1

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curing eczema with diet?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 13, 2012 at 4:47 AM

My poor little niece is 4 and has really terrible eczema. They have identified many things she is allergic to that cause flare ups: soy, milk, nuts, citrus, strawberries, and eggs are the ones I am aware of (because the poor thing has to wear a warning bracelet). My sister recently read a book called "Disease Proof Your Child" that she says eliminates dairy, most animal products, and processed foods. So they are eating fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Upon hearing this of course I told her to eliminate the grains but she says they don't like eating meat and this is what they want to do.

So yesterday she posts on her blog: "We have been changing our diet to try to help Harper's eczema, but she had a major breakout this week. Her legs were completely covered and she was completely miserable." There is a photo posted of her daughter totally zonked out with the caption:" Her body just kind of shuts down when she has an episode like this and she needed some extra sleep. Luckily she is doing much better now."

I am extremely frustrated and want to help her, but I am not sure where to point her. I would just tell her to read The Paleo Solution but I know she probably wouldn't read the whole book. Any articles or information I could send to her to help? Thanks!!

2ece7f80625d8dada98eb7ea33a1f470

(115)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:32 PM

thanks, I'll be sure to tell the 4 year old to avoid alcohol and spicy foods ;)

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on August 18, 2012
at 06:16 PM

...diet. Yet unless some so-called expert says she should be gluten-free, her father won't commit to it. I was getting to the point in my concern for her where I was going to pay for the biopsy but then my own health issues took over and now I have just had to wash my emotional hands of them. I hope you get distracted by something else that's not horrible. Maybe take some "frozen coconut dessert" to her sometime instead of ice cream? It is so sad that people don't see their relationship to some foods as addictive; that they can't give them up for their and their children's health. :( sorry...

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on August 18, 2012
at 06:12 PM

Yeah, I have to assume she's pretty stubborn because every reputable *and* disreputable source of eczema info mentions food triggers with wheat being one of the top. This is a hard place for you to be emotionally, I can tell and I know something about it. I have a niece who has "IBS" except she also has 2 cousins and 2 aunts with celiac disease and yet no Dr will do a biopsy on her small intestine since her bloodwork is negative; The bloodwork for celiac gives notoriously high false negative rates. She has lived with me at times over the last few years and always does better on our gluten-free

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 01:39 AM

GOOD FOR YOU KarenOH. Wow. Amazing!!!

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 13, 2012
at 09:37 PM

Scratch (skin) tests are not very accurate for food at all. I mean a lot of people do not show a reaction when they are tested on skin but do when they actually ingest the food.

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13 Answers

5
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on August 13, 2012
at 06:48 AM

When you are that "allergic" to so many things, you have a Leaky Gut.

GAPS diet would help her.

http://www.gapsdiet.com/

3
45e51fee7d295e523ff4134f76c3ba05

(923)

on August 14, 2012
at 01:36 AM

I have had eczema all my life. It was especially severe when I was a very young child. I used to go to the doctor for sun lamp treatments (late 1960's) and they used to give me belladonna(!!) when the itching got so bad I'd scratch until I bled.

I was in a state of desperation last year when I was eating a mostly vegetarian diet - lots of wheat & soy - and I had horrible peeling eczema on my face, behind my ears, and on my scalp in addition to the usual patches on my body. Since I have been eating paleo, my eczema is almost totally gone and I attribute it to being gluten and soy free. I especially think the soy was a major factor in contributing to the eczema getting worse last year.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 14, 2012
at 01:39 AM

GOOD FOR YOU KarenOH. Wow. Amazing!!!

3
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on August 14, 2012
at 12:04 AM

Eczema has a pretty tight link with grain consumption. Cutting out animal products is not a good idea for a growing child.

2
35bc838bd11ae409f687f7bf2bcae071

on August 13, 2012
at 09:42 PM

My daughter had eczema pretty badly starting at 2 or 3 mos. old and it's slowly gotten better as she grew older. The past 2 summers have been interesting - the eczema completely goes away. The things that have been different about these summers: largely grain- and sugar-free diet (exposure is limited to 3-4 times a month when we run into special occasions vs. the every other day exposure due to school snacks and our old diet), and, more sun exposure as DD goes to the pool a few times a week. I'm thinking the sun bumps her vit. D level up and I may get her level tested after this coming winter to see if she ends up on the low side. We have not used anything topical for the symptoms during this time.

There's a lot of research linking low vit. D levels to immune dysregulation so you could google that and provide some journal articles and such.

From what I have learned, I think it would be a mistake to limit animal foods very severely as they are so nutrient dense - a potent source of so many vitamins and minerals including the fat-soluble vitamins necessary to produce and balance vit. D. The Weston Price people are the experts on that. I especially like the info from Chris Masterjohn.

And from the grains angle, you could try to nudge them towards gluten-free options. Though, again, without the animal foods in there, that may result in some nutrient deficiencies. Chris Kresser just did an interview with Dr. Alessio Fasano you could forward (there's a transcript). It's titled Gluten, Autoimmunity and Leaky Gut.

1
6473dcb4b0e9b839615d650c168d2747

(638)

on August 15, 2012
at 08:59 AM

Just before and right after going on paleo, I actually had some pretty horrible flare-ups of eczema ??? on my face (cheeks and eyelids), where I've never had it before. It was awful, painful, ugly, frustrating. I started supplementing with liquid vitamin D (the kind in the dropper bottle), and tightened up my diet to 99% paleo (some goats milk and rice now and again) and it seemed to help. I also got a topical cream called 'Dry Eye Gel' from the Skin Shop, which I used (DO NOT USE STEROID CREAMS! as a lifelong user I know it does more harm than good in the long run)

Don't know specifically what part of this helped but it eventually cleared up. The only trigger I've really found is dark chocolate ??? if I overeat this it causes a flare.

Then again, as an n=1 experiment I've exposed myself to gluten without any eczema flareups? So the possibility exists that it's something else entirely (makeup, face wash, detergent, stress)

0
C38112701af3e9bb10805f38d72977e7

on September 28, 2012
at 03:35 PM

Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages and spicy foods, and in addition, minimizing the intake of saturated fats and fermented cheeses mostly from junk food. Keep away from irritating your skin. Avoid scratchy fabrics like wool. Also, wash your clothes, towels and bedding in mild detergent without perfumes and rinse well.

2ece7f80625d8dada98eb7ea33a1f470

(115)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:32 PM

thanks, I'll be sure to tell the 4 year old to avoid alcohol and spicy foods ;)

0
2ece7f80625d8dada98eb7ea33a1f470

(115)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:41 AM

I brought all of this up to my sister again, but she is pretty stubborn. She said they eliminated gluten once and that it didn't help. When I asked her for how long, she said not very long but that they usually can tell pretty quickly. What is frustrating for me is that they like "treats" too much in their house. Even though they know dairy makes her itch they still let her have ice cream sometimes. My BIL said she was saying her prayers before bed the other night and she prayed that ice cream wouldn't make her itchy anymore. It's sad on so many levels.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on August 18, 2012
at 06:16 PM

...diet. Yet unless some so-called expert says she should be gluten-free, her father won't commit to it. I was getting to the point in my concern for her where I was going to pay for the biopsy but then my own health issues took over and now I have just had to wash my emotional hands of them. I hope you get distracted by something else that's not horrible. Maybe take some "frozen coconut dessert" to her sometime instead of ice cream? It is so sad that people don't see their relationship to some foods as addictive; that they can't give them up for their and their children's health. :( sorry...

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on August 18, 2012
at 06:12 PM

Yeah, I have to assume she's pretty stubborn because every reputable *and* disreputable source of eczema info mentions food triggers with wheat being one of the top. This is a hard place for you to be emotionally, I can tell and I know something about it. I have a niece who has "IBS" except she also has 2 cousins and 2 aunts with celiac disease and yet no Dr will do a biopsy on her small intestine since her bloodwork is negative; The bloodwork for celiac gives notoriously high false negative rates. She has lived with me at times over the last few years and always does better on our gluten-free

0
9beda76f4e91faedc8fa70ecdc01251e

(298)

on August 15, 2012
at 06:19 PM

I had patches of eczema on my upper arms my whole life until I dropped the grains. Dairy doesn't seem to bother me too much, at least in small amounts. And now I realize I can have up to a serving of grains here and there without noticing any effects. Which is pretty nice. If I have more, the patches come back, along with other things.

The no-meat plan is hard to get around. I get the feeling that my skin (and hair, and joints) loves the animal fats I've been eating, but maybe other fats would work as well. Poor girl...I hope she gets better.

0
0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on August 15, 2012
at 01:37 PM

Buy them a copy of Wheat Belly. I've seen that book totally change folks mind about "healthy whole grains" being a part of their life. Even my wife liked the book, because it's written so well. And she HATES diet/nutrition books.

0
172522a9b7e4f5981a04299eed7dcc1e

on August 15, 2012
at 08:31 AM

First things first, avoid steroid applications as much as you can. The long term effects may be less than desirable.

It's a very tedious process to weed out irritants in your child's life, but for his/her sake, it's a step you'd have to take.

Really start testing things out one at a time, and slowly pin pointing what are the triggers that causes the eczema to flare up.

This may take weeks, months or in some cases, even years. But as you find out what the triggers are, you can then do your best to minimize exposure to these irritants.

One step at a time ... have faith!

0
21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on August 13, 2012
at 10:35 PM

My son has pretty bad eczema. They disappear within a few days as soon when cuts out gluten. As soon as he eats bread or pasta they come back. He's pretty much given up gluten on his own accord now because the difference is so dramatic. He still eats a sugary treat every day and lots of homemade yogurt. Those don't seem to make a difference.

0
A913bf93cf3bb8351481414d1218c441

on August 13, 2012
at 08:49 PM

I had terrible terrible eczema for my entire life until a year ago. Getting rid of dairy cleared it 90% unless I got stressed. Since eliminating gluten, I haven't had a single flare-up except for a couple accidental gluten exposures. I don't know how helpful testimony from a random stranger on the internet is, but getting rid of my eczema has been life-changing, and for the sake of the child I hope you can convince them to give grain-free a shot.

0
C78e0e9508acb96a95994b8e75a299a9

on August 13, 2012
at 07:18 PM

I had moderate eczema for 20+ years (i'm in my 40s). I went paleo several months ago and haven't had a problem since. Since I did this in phases, I reasonably sure I have narrowed the problem down to Milk products. This is just my situation, but it sounds like selectively removing items from her diet might be the way to go to test out the hypothesis (I assume that your niece has already had a scratch test).

Good luck.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on August 13, 2012
at 09:37 PM

Scratch (skin) tests are not very accurate for food at all. I mean a lot of people do not show a reaction when they are tested on skin but do when they actually ingest the food.

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