The Ultimate Guide to Eczema Triggers and Gut Health

Chances are you know someone with Eczema or you have it yourself.  If it’s so common, why don’t we have a cure? Why is it that so many of us go to the doctor and get prescriptions for steroid creams that only partially work. The solution to eczema is to address the root cause. Trust me when I say this is not an easy feat, especially for small children. I wish there was a one size fits all cure that would work for everyone so we could all stop suffering. Unfortunately that is not the case because each person has a unique set of circumstances.

I wish that I had these resources a few years ago when my daughter was little. We tried everything to get rid of her severe eczema at the time. I share below the things I’ve learned from summits such as the Healthy Gut Happy Child Summit 2018. Our personal experiences with childhood eczema and tips are also included.

The Eczema and Gut Health Connection

Potential Eczema Causes & Finding the Triggers

A healthy Diet for Gut Health

  • The first step is to pay attention to what we eat and what we feed our kids. The food that we eat impacts our health.
  • Eczema, constipation, ear infections, allergies, and mood can all be connected to the diet.¹
  • Our bodies need nutrient dense plant based foods to support a healthy gut and immune system.
  • Non-organic foods are contaminated with the herbicide roundup/glyphosate. Recent court cases found glyphosate causes cancer Monsanto/Bayer was forced to pay more than $2 billion in damages.
  • Do you eat the Standard American Diet? A white diet of breads, potatoes, crackers, and pasta is hardly healthy.

Possible Environmental Triggers for Eczema

For many there are external factors that can trigger eczema. In most cases it’s easy to start eliminating these possible triggers.

Clean Water

Drinking enough water is important for health.  Start with quality water, then make sure you get enough of it.

  • Consider getting some special reusable water bottles.
  • This can also make it fun for little kids and get them drinking more water.
  • Our favorite non-toxic water bottles – Klean Kanteen

Don’t forget to consider your shower and bath water.

  • While in the shower because you inhale the steam from the shower which contains chlorine. Getting a simple water filtering shower head can help
  • Your skin is the largest organ, think about the chlorine and other contaminates you can absorb from bath water. We use these Bath Ball Faucet Filters

Clean Air

Consider the fact that we breathe more air than we drink water.

Many studies show that indoor air is more toxic than the air outside

  • Maintain your air duct filters and change the filters regularly.
  • Open the windows daily (yes even in the winter – it only takes a few minutes of being open)
  • If you have any chronic health issues consider getting your house checked for mold (even if you think you don’t have any).

Cleaning Products

  • Toxic cleaning chemicals aren’t necessary.
  • You can clean your entire house with 5 ingredients
    • Baking Soda
    • Rubbing Alcohol
    • Vinegar
    • Essential Oils (Antibacterial properties make them great for cleaning).
    • Castile Soap
  • Fact : Most commercial cleaning products come with big warning labels with the words caution or danger.
  • This may come as a shock but every single bottle of chemicals off gases even if you’ve never opened it.² Do an experiment – find every single bottle of chemical cleaner in your house and remove it from your house. I feel like it made a difference in our household.

Skin Care Products

The skin is our largest organ. It doesn’t make sense to put harmful chemicals on our skin that will be absorbed into our body.

Take a look at the ingredients in your soap, body wash, shampoo, perfume etc. If you don’t like what you see or can’t recognize the ingredients, look for some safer alternatives.

Tip: If your child has terrible eczema I highly recommend a wet wrap suit. NOTHING else worked for us and it finally gave us some relief.

Laundry Detergent

We all wash our clothes. The problem is that the chemicals and fragrances remain even after the washing is done. These fragrances stick around next to your skin 24/7.

EMF’s (Electromagnetic Fields)

  • Radiation from cell phones, WiFi, and Bluetooth can impact our health.
  • Fact : France has banned WiFi from public schools.
  • Quick TIPS
    • Consider switching to a wired vs a wireless house. If that isn’t an option then set your wifi router on a timer and turn it off at night.
    • Put your kids devices in “airplane” mode.
    • Don’t let your kids play with your cell phone.
    • Always use speaker phone and preferably keep the phone at least a foot away from you head.

