Category Archives: eczema

Probiotics – What are they and do you need them?

Probiotics, or ‘friendly bacteria’, are live microorganisms, which when consumed in adequate amounts, are thought to confer health benefits on the human body. Taking a daily probiotic supplement could not only help with your digestion, but could also spark off other feel-good factors, such as good skin health, immunity and wellbeing.

Digestion
Probiotics are key to the digestive system. They help the body to produce digestive enzymes (such as lactase) which breakdown certain food substances (in this case, lactose, found in dairy products.) This is why topping up your levels of probiotics on a daily basis can help with food intolerances.

Probiotics support the digestive system, and various research has shown that these microorganisms can help to encourage bowel regularity, and discourage digestive disorders or conditions such as diarrhoea (1,2), bloating (3) , or constipation(4,5).

High Quality Probiotic
A High Quality Probiotic such as OptiBac For Daily Wellbeing EXTRA Strength can help line the gut wall with good bacteria to fend off pathogens.

Immunity
Probiotics are thought to support the immune system thanks to the ‘barrier effect’. A high quality probiotic is tested for its ability to bind to cells on the gut wall lining. When you supplement with plenty of probiotics they begin to coat your gut wall, taking up space on this lining. This means that when pathogens (harmful microorganisms) enter the body, they reach the gut and have fewer points on the gut wall upon which they can adhere. It’s effectively a competition for space, between the good guys and the bad! The more good guys (probiotics) you have lining your gut wall, the fewer bad guys (pathogens) you should have in turn. This is known as the barrier effect; taking a daily probiotic can support this process.

Probiotics also improve the absorption of vitamins and minerals into the bloodstream. After all there’s no use taking lots of vitamins if your body is not absorbing them. This improved vitamin uptake provides essential support for the immune system, and what’s more, means that a probiotic nicely complements any other daily supplements you may take.

Skin health
