Eczema (commonly known as atopic dermatitis) is not just for kids – adults can also get it! Treating this condition is much simpler if you know what causes your inflammation and what steps can be taken to reduce it.
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that can affect millions of people, and can be quite serious. It causes dry, itchy and cracked areas that could become infected if scratched too frequently. Eczema also increases the risk of bleeding or other skin infections when scratching is frequent.
Eczema can often be controlled with topical creams and steroids. Unfortunately, these treatments don’t address the underlying causes of flare-ups, leading to side effects like skin thinning or infection.
Functional Medicine takes a different approach. It views eczema as an entire-body issue that could indicate imbalances in one or more body systems and is often linked to other health conditions.
To achieve successful treatment of skin conditions, identify their triggers, create skin care routines that address them specifically, and avoid those triggers. Functional medicine practitioners also work to support your body in avoiding future flare-ups by improving digestion, relieving inflammation, increasing fatty acid metabolism, and fortifying the immune system.
Eating a diet rich in healthy fats and nutrient-rich foods while cutting back on processed and refined carbohydrates, sugars, and alcohol can help alleviate symptoms of eczema. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular help reduce itching and inflammation; taking a vitamin D supplement may also prove beneficial.
Avoiding certain foods such as eggs, fish, peanuts, soy and dairy may help reduce flare-ups. Consult your doctor to see if a food allergy could be to blame for your eczema symptoms.
Stress is another common eczema trigger. To manage your stress levels and reduce outbreaks of the condition, try using relaxation techniques like biofeedback. Many clinical studies have demonstrated that this method can reduce itching and itching symptoms associated with eczema.
Climatotherapy, a treatment that uses sunlight and water (like the ocean) to soothe skin, may be beneficial. A recent study discovered that several weeks of sitting in the sun and swimming in water helped reduce symptoms for people suffering from eczema.
Other natural therapies, such as herbal medicine and acupuncture, can also be used to treat eczema. Acupuncture has been found to reduce itching and inflammation while stimulating the body’s natural healing ability. Some herbs with anti-inflammatory properties include echinacea, feverfew, and chamomile.
If your eczema flares are accompanied by digestive issues like constipation, diarrhoea or gas and bloating, you could have a functional or organic GI disease. Depending on the underlying cause of these disorders, they may improve with at-home care or require more serious medical intervention.
GGI (gastrointestinal) disorders refer to any condition that affects your intestines, including the mouth, stomach and small intestine. These illnesses and conditions can range in severity from mild to severe; some people experience the symptoms of an inflammatory bowel disease while others may have more common and less serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Structural disorders in your GI tract refer to problems with organs like the colon, bile duct, or pancreas. These diseases can be caused by a diet low in fibre or high in saturated fats as well as excessive use of anti-diarrheal medications which weaken bowel muscles.
The GI tract plays an integral role in digestion, breaking down food into nutrients for absorption into the bloodstream and excreting waste. Furthermore, it produces hormones and neurotransmitters essential for brain health.
But when the digestive tract isn’t functioning optimally, the immune system may overreact and trigger inflammation and lead to various conditions like eczema.
This is a common scenario caused by leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability. A leaky gut allows toxins, microbes and undigested foods to enter the bloodstream and activate an overactive immune response.
These autoimmune reactions are highly dangerous, causing inflammation throughout the body – not just on your skin. Furthermore, inflammation impairs your body’s protective barrier function, potentially leading to eczema flare-ups.
Studies have demonstrated that children with atopic dermatitis are more likely to have leaky gut than their non-eczema peers, and patients with the condition tend to experience higher rates of gastrointestinal infections. Furthermore, some research suggests some individuals with eczema may have a genetic predisposition towards developing autoimmune conditions.
Leaky gut and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can be treated with certain supplements and foods. These include probiotics, prebiotics, and fibre. Soluble fibre like that found in oats and flax seed has been demonstrated to decrease intestinal permeability while insoluble cellulose helps reduce inflammation within your digestive tract lining.
Fatty Acid Metabolism
Metabolizing fatty acids is essential for healthy skin. This helps create a protective barrier that shields against bacteria, irritants and other environmental substances from entering into the skin. When there are too few or too few protective fatty acids produced by the skin, people may experience eczema symptoms.
Fatty acid metabolism is a complex process involving numerous enzymes and pathways. The most popular way for fatty acids to be broken down and converted to energy is b-oxidation (beta-oxidation). This reaction requires ATP, activating CD36/FATP which then produces acetyl-CoA and malonyl-CoA. Activation of this pathway can be controlled at various levels by various enzymes like AMPK or PKC.
Consuming more foods rich in fatty acids can support fat metabolism and reduce inflammation associated with eczema. Supplementing with these essential fatty acids through oral supplements like evening primrose oil or borage oil has also been found to be effective according to some studies.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for skin health, especially dry and damaged areas. It plays a pivotal role in collagen production which repairs damage on the outer layer by decreasing trans epidermal water loss and increasing cell turnover. Eating foods high in Vitamin C also benefits the innermost layer of the skin by improving its health by protecting against environmental aggressors like UV rays.
Evidence suggests a vitamin D deficiency can contribute to eczema, and supplementing with this important nutrient has been found to be beneficial. A randomized trial found that children given 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily during winter months experienced less eczema than those without this supplement.
Some individuals with eczema tend to be sensitive to histamine, a substance which can trigger inflammation. By decreasing the amount of histamine in your diet and supporting gut health and liver methylation, you may reduce symptoms related to eczema.
Herbal remedies such as Cardiospermum have also been utilized in the treatment of eczema; however, further research is necessary to confirm their effectiveness.
When you suffer an infection or injury, your body responds by producing inflammatory cells and hormones to help your immune system fight off germs. This process is known as inflammation and it can take both acute and chronic forms.
Signs of inflammation include itching, redness and swelling. Pain may also present as well as the inability to move or walk normally.
Inflammation is a significant immune response, activated by various events; however, not all infections lead to inflammation.
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, taking into account a person’s diet, lifestyle and other aspects that impact their wellbeing. This holistic approach can help resolve eczema symptoms by either preventing it from arising or lessening its intensity.
Treatment for eczema can be successful if the triggers of your condition are eliminated and dietary modifications made. This may involve abstaining from certain foods like refined carbohydrates or sugar and increasing intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and other items which support healthy inflammation responses.
Your doctor will assess the severity of your eczema and formulate a treatment plan. They can prescribe creams and oral medications, as well as suggest other possible solutions.
Eczema is most often observed on the face, hands and feet but can develop anywhere on the body. Typically, it begins during a child’s first year of life and typically improves or clears up by mid-teens; however, some cases may persist into adulthood.
Inflammation is a natural defence mechanism, but it can also have harmful consequences, leading to conditions like arthritis and heart disease. When your body experiences an inflammatory reaction, hormones are released that dilate blood vessels and increase circulation around an area. This increased circulation brings more immune cells to help speed up healing from damaged tissue and promotes overall wellness.
Neutrophils, lymphocytes and monocytes are the immune cells involved in the inflammatory response. This is a complex mechanism involving various cellular mechanisms like phagocytosis, release of inflammatory mediators, cell-mediated destruction of invading bacteria or toxins and more; some cells play a more prominent role than others but all play an integral role in initiating and maintaining inflammation.