Nutrition – Gut health

Eczema is often associated with several underlying problems linked to poor gut function. Possible causes include food allergies and intolerances, candidiasis, “leaky gut syndrome” and low levels of hydrochloric acid, also known as hypochlohydria. Decreased levels of stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) can result in the absorption of partially broken down food particles, which can lead to food sensitivities and inflammation of the gut. “Leaky gut syndrome” is a condition in which tiny particles of undigested food, bacteria and metabolic wastes are absorbed through “gaps” in the membrane of the intestinal wall (basically the inner lining from your mouth to your bum!). Once the integrity of your gut lining is compromised, it becomes more susceptible to toxic waste being let into your blood stream, causing more inflammation.

Your body is constantly filtering out waste from your body. The skin is a detoxification organ, meaning that toxins and metabolites are always being eliminated from the body via the skin. When the gut is inflamed and not functioning it creates a toxic environment in the body and can often emerge as eczema on the skin.

Naturopathic treatments are often centred on improving gut function.

Betain Hydrochloride is a precursor to hydrochloric acid (present in the stomach and essential to digestion) and can improve the break down of food, the absorption of nutrients and reduce inflammation. Do not take if you suffer from stomach acidity.

1 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water can improve digestive processes and help to clear the bowel of waste. It is also a great detox tool. You can also use a lemon wedge in water instead.

Dandelion tea is fantastic for digestion. It’s bitterness helps to trigger digestive enzymes and gut secretions necessary for breaking down food. It also helps to cleanse the body and will keep you hydrated at the same time.

Increase fibre to maintain a healthy bowel. Fruit and vegetables (with the skin), pysllium (a type of fibre available in most health food stores), oat bran, nuts, nut butters etc.

Probiotics (the good bacteria in our bodies) are a great way to improve gut symptoms and are easy to give to children. Lactobacillus Rhamnosis GG (LGG) is an extensively researched probiotic that is particularly useful for eczema. It is also used in the treatment of other allergy-mediated conditions such as hay fever, food allergies and intolerances.

Reduce inflammation by avoiding foods or exposure to allergens you know you are sensitive to. Eat a well balanced diet of fruit and vegetables and include more essential fatty acids such as avocados, fish and organic cold pressed oils.

Aim to drink up to 2 litres of water a day to help support detoxification.

Next week we will take a look at other natural treatments for eczema.