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Is Leaky Gut the Cause of your Eczema?

By Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND & Tori Taggart, MS, CNS


leaky gut and eczema

Do you often find yourself struggling with persistent eczema, despite trying various treatments? The answer to your skin woes might lie deeper than the surface—within your gut. Emerging research suggests a strong connection between gut health and skin conditions, specifically pointing to a phenomenon known as "leaky gut." This is when the gut lining is compromised, and proteins and other substances can escape into the bloodstream, triggering a cascade of issues throughout the body.


In our previous blog post, we delved into the role of microbiome balance in skin health, discussing how the overgrowth or depletion of certain bacteria, parasites, or fungi can impact your skin. Now, it’s time to explore another layer of this complex puzzle. The health of your gut lining is equally vital. When it becomes too permeable, it can lead to a range of symptoms, from skin conditions like eczema, rashes, and acne to digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, or bloating. Food sensitivities and autoimmune diseases are also commonly linked to this increased gut permeability.


Join us as we dive deeper into the concept of leaky gut and uncover how it might be the hidden cause of your eczema. Understanding this connection could be the key to unlocking new pathways to relief and achieving healthier, clearer skin.



THE SCIENCE

By unraveling the scientific complexities of leaky gut , we aim to provide clarity on how leaky gut can serve as a fundamental root cause of eczema, empowering individuals with knowledge to address this issue at its core. Through understanding the science behind eczema and leaky gut, we pave the way for effective interventions and holistic approaches to managing and ultimately conquering this challenging skin condition.


The Intestinal Barrier


leaky gut and eczema

The intestinal barrier is like a protective shield in your gut, made up of a layer of special cells called enterocytes. These cells are responsible for absorbing nutrients from the food you eat and also help regulate your immune system by releasing certain signals.


In addition to enterocytes, there are other helper cells in the mix. Goblet cells produce mucus, which helps to keep things moving smoothly. Enterochromatophilic cells release hormones, Paneth cells make defensive proteins, and M cells catch harmful germs from the food you eat.


But the real superheroes of the intestinal barrier are tight junctions (TJs). Think of TJs as tiny gates that are zipper-like in-between the cells. They control what gets in and out of your gut. These gates are made up of various proteins that work together to keep everything in check. However, when something goes wrong with these gates, it's like leaving your front door unlocked. Substances that shouldn't be allowed to enter your bloodstream can slip through, causing trouble not just in the gut, but systemically.


When the structure and function of these gates are compromised, it can lead to problems like inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease, where the gut becomes more permeable than it should be. In simple terms, the intestinal barrier and tight junctions are like the bouncers at a club—they let in the good stuff and keep out the troublemakers. Understanding how they work can help us better grasp how our gut protects us and what happens when things go awry.

Leaky Gut & Eczema


leaky gut and eczema

Leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability, has emerged as a potential contributing factor to the development and exacerbation of eczema. Several studies have investigated the relationship between leaky gut and atopic diseases, shedding light on the intricate interplay between the gastrointestinal tract and the skin.

 

Intestinal Barrier Permeability in Allergic Diseases

Increased intestinal permeability allows allergens to penetrate the intestinal barrier, triggering immune responses and systemic signs of food allergy. This abnormal response to food allergens underscores the significance of gut barrier integrity in allergic diseases, including eczema. (Niewiem and Grzybowska-Chlebowczyk, 2022)

Investigating Leaky Gut in Eczema

Pike et al. conducted investigations into gastrointestinal permeability in children with atopic eczema. They observed elevated urinary excretion rates of certain sugars in children with eczema compared to controls, indicating increased permeability of the gut barrier. This heightened permeability may be linked to either primary abnormalities of the gut or intestinal mucosal damage caused by hypersensitivity reactions to food antigens.

Impact of Diet on Intestinal Permeability

Caffarelli et al. examined the effects of dietary interventions on small intestinal permeability in children with atopic eczema. While dietary restriction resulted in reduced permeability in some children with improved skin conditions, the overall impact on permeability was not statistically significant. This suggests that dietary therapy may have variable effects on intestinal permeability in individuals with eczema.