Heavy Metals

The most common heavy metals include

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Arsenic

Children start life with a higher body burden than ever before. The mother may have mercury fillings or lead stored in her bones. A pregnant woman passes these to her children. The heavy metals can affect the delicate balance of the microbiome. ³

TIP : Fish are a common source of mercury.⁴  Suggestions

  • Eat less fish
  • When you eat fish the five best fish options are SMASH
    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Anchovy
    • Sardines
    • Herring
  • Avoid farmed salmon. Atlantic salmon is fished out of existence so it is always farmed.
  • Avoid tuna and tilapia

Side note on aluminum and vaccines according to Dr Tom O’Bryan⁵

  • Aluminum is used in vaccines as an adjuvant to irritate the immune system into responding to the virus.  
  • There is no evidence that the amount of aluminum in 1 vaccine can cause harm.
  • Aluminum can persist at the injection site for 7 years and children receive 22 mandatory vaccines.
  • Aluminum accumulates in the body and can contribute to autism and Alzheimer’s
  • Be aware when cooking with aluminum foil that it LEACHES into food.

Eczema & Gut Health – What is the Connection?

The cutting edge of medicine right now is gut health and the microbiome. The microbiome consists of the trillions of micro organisms that live in our digestive system. The state of our health depends on the bacteria living inside our gut. ⁶

The types of bacteria in the guts can determine

  • Immunity
  • Metabolism
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Production of Vitamins
  • The set point for Inflammation

There are a few things to be aware of in regards to gut health and skin or eczema and gut health.

Modern Medicine

A study done in the Journal of American Medical Association included 800,000 kids given an acid blocker or antibiotics in the first 6 months of life. Half of the kids got allergies.

Dr Tom O’Bryon compares antibiotics to an atomic bomb hitting the gut. Most of the bacteria both good and bad are wiped out. This gives the bad bacteria a chance to overgrow the good when given the chance. It only takes one round of antibiotics to wipe out up to 90% of our gut bacteria. ⁷

There are natural alternatives to antibiotics.  In some situations antibiotics are necessary. In this case you will have to work hard to repopulate and balance the bacteria in your gut for optimum health.

Stress

Our gut bacteria impact our anxiety, depression and stress. Amazingly our stress levels can actually change our gut bacteria for better or worse.⁸ This means that by taking steps to improve our stress levels, we can improve our gut health.

This is why it’s important to address stress in addition to all the other possible factors.

One of the consequences of high stress is a lack of digestion and detoxification. When in fight or flight mode our digestive system stops so the bodies efforts can focus on the danger. It doesn’t have to be physical danger, mental stress can still trigger the same response in the body. Our detoxification system is not the highest priority when stressed. ⁹

Healing the Gut to Improve Skin

Diet & Missing Nutrients

A dysbiosis in the gut, or imbalance of friendly and bad bacteria can cause many issues including food sensitivities. As the gut heals or changes these often go away.¹¹

Remove any foods that can cause inflammation in the gut.  The following foods can cause inflammation but it varies for each individual.

  • Refined Sugar
  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Artificial Flavors, Colors, Preservatives

Improve Digestion

  • Working digestion is a necessity.
  • Proper digestion allows us to get the nutrients our bodies need to function.
  • Digestive enzymes might be beneficial to the healing process.

Eat the Right foods

  • Avoid foods created in a factory – eat more veggies, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
  • A whole foods, plant based diet will help both physical and emotional problems.
  • Fiber is a necessity – Our gut bacteria are fueled by fiber. A good balance of good bacteria can bring down inflammation and improve our mood.
  • Eat a variety of foods. The more variety you eat, the more variety of gut bacteria you will feed.
  • Hydrate – Shift to water and away from juice and sweetened beverages

Super Simple Beginners Guide to Clean Eating

 

Supplements

All nutrients are important. Some of the most important ones include Vitamin D, K, A + healthy fats to absorb the nutrients. Consider supplement if necessary while trying to heal and change the diet.

