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Eczema: Dr Ranj provides tips for treating condition

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If you’ve been searching high and low for a way to calm your eczema, you might be in luck. The diet, and specifically the gut, play a huge role in treating the condition. Express.co.uk chatted to Claire Barnes, Nutritional Therapist at Bio-Kult (www.bio-kult.com), to find out the four supplements YOU should be taking to treat your eczema.

Eczema is a skin condition that often starts in infancy, but it can start at any time in your life.

When you have eczema, the skin becomes impaired and can no longer fully provide a physical barrier against the environment.

This results in inflamed, atrovent onmeda dry and itchy skin, the classic sign of eczema.

In most eczema cases, Immunoglobulin E antibody levels are high, which suggests the immune system is reacting to substances within the body.

Nutritional Therapist Claire pointed out: “Many who suffer with the condition often have other allergies and a family history of atopic conditions such as hay fever, asthma, eczema and allergies.

“It is often difficult to detect if the skin reaction is due to environmental allergens penetrating the impaired skin barrier or whether the allergens have entered the body through the digestive or respiratory system.”

Over 70 percent of the immune system is located within the gut, so eliminating any possible food allergies from the diet could help to reduce the high levels of circulating IgE.

The most common food allergies in patients with eczema are milk, egg, and peanuts, according to Claire.

She said: “Eliminating these allergens from the diet for at least two weeks, before slowly reintroducing them one by one should provide clues to which ones, if any, are causing symptoms or flare-ups.

“If eliminating any food groups from the diet, especially with infants and young children, I would strongly recommend seeking the advice of a local registered Nutritional Therapist as you do this, to reduce the likelihood of nutritional deficiencies.

“If the infant is still being breastfed, the mother may wish to try an elimination diet whilst looking for corresponding symptoms in the infant’s skin condition.”

Best supplements for eczema – four tablets to take to beat the skin condition

You can also add four supplements to the diet to reduce the onset or severity of eczema:

Omega-3 fats

Increasing our ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats could help to reduce inflammation in the body and potentially inflammation in the skin barrier.
Try upping your oily fish intake, eating two to three portions of salmon, halibut, mackerel or sardines a week.

Claire specified: “Wild fish bought from a local fishmonger could potentially contain more of the beneficial oils, due to freshness and the fish fed on their natural diet.”

If you’re vegetarian, increase hemp seeds, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and walnuts to increase omega 3-fats.

The nutritional therapist said: “As omega-6 fats tend to increase inflammation in the body, reducing intake of meat and plant oils, such as sunflower oil could help improve the essential fatty acid ratio in the body.

“Flaxseed oil can also be massaged into the skin, which has shown to be effective for reducing inflammatory skin conditions.”

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Zinc

Zinc levels tend to be low in those suffering with eczema and supplementation with zinc has shown some improvement in the condition.

Claire said: “Shellfish are high in zinc, but introduce these slowly as these are also a potential allergen for many.

“Legumes and pulses such as chickpeas and lentils, as well as seeds and nuts, should all help to increase zinc levels.”

Quercetin

This flavanol found in vegetables, such as onions and broccoli, and fruits such as apples as well as green tea, is known for its antioxidant properties and anti-allergic activities.

Claire said: “Quercetin effectively inhibits the secretion of histamine and pro-inflammatory markers and has been shown to decrease eczema that have previously not responded to conventional treatments.”

Live bacteria

It appears that individuals suffering with eczema may have imbalanced microbes (dysbiosis) within their guts.

A study which analysed stool samples from both eczema patients and healthy controls found that those with eczema had lower levels of Bifidobacterium, and those with more severe eczema had even lower numbers of Bifidobacteria species to those with milder eczema.

Studies have also shown an increased presence of potentially harmful bacteria in the gut microbiome of those suffering with eczema.

Increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut could potentially help to re-address this dysbiosis, the nutritional therapist explained.

She said: “Increasing homemade fermented foods in the diet such as sauerkraut, live yogurt and kimchi could provide different species to the gut to improve overall diversity of the gut microbiome.

“An easier alternative to fermented foods is to take live bacteria supplements in capsules or powders.

“Look for a multi-strain product to deliver different species and strains into the gut, such as Bio-Kult

“Advanced 14 strain for adults or Bio-Kult Infantis for infants and young children (www.bio-kult.com).”

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