out my Healing From Food Allergies post

 

Kefir, Cultured Veggies, and Eczema

We've had many people tell us that their eczema has cleared after adding cultured foods to their diets. Kefir is the cultured food with the most probiotics and many have told us that kefir made all the difference in healing eczema.

Over the last few years, scientists have established a link between the gut microbiome and the skin. [2]They now know that if you alter the gut flora in a negative way it can cause severe allergic reactions in the skin. Taking lots of antibiotics that wipe out the good, as well as the harmful, bacteria can lead to greater intestinal permeability or "leaky gut syndrome." This can allow certain intestinal bacteria to migrate to the spleen and lymph nodes and increase the severity of allergic skin reactions.

Kefir and cultured vegetables are loaded with the probiotic Lactobacillus Plantarum (L. Plantarum) which, in this study, reduced SCORAD [3]( a clinical tool for assessing the severity of atopic dermatitis ) in children with dermatitis. Supplementation with the probiotic L. Plantarum offered a potential treatment for children with this disease and further long-term studies are being done to confirm its therapeutic efficacy. 

Another double-blind study was conducted on 220 children (one to eighteen years of age) with moderate-to-severe dermatitis. The children received the probiotics Lactobacillus paracasei (L. paracasei) and Lactobacillus fermentum (L. fermentum) (both of which are in kefir) for three months. The children who received the probiotics showed lower SCORAD scores than the placebo group and this difference remained even after four months of discontinuing the probiotics. [4]

One more study [5] was done on 90 children (one to three years of age) with moderate-to-severe AD.  They were treated with a mixture of Lactobacillus acidophilus (acidophilus, which is in kefir) and Bifidobacterium lactis (B. lactis) with fructooligosaccharides (FOS) (see below) at a dosage of 5 billion colony-forming units twice daily for 8 weeks versus a placebo. They found a decrease in the SCORAD test of 33.7% in the probiotic group. FOS is a prebiotic which makes your good bacteria grow and is the predominant ingredient in Prebio Plus.

Adding Fermented Foods

Changing your gut flora can go a long way in helping with any kind of skin condition. All of these studies showed that any or all of these different strains of good bacteria worked in helping to heal the skin.

So, why not consume a cup of kefir and a few spoonfuls of cultured vegetables every day? If you do this, you get all the probiotics used in the studies in two delicious foods. The body has a protective halo around probiotic foods versus supplements that allows the body to utilize these foods more powerfully. Supplements can often be killed in the stomach acids. When trying to heal a skin condition, always start with the gut first. Eat lots of prebiotic foods that allow your good bacteria to grow and flourish. Eliminate processed and sugary foods and eat lots of fruits and veggies. Include good fats along with lots of omega 3 fatty acids. While there are many different protocols for dealing with this ailment, all of them should include diet and essential nutrients such as probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals that the body needs.

 

Lives Touched

Check out Cassie's story and her journey of healing herself and her son of eczema. The body knows how to heal. It just needs your help and you are the only one who controls what you put into your body. Try it and see what happens! It's just food and it might just change everything

Cassie Barnhart Story

Two years ago my son and I developed eczema shortly after he was born. I knew that it was somehow connected to the IV antibiotics I received while I was in labor with him since none of my other kids had antibiotics while I was in labor and they were eczema free. I had never had eczema before the IV antibiotics either. Doctors told me there was no cure for eczema and that the antibiotics couldn't have given us eczema. My baby was covered from head to toe in horrible oozing eczema and I had to keep his hands covered 24/7 to keep him from scratching himself to the point of bleeding. I noticed that our eczema was worse when I ate anything with dairy or gluten in it. I begged God for wisdom and started reading and researching as much as I could. I started us both on probiotics and started drinking organic apple cider vinegar every day. When my son was old enough, I started giving him apple cider vinegar too. Then I discovered sourdough and kefir. I no longer have eczema! It's amazing! My son is almost eczema free and if he does have a flare-up, it's not bad at all. We're still working on getting his gut health restored. He LOVES his kefir. He asks for it at every meal and drinks it with only a little fruit from the second ferment. He knows he needs it. 🙂 Doctors still don't believe me, but it doesn't matter. I know without a doubt that it healed us and that antibiotics were the root cause.
Thanks! Cass

UPDATE!!! We just received this: " I wanted to give you an update. I think my son was about two years old when I originally shared our story and he’s now five years old and has been eczema free for a few years now! He still loves kefir and now kombucha as well."

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