From experience what helped us most was a high quality vitamin D supplement along with calcium.

For picky eaters some experts recommend zinc to help foods become more appetizing

I’m not a fan of spending a lot of money on supplements. It’s sometimes hard to see a benefit. Instead get as many nutrients as possible from food and follow any doctor recommendations.

Help Heal Your Gut Using Probiotics and Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics and they are great for repopulating your good gut bacteria.

There is a lot of debate about probiotics and selecting a high quality brand has become complicated.

If you can tolerate fermented foods then I recommend trying to increase your intake of fermented foods before going to probiotic supplements. Not only is it cheaper, generations of people in every culture has been doing it successfully.

Fermented Foods

  • Sauerkraut – Germany/Europe
  • Miso – Japan/Korea
  • Tempeh – Indonesia
  • Natto – Japan

Note – eating a ton of fermented foods shouldn’t be your first step in all cases. The reason is that some people are highly sensitive to histamines which can cause eczema to worsen.¹² Before trying to repopulate the good bacteria, the first step should be to heal the gut lining.

Quality Sleep

Poor sleep can be an important piece of the puzzle to eczema. Healing and repair happens when we sleep.

  • Avoid technology an hour or two before bed
  • Make sure your room is dark and cool

Exercise/ Movement

DAILY moment is important. Movement is needed for digestion. If we become sluggish, our digestion system also becomes sluggish.

What is the solution to Eczema?

There are numerous factors that can contribute to eczema. As a starting point we can take a hard look at possible triggers including food, water, air, cleaning products, daily skin care products and EMF exposure. Figure out if any of these contribute to the root cause of your child’s eczema.

A little more complex is the emerging science of gut health. Are eczema and gut health related? To get our gut back into healthy balance we first need to understand some of the things that can cause an imbalance. Inflammation is one of the most prevalent problems today. Conventional medicine is convenient and saves lives, but they have real consequences. Consider alternative options before relying on conventional medicines.  Another piece of the puzzle is stress. A constant state of stress does not allow our bodies to function normally.

Healing the gut can take a lot of investigation and trial and error. In the end we will be rewarded with a healthy immune system. Once in balance the body can heal itself.

Any shift you can make has a positive impact. Instead of quitting before you start, take a few small steps in any area you feel most relevant. Or look for a functional medicine doctor who will help you look at the whole picture and not just address symptoms. I would love to hear from you! If you found any of the information in this blog post helpful please leave a comment..

Resources

Healthy Gut Happy Child Summit 2018

  1. Cure Your Child with Food: The Hidden Connection Between Nutrition and Childhood Ailments.
  2. 50 Dangers Lurking In Your Home with Caroline Blazovsky and Ashley James
  3. Christine Schaffner – Healthy Gut Happy Child Summit 2018
  4. Empowerment from Cleaning up Environmental Toxins – Lara Adler (Home Transformation Summit 2018)
  5. Find the Best Medical Care to Reduce Toxins – Tom O’Bryan, DC, CCN, DACBN (Home Transformation Summit 2018)
  6. Secret Ingredients Movie
  7. The Gut Solution Series
  8. Dr Chris Shade – Healthy Gut Happy Child Summit 2018
  9. Jodi Sternoff Cohen, NTP – Healthy Gut Happy Child Summit 2018
  10. David Perlmutter, MD – Breakthroughs You Need To Know For A Healthy Brain (Food revolution summit 2019)
  11. Stephanie Davis – Healthy Gut Happy Child Summit 2018
  12. 7 Sneaky Sources Making Your Flare Worse

 

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