If you’ve had a chance to familiarize yourself with some of our previous articles on gut health and its connection to our overall wellbeing, you certainly know that our nutrition and gastrointestinal health are linked. On the other hand, over the years the link between gut health and skin health has also become clearer with more research and studies: what and how we eat directly affects our risk of developing autoimmune responses such as eczema.
So, in an attempt to replace the misguided approach of treating eczema as a “separate” health issue, functional medicine recognizes the role of diet and gut wellness in aggravating or even causing atopic dermatitis. In doing so, we can craft specific, gut-friendly dietary plans to help you refine your eating choices in order to reduce inflammation, food reactions, and ultimately, eczema.
The subtle scale of food reactions
People are mostly familiar with food allergies, as they are the most commonly treated form of food reactions since they cause issues such as swelling, rashes, even anaphylaxis in more drastic cases. However, there are degrees of food reactions milder than allergies that can still provoke atopic dermatitis (AD), including food sensitivities, intolerances, and metabolic disorders preventing you from metabolizing certain components.
Research has shown that people with eczema often have intestinal mucosal disruption, too, which means that focusing on the gut can help relieve eczema. But in addition to focusing on probiotics, people also need to pair their supplements with the right approach to eating.
The food-eczema link
Now that you have a general understanding of how diverse our reactions to food can be, you can imagine that the link between food and AD can also vary from one person to another. For some people, food reactions and eczema coexist, but cutting out specific foods alone won’t do the trick in soothing your AD.
For others, specific foods are the key underlying factor in skin flareups. Some, on the other hand, are a mix of both, where food might not have caused the initial development of AD, but it might worsen it down the line. The key is to understand your specific situation and adapt your lifestyle accordingly.
Probiotics for balance and health
Most people rely on heavily processed foods that have compromised their intestinal wellbeing, or you might not be aware of certain food sensitivities that could lead to poor GI health. In any scenario, reinforcing your diet with a combination of powerful probiotics and prebiotics such as Strengtia can help you restore your microbiome balance.
This should, of course, be done in parallel with improving your diet and removing foods that might be causing your eczema to flare up. Replacing foods that harm your gut specifically means that there is no cookie-cut diet that will suit you. Chances are, you’ll need to learn precisely which foods might be causing or aggravating your atopic dermatitis in order to eliminate them.
Reducing inflammation through food
As we’ve mentioned earlier, in addition to adding healthy, gut-repairing supplements, you also need to make sure that you are not consuming inflammatory foods that could be exacerbating your skin reactions.
- Eliminate highly processed foods with little nutritional value but high in trans fats and sugars.
- Replace unhealthy treats with appropriate, nutrient-dense foods your gut isn’t sensitive too in any way – that means you might need to switch to lactose-free beverages or gluten-free foods if you have Celiac disease or get your vitamin C from foods other than berries in case you’re allergic.
- Make sure you switch to healthier coffee alternatives such as herbal teas to further support your gut.
- Enrich your diet with versatile protein sources other than meat, due to meat’s high saturated fat content, which can increase inflammation when overconsumed.
- Hydrate properly to allow your body to flush out toxins naturally and to make it easier for your gut to absorb all the nutrients you consume.
A long-term, guided approach
Finally, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of careful lifestyle changes monitored by your doctor. Treating gut imbalances or atopic dermatitis takes plenty of planning, and it cannot provide overnight results.
Instead of randomly eliminating and swapping foods or picking supplements, it’s necessary to consult a medical professional that will analyze your specific health needs, your eczema situation, and your gut health to tailor an approach that will provide long-term relief and lifestyle changes.
There is nothing simple about how our gut and our skin interact. While we’re still in the process of deciphering this intricate connection, some well-known, research-backed ideas can help you manage your food reactions and eczema. Ideally, you would get in touch with us for a consultation and with the support and guidance of a functional medicine expert, you can expect your health to reflect your new habits over time.