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Is Poor Nutrition Causing Your Eczema? Understanding the Link Between Diet & Eczema

By Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND


Food

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by inflamed, itchy, and often painful patches of skin. While many people turn to topical treatments to manage their symptoms, there is growing evidence that what you eat may play a crucial role in the severity and frequency of eczema flare-ups. Poor nutrition can impact overall skin health, and specific dietary triggers might exacerbate eczema symptoms. In this blog, we will delve into the connection between diet and eczema, exploring how certain foods can influence your skin condition and what nutritional changes you can make to support healthier, calmer skin.



THE SCIENCE OF ECZEMA & DIET

Poor nutrition can significantly impact the development and exacerbation of eczema symptoms. Research has elucidated several mechanisms through which dietary factors contribute to the pathogenesis of eczema.


Food Sensitivities & Allergies

A woman scratches her arm

Studies have highlighted the association between food allergies and eczema, demonstrating that certain foods can trigger both immediate and delayed eczematous reactions. Immediate reactions, mediated by IgE antibodies, can occur shortly after ingestion, while delayed reactions may manifest up to two days later, exacerbating symptoms of atopic dermatitis (AD). Food elimination diets, though beneficial for some individuals with AD, must be approached cautiously. While they may reduce symptom severity, their impact on the progression of AD remains unclear.


Nutrient Deficiencies

Vitamin capsules with the words vitamin D spelled out

Nutrient deficiencies are pivotal factors in the pathogenesis of eczema, exerting multifaceted effects on immune function, skin barrier integrity, and inflammatory processes. Adequate levels of essential nutrients are crucial for the proper functioning of the immune system, which plays a pivotal role in regulating inflammatory responses and preventing allergic reactions associated with eczema. Moreover, nutrient deficiencies can compromise the structural integrity of the skin barrier, impairing its ability to retain moisture and protect against environmental irritants and allergens. This compromised barrier function not only exacerbates existing eczema symptoms but also increases susceptibility to external triggers. Additionally, inadequate intake of key nutrients can lead to dysregulated inflammatory responses, further exacerbating eczema symptoms and contributing to chronic inflammation.


Here's how specific nutrients impact the development and exacerbation of eczema (Kanda et. al., 2021):

Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of eczema. Vitamin D deficiency compromises immune regulation and skin barrier function, leading to heightened inflammation and susceptibility to allergic reactions. Supplementation with vitamin D has been shown to improve eczema symptoms by modulating immune responses and promoting skin barrier repair. Work with our team to order labs that identify low Vitamin D levels and then make sure to get out in the sun for at least 15 minutes daily and consider taking a good Vitamin D3/K2 supplement like D-Fender:



Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency can disrupt skin barrier integrity and immune function, exacerbating eczema symptoms. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in maintaining epithelial cell differentiation and mucosal immunity. By promoting the expression of anti-inflammatory factors and inhibiting pro-inflammatory mediators, vitamin A supplementation can help alleviate eczema-related inflammation and improve skin barrier function.


Zinc

Zinc deficiency has been implicated in the pathogenesis of eczema due to its role in immune regulation and skin barrier maintenance. Zinc promotes wound healing, regulates inflammatory responses, and enhances skin integrity. Insufficient zinc levels can compromise immune function, leading to dysregulated inflammatory responses and impaired skin barrier function, thereby exacerbating eczema symptoms.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit individuals with eczema. Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to increased inflammatory responses and compromised skin barrier function, contributing to eczema severity. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve skin hydration, and alleviate eczema symptoms. Work with our team to order labs that identify low Omega-3 levels and then consider increasing Omega-3 rich foods in your diet and taking a good Omega-3 supplement like Omega Essentials:


Probiotics

Imbalances in gut microbiota, often exacerbated by nutrient deficiencies, have been associated with eczema development. Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, promote gut microbial diversity and immune regulation, reducing the risk of allergic sensitization and eczema exacerbation. By modulating gut microbiota composition and enhancing immune tolerance, probiotic supplementation can help prevent and manage eczema. Work with our team to order labs that identify low probiotic levels in your gut and then consider taking a good probiotic supplement like Gut Restore:


​Understanding the role of nutrient deficiencies in eczema underscores the importance of maintaining adequate nutrient levels through diet and supplementation to support immune function, skin barrier integrity, and inflammatory regulation, ultimately improving eczema outcomes. If your diet is low in several nutrients, consider taking a good multivitamin like Complete Liquid:



Toxins in Food

Junk food

Toxins in food, including additives, food coloring, pesticides, and herbicides, can contribute to the development and exacerbation of eczema by increasing the body's toxic burden and triggering inflammatory responses. These substances are often found in conventionally grown produce, processed foods, and animal products, and their accumulation in the body can disrupt immune function and exacerbate skin inflammation. For more detailed information on toxins and their impact on eczema, refer to Root Cause #2: Toxic Burden, where we delve deeper into how environmental toxins can affect overall health and skin conditions like eczema.



HOW TO EVALUATE IF YOU HAVE POOR NUTRITION

Evaluating your nutritional status is an essential step in understanding your overall health and well-being. Poor nutrition can have a significant impact on various aspects of your health, including energy levels, immune function, and skin health.


Evaluate Your Plates

The CleanFOOD plate

Assessing your daily dietary habits is a crucial step in determining if you have poor nutrition. Consider the composition of your meals and snacks—are they rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains? Take note of any deficiencies in essential nutrients and vitamins.

At Cleanbody, we emphasize a balanced approach to nutrition, focusing on incorporating healthy, organic proteins, an abundance of non-starchy vegetables, and small portions of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Our goal is to fill your plate with a diverse array of colorful plant-based foods that promote liver detoxification and anti-inflammatory actions in the body. As part of our commitment to reducing inflammation, we work to eliminate or reduce common dietary offenders.


When you join the Cleanbody For Life membership, you gain access to our comprehensive CleanFOOD Plan, featuring a database of 1400 recipes approved in our program. You also gain access to our Cleanbody app, which includes a food journaling system that can help track your eating patterns and identify areas for improvement. Alternatively, working with our Cleanbody Team, led by Dr. Fong and our experienced Cleanbody Nutritionists, ensures personalized support tailored to address your specific deficiencies, food sensitivities, and allergies, optimizing your CleanFOOD Nutrition plan for optimal health and wellness. To begin this journey, we recommend booking a consultation with Dr. Fong to undergo a thorough evaluation and kickstart your personalized nutrition plan.


Get Tested For Food Sensitivity & Allergy

Food

Investigating food sensitivities and allergies is a crucial aspect of evaluating poor nutrition. While a food allergy test is typically something you can request from your primary care physician or pediatrician, conventional doctors may not routinely run food sensitivity tests. Recognizing this gap, we offer two comprehensive panels that you can order directly to assess food sensitivities and allergies.


The Food Sensitivity Basic panel evaluates sensitivity to 96 common foods in the Western diet. Sensitivity to certain foods can develop from various health conditions, leading to inflammation and triggering adverse reactions.

For a more comprehensive assessment, we recommend the Food Sensitivity Complete panel, which assesses sensitivity to 209 common foods in the Western diet, as well as food additives like preservatives, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, food dyes, and pesticides. These additives can contribute to chronic inflammation and increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut).

Both panels can be ordered directly from our website. Alternatively, you can book a consultation with Dr. Fong to determine whether these tests are suitable for your specific needs and health goals.


Get Tested For Toxic Burden

Toxins

Exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides and herbicides can have detrimental effects on your health and nutritional status. Consider testing for toxic burden with the Total Tox Burden Test that measure levels of these chemicals in your body. Understanding your toxic load can help identify potential sources of exposure and guide lifestyle changes to minimize their impact on your overall health and nutritional well-being. Alternatively, you can book a consultation with Dr. Fong to determine whether this tests is suitable for your specific needs and health goals.



HOW TO FIX POOR NUTRITION

Addressing poor nutrition is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. Whether you're struggling with nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, or unhealthy eating habits, taking proactive steps to improve your diet can have profound effects on your overall health. In this section, we'll explore practical strategies and actionable steps to fix poor nutrition and enhance your dietary habits. From following a structured nutrition plan to avoiding food sensitivities and seeking professional guidance, we'll provide you with the tools and resources you need to optimize your nutrition and unlock your full potential for health and vitality.


Follow the CleanFOOD Nutrition Plan

A woman prepares fresh vegetables in a kitchen

Embracing a well-structured nutrition plan is fundamental in addressing poor nutrition and elevating your overall well-being. At Cleanbody, our CleanFOOD Nutrition Plan serves as a cornerstone, emphasizing balanced meals crafted from organic, non-GMO ingredients, and centered around nutrient-dense whole foods. By embracing this plan, you're empowering your body with the essential nourishment it requires to flourish. Unlock access to this invaluable resource, along with a treasure trove of over 1400 Cleanbody Approved recipes, by becoming a part of our transformative Cleanbody For Life membership! Alternatively, embark on a personalized journey with one of our dedicated Cleanbody Nutritionists, who will tailor a bespoke CleanFOOD plan meticulously aligned with your unique nutritional requirements. Ready to kickstart your journey towards optimal health? Book a consultation with Dr. Fong to get evaluated and take the first step towards healing your eczema through nutrition.


Avoid Food Sensitivities & Allergies

a person declines food being offered

Identifying and avoiding foods that trigger sensitivities or allergic reactions is crucial for improving your nutritional status and overall well-being. By eliminating these trigger foods from your diet, you can alleviate inflammation, improve gut health, and enhance nutrient absorption. When addressing food sensitivities and allergies, our approach typically involves temporarily eliminating suspect foods from your diet for a duration ranging from three weeks to three months, or until noticeable improvements in symptoms are observed. Subsequently, we strategically reintroduce these foods to assess whether the sensitivities persist or if tolerance has been regained. 

 

It's crucial to collaborate with a nutritionist or naturopathic doctor when embarking on an elimination diet to ensure that your nutritional needs are met and to prevent potential deficiencies. Working closely with a knowledgeable expert can help you devise a balanced meal plan that compensates for any eliminated foods, ensuring that you receive adequate nutrients to support overall health and well-being throughout the process. Schedule a consultation today to take the first step towards achieving your health and nutrition goals.


Eat Whole, Organic & Non-GMO Foods

Fresh food

Prioritize whole, unprocessed foods in your diet to maximize nutrient intake and support overall health. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains into your meals to ensure a balanced and nutrient-rich diet. Whole foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, promoting optimal health and vitality.

Opting for organic and non-GMO foods can minimize exposure to harmful pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms, which may contribute to poor nutrition and adverse health effects. Choose organic produce, pasture-raised meats, and non-GMO grains whenever possible to support your body's nutritional needs and reduce toxic burden.


Seek Professional Guidance to Understand the Link Between Eczema & Diet

A doctor holds an otoscope while smiling at a patient

Consulting with our team can provide personalized guidance and support on your journey to better nutrition. Our team at Cleanbody offers one-on-one consultations with Dr. Fong and Cleanbody Nutritionists to assess your individual needs, develop tailored nutrition plans, and address any underlying health issues contributing to poor nutrition. Schedule a consultation to start your journey towards optimal health and nutrition.



GOT QUESTIONS?

We are going live to discuss this topic on Wednesday, July 3 at 11:15 AM PST! Watch the live or check out the replay here:



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).





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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