Updated: Jan 12, 2020
There are few conditions so inextricably tied to diet than skin problems like eczema.
Look no further than the immediate effect a trigger food has on your skin, or your dark circles after staying up all night, or your chapped lips when you are dehydrated, or the cracked corners of your mouth due to a b-vitamin deficiency - what you eat and what you do has an effect on your skin.
Diet and lifestyle changes can truly deliver on long-term solutions but sometimes even patients with well-controlled eczema can have inexplicable flare-ups or low-grade autoimmune-like symptoms.
This can be due to hidden ingredients in food, an undiagnosed autoimmune condition, latent infections, food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, genetic predispositions and other factors that can impair your health to the point of causing conditions.
Utilizing Diagnostic Testing for Eczema
For chronic eczema suffers, there are 3 areas of particular importance that should be evaluated and expertly addressed:
Levels of nutrients - including but not limited to zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, essential fatty acids (omega 3's and omega 6's), and B complex deficiencies.
Liver function and toxic burden - liver enzyme function testing and evaluation of stored environmental toxins are two key factors that are relevant in almost every case of chronic eczema
Gastrointestinal Microbiome - a thorough functional medicine evaluation and comprehensive stool analysis to gauge the health of good bacteria as well as to look for harmful microbes contributing to inflammation
Nutritional Considerations For Eczema
Magnesium deficiency is common in eczema sufferers and has been implicated in a range of other conditions and symptoms.
Not all magnesium is created equal however, different types of magnesium are better absorbed by some individuals.
Certain types of magnesium are best for restoring digestive motility, others forms are better suited for increasing energy and muscle function, and some are optimal for supporting brain and nervous system function.
Topical zinc creams, as well as oral zinc supplementation, can be effective in treating eczema.
Zinc, particularly the effective form of zinc picolinate is stored effectively in your liver.
You CAN take too much zinc. The maximum dose of 12mg per day is generally considered safe for adults unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Taking a higher dose can lead to nausea, headaches, and vomiting.
Vitamin d deficiency has been linked to skin problems, fatigue, and other chronic conditions.
Adequate vitamin D is protective against viral and bacterial infections, this is of particular importance since eczema increases the risk of skin infections.
Histamine and Salicylate intolerance
Histamine and salicylate intolerance are both very common in eczema sufferers.
Supplementation Is Only Part Of The Solution
Avoiding foods containing what you are reacting to is important - but it is also necessary to correct biochemical imbalances that led to these intolerances so you do not have to rely on a restrictive diet indefinitely.
Rectifying nutritional deficiencies can reverse or mitigate many conditions and symptoms but be careful, self-administering a supplement routine based on your own online diagnosis can create its own set of problems.
Many conditions and be mistaken for others and even practitioners can make incorrect assumptions regarding the origin of your symptoms.
A functional medicine practitioner can make sure there are no additional factors involved in your eczema.