Understanding the role of leaky gut in eczema opens avenues for novel therapeutic strategies. By targeting gut barrier integrity through dietary modifications or interventions aimed at restoring intestinal homeostasis, clinicians may potentially help to alleviate eczema symptoms and improve patient outcomes.



HOW TO EVALUATE IF YOU LEAKY GUT


leaky gut and eczema testing

Identifying whether you have leaky gut, scientifically known as intestinal permeability, is crucial for addressing underlying digestive issues and promoting overall wellness. One of the most effective ways to assess leaky gut is through testing, which provides valuable insights into the health of your intestinal barrier.


Get a Comprehensive Stool Analysis

A comprehensive stool analysis provides additional insights into gut health by assessing markers of inflammation, microbiome imbalances, and digestive function. Analysis of stool samples can reveal the presence of inflammatory markers, such as calprotectin and lactoferrin, which indicate heightened immune activity and intestinal inflammation. Additionally, evaluating the composition of the gut microbiome can uncover dysbiosis, an imbalance in the microbial community, which may contribute to leaky gut.


Additionally, a comprehensive stool analysis tests for zonulin levels. Zonulin is a protein that regulates the permeability of the intestinal epithelial barrier. Elevated levels of zonulin in the blood are associated with increased intestinal permeability, indicating potential leaky gut syndrome. By measuring zonulin levels through a stool test,we can evaluate the integrity of the intestinal barrier and identify signs of leaky gut. Higher-than-normal levels of zonulin suggest increased intestinal permeability, allowing toxins, bacteria, and undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream. This can trigger inflammation, immune reactions, and digestive disturbances associated with leaky gut syndrome. Book a consultation to discuss this test with our Cleanbody Team or order the test directly.


Get a Food Sensitivity Test

High levels of food sensitivity on food sensitivity testing may also indicate leaky gut indirectly. When the intestinal barrier is compromised, undigested food particles and toxins can leak into the bloodstream, triggering immune responses and food sensitivities. Therefore, identifying numerous food sensitivities through testing can serve as an indirect indicator of leaky gut. By pinpointing specific foods that elicit an immune response, food sensitivity testing can help guide dietary interventions to support gut healing and reduce inflammation associated with leaky gut syndrome. We often see a higher level of food sensitivities of the foods most commonly consumed which indicates that those food proteins are leaking through the gut and into the bloodstream.  Sealing and healing the gut will help to reduce these sensitivities over time. Book a consultation to discuss this test with our Cleanbody Team or order the test directly.



HOW TO FIX LEAKY GUT

Leaky Gut, Eczema & Diet

Leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability, can be addressed through various lifestyle modifications and dietary interventions aimed at restoring gut barrier integrity and promoting overall gastrointestinal health. 


Avoid Food Sensitivities & Allergies

Identifying and eliminating trigger foods that contribute to food sensitivities and allergies is crucial for reducing inflammation and preventing further damage to the intestinal barrier. Conducting allergy or sensitivity testing and then following an elimination diet under the guidance of our Cleanbody Team can help pinpoint specific dietary triggers and support intestinal barrier healing and alleviate symptoms of eczema by reducing inflammation and removing one of the offenders causing irritation to the intestinal lining. 


Avoid Toxins

Reducing exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and pollutants, can help mitigate inflammation and oxidative stress in the gut. Choosing organic, pesticide-free foods, using non-toxic household cleaning products, and filtering drinking water can minimize toxin exposure and support overall gut health. Get tested for toxinsto understand which toxin exposures you need to clean up.


Support Intestinal Barrier Health

Promoting the integrity of the intestinal barrier is essential for preventing the translocation of harmful substances into the bloodstream. Incorporating gut-supportive nutrients and supplements, such as probiotics, prebiotics, and gut-healing compounds, can help strengthen the gut lining, enhance mucosal immunity, and promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.


