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Posted on 05-25-2018

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Last week on the blog, we discussed a skin issue that causes many people trouble cosmetically- dark under-eye circles. We explained how the dark circles are a sign of a much deeper problem going on inside the body, and not just on the surface.

The same can be said about today’s blog topic, atopic dermatitis, or more commonly known as eczema.

Like dark circles on eyes, eczema can be extremely unaesthetic, but unlike dark under-eye circles, eczema can have debilitating effects that hinder life. Most people suffer from red, swollen, itchy skin that can be very painful.

There is much debate on what exactly causes and triggers eczema; some say it has genetic components and that flare-ups can occur from irritating skin and personal products such as soaps, shampoos, lotions, and cosmetics. Most research indicates that eczema is an autoimmune disorder where the person’s immune system gets overwhelmed and begins attacking the person’s skin cells. This could be the reason a lot of creams or steroids are ineffective or only offer temporary relief.

This link between the dysfunction in the immune system and eczema on the skin reveals problems in the health of the gut, most often intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). When the small intestine is leaky, undigested proteins and toxins can make their way into the bloodstream and the body launches an attack on the “invaders” which can resemble parts of the body’s tissues. Between 1/3 and 2/3 of young people with eczema also have food allergies, usually dairy, eggs, soy, and nuts and seeds. Ingesting these foods can worsen the microbiome and cause more issues. In addition to food intolerances, psychological and physiological stress affects a person’s gut health, and in the case of those who suffer from eczema, this stress can cause flare-ups.

The best way to tackle an autoimmune dysfunction, especially regarding eczema, is through diet and lifestyle modification. Pay attention to stress levels and try to modify or eliminate the stressors. A good dietary plan would be the Paleo diet, free of grains, legumes, and dairy, which would remove the most common food allergens that may cause or worsen leaky gut. Many nutritional supplements are also helpful for a leaky gut, such as probiotics, L-glutamine, and digestive enzymes. As always, our office is more than happy to recommend any kind of supplementation as well as more information on specific dietary protocols.

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