Eczema is inflammation of skin also known as atopic dermatitis. The cause is unknown but thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors; basically it is your immune system responding to something in the environment. A variety of things can irritate your skin: lotion, soap, stress, heat, pressure, clothing, light, etc. (1) A healthful diet provides nutrients the skin needs to stay healthy, however the diet can also provide allergens that the immune system responds to, resulting in atopic dermatitis.
Diet and eczema
The common allergens found in the American diet are: tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, dairy, fish, wheat and soy.
A recent study aimed at assessing these foods in people with eczema found that eggs was the most common allergen next milk, then soy, wheat and peanut. (2) To be clear this article is not telling you that you are allergic to one of these foods, just reporting that it is a possibility to explore, you may be able to reduce that irritated skin with the help of a dietitian or dermatologist.
Gut health is important to immune health. So it makes sense that researchers are looking at the link to eczema, however, the results are mixed. In a review of 13 randomized control trials where probiotics were compared to a placebo it was found that skin inflammation decreased sometimes and mainly with the L. rhamnosus GG type of bacteria. (3) Many other articles report the same mixed reviews, there is emerging evidence that may be promising but at this point is not conclusive.
Omega fatty acids
Some studies reviewing either oral supplementation or topical use of omega fatty acids found an absolute decrease in inflammation. (4)(5) However, it a literature review studies assessing the effectiveness of dietary supplements, fish oil only showed of to have slight reduction in symptoms. (6) At this point the evidence is mixed and what may work for some, might not work for others.
- Eczema | Dermatitis | Atopic Dermatitis | MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Retrieved July 03, 2017, from https://medlineplus.gov/eczema.html
- Betsi, G. (1970, January 01). Probiotics for the treatment or prevention of atopic dermatitis: a review of the evidence from randomized controlled trials. Retrieved July 04, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0026314/
- Bjørneboe A, Søyland E, Bjørneboe GE, et al. Effect of dietary supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Br J Dermatol 1987;117:463-9.
- Yoshida, S., Yasutomo, K., & Watanabe, T. (2016, September 17). Treatment with DHA/EPA ameliorates atopic dermatitis-like skin disease by blocking LTB4 production. Retrieved July 04, 2017, from https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jmi/63/3.4/63_187/_article
- Dietary supplements for established atopic eczema in adults and children. (1970, January 01). Retrieved July 04, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0033946/