Gut Mend is our comprehensive gastrointestinal support product specifically designed to promote intestinal barrier health and function. Gut Mend offers a synergistic blend of ingredients carefully selected to support optimal gastrointestinal integrity and function. Ingredients such as L-Glutamine, N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine, Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice, Aloe Vera Extract, Slippery Elm Extract and more, work together to provide comprehensive support for optimum gastrointestinal health, promoting the proper permeability and integrity of the gut lining. By integrating Gut Mend into your daily regimen, you can proactively maintain gut health, enhance nutrient absorption, and fortify your body's defense against the infiltration of toxins, allergens, and harmful microbes into the bloodstream. This comprehensive approach addresses a fundamental factor contributing to eczema, promoting not only gastrointestinal wellness but also supporting healthier skin function.


Eat a balanced CleanFOOD Diet

Transitioning to a nutrient-dense diet centered around whole foods is key to nurturing optimal gut function and microbial balance. Prioritize a rich variety of fiber, antioxidants, and vital nutrients by incorporating an array of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains into your meals. To kickstart your journey towards cleaner eating, consider enrolling in our Cleanbody For Life membership, granting you access to our exclusive CleanFOOD Nutrition Plan or you can opt for a personalized approach by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Fong and our team of Cleanbody nutritionists, who will collaborate with you to craft a tailored nutrition regimen that suits your unique needs and goals.

Meditation, Leaky Gut & Eczema

Manage Stress & Maintain a CleanMIND

Chronic stress can significantly impact intestinal permeability and upset the delicate balance of gut microbes. To counteract these effects, integrating stress-relieving practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness techniques into your routine can effectively regulate the body's stress response and foster harmony within the gut-brain axis. Unlock exclusive access to our CleanMIND modules within the Cleanbody For Life membership, featuring tailored exercises and guided meditations designed to cultivate a CleanMIND. Furthermore, join our weekly support group sessions, where Dr. Fong leads a guided meditation every week to enhance your stress management journey. For personalized assistance, consider booking a dedicated CleanMIND session to receive additional support and guidance tailored to your unique needs.


Avoid Unnecessary Medications

Certain medications, notably nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and antibiotics, have been shown to disturb the delicate balance of gut microbiota which in turn can increase intestinal permeability. To mitigate these effects, it's advisable to minimize the use of unnecessary medications as much as possible and seek out alternative treatment options that are less likely to disrupt gut health. 


Seek Professional Guidance

Consulting with our team can provide personalized guidance and recommendations for addressing leaky gut. We can order labs and develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs, medical history, and dietary preferences. Regular monitoring and follow-up evaluations can help track progress and make necessary adjustments to optimize gut health and overall well-being. Attend our Live Q&A to ask Dr. Fong more questions about Leaky Gut or book a consultation to get evaluated by Dr. Fong today.


Check out our Cleanbody For Life membership, which gives you access to guides, coaching support and education to equip you with knowledge to both prevent and manage acute illnesses effectively.  Alternatively, for personalized guidance and support, you can schedule a consultation with our team of experts today. We prioritize implementing nutrition and lifestyle adjustments and offer natural herbs and supplements as viable alternatives when medications are necessary. Contact us today and together, we can develop a customized plan to address your specific health goals and concerns!



About the Author:

Dr. Fong - Eczema Doctor

Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND, is the CEO and founder of Cleanbody, a wellness company dedicated to treating and preventing chronic disease. She is the creator of the Cleanbody Method, which follows a three-step process: Evaluate (digging into the root causes of chronic disease using lab testing and other evaluation tools), Optimize (enhancing health foundations by addressing nutrition, lifestyle, and toxic exposures), and Support (optimizing organ functions through healing protocols).



Tori Taggart, CNS

Tori Taggart, MS, CNS is a Cleanbody Nutritionist specializing in meeting people in their healthy journeys by digging into the root causes of various chronic diseases and conditions. Through the use of healthy food along with aspects of the natural world around us (sunshine, nature, clean water, stress management, relationships, etc), she helps to empower her clients to take charge of their own health and trust their bodies to thrive and heal.




Medical Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Affiliate & Product Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links and mentions of Cleanbody products. As an affiliate, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links. However, please note that the inclusion of affiliate links does not influence our editorial content or product recommendations. Our primary goal is to provide valuable information and resources to our readers to support their health and wellness journey. We only recommend products and services that we genuinely believe in and that align with our commitment to promoting holistic health. Thank you for your support!


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