15 Million Americans Suffer From This Miserable Skin Disease
Dry, scaly, skin on your hands, feet, or face that oozes when you irritate it…
These are the tale-tell signs of eczema. An extremely uncomfortable condition that 15 million Americans and nearly 10 percent of all infants and children suffer from.
The eruptions on the skin associated with the condition usually worsen when you rub or scratch the affected area.
But how can you resist? The itching is so irritating, so incessant, that keeping your hands off is almost impossible. You fight viciously against the overwhelming urge to scratch and rub the dry, irritated skin, which only makes it more prone to soreness and infection.
Not to mention red, flaky, oozing skin on your hands and face can be … well … embarrassing.
What to do?
The good news is that a few wonderful supplements may help. One very important dietary experiment might too. More on all that in a moment.
First let’s talk a little bit about what eczema is…
What is Eczema?
Technically, eczema is not exactly a disease, but rather the general name given to a host of skin irritations and symptoms ranging from mild to very annoying.
The two main types are contact dermatitis, which is aggravated by skin contact with allergens (such as household detergents and chemicals), and atopic dermatitis, which is aggravated by ingested allergens (like certain foods, pollen, dust, or animal dander).
These external triggers ultimately irritate and strip away the outermost layer of skin—called the stratum corneum—causing moisture to escape.
From there, it’s a vicious cycle…
As moisture escapes, more allergens are let in, which triggers another drying reaction, and so on.
The result is what we commonly call eczema.
Scratching Beneath the Surface for Causes…
You have to do some detective work to figure out just which stressors and allergens may be triggering the dry, scaly skin in the first place.
Conventional medical treatments are limited to symptom-treating steroids, antihistamines, and even antibiotics. These treatments will most definitely provide short-term relief, but they don’t address the root cause of the eczema.
Moreover, and especially in the case of antibiotics, they will probably do more damage to your health in the long term.
Luckily, you have some alternatives.
Eliminating the Triggers…
Many studies have linked food allergies to eczema, so a good place to start is with an elimination diet.
An elimination diet is a nice, easy, low-tech way to help you identify which foods may be causing your problems. All you do is select a “potential offender” and then eliminate it completely from your diet for a minimum of four or five days, though three weeks is ideal.
Then you just pay attention to whether you feel better or your symptoms improve. If they do, you’ve identified the culprit. If they don’t, you can keep searching for suspects.
The most common foods that exacerbate eczema are cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, fish, cheese, chocolate, coloring agents, and tomatoes. When these foods are removed, eczema has been shown to go into remission.
If you want the really simplified version of what to do—the “quick start” guide to eczema, if you will—simply do this: eliminate grains (especially wheat), dairy, and sugar.
Do this for a few weeks and see what happens.
A surprising number of symptoms and conditions—including eczema—will frequently improve by eliminating these three foods from your diet.
Adding fat and bugs may also help.
No, not to your diet silly! In the form of supplements.
Here are our favorites for helping people reverse eczema.
Many believe that eczema may be caused by the lack of—or blocking of—an important enzyme called delta-6-desaturase. Delta-6-desaturase works on your fatty acid assembly line. Your body needs this enzyme to create a critical omega-6 fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
Too little delta-6-desaturase means too little GLA. And GLA has been shown to be highly beneficial in the treatment of eczema, leading many to believe that not having enough of it could aggravate the condition.
Designs for Health has a long history of producing some of the best supplements on the market, and their GLA is no exception. It’s completely free of wheat, gluten, dairy, nuts, legumes, and artificial colors and flavors. Which is ideal, because these are some of the primary suspects that cause eczema.
It’s also important to make sure you’re getting a minimum of 1,000 mg a day of combined EPA and DHA (from fish oil). Fish oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties which is very important in the treatment of eczema.
As you know if you’ve been following this newsletter at all, Barlean’s makes our favorite fish oil supplements, and their Ultra EPA-DHA Double Potency is way at the top of our list.
Probiotics is the name for a general class of “good” bacteria that are absolutely essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system. If digestion isn’t working properly, the body is more prone to allergies and skin disturbances.
Probiotic supplementation is especially critical if a lot of yeast is present, and will help restore a healthy balance of microbes in the digestive tract.
Since a healthy digestive tract is critical for preventing allergies, these good bacteria may help to diminish your eczema flare-ups.
Chamomile is a natural anti-itch treatment. Put a few drops of this tincture on a cotton ball and gently apply to the itchy area to help reduce inflammation and itching.
Because delta-6-desaturase is a zinc dependent enzyme, a little bit of extra zinc may help amplify your GLA levels as well.
In combination with an elimination diet, these supplements can take the itch out of your eczema and help you achieve the clear, beautiful skin you’ve been dreaming of.
Wishing you health and happiness,
The Rockwell Nutrition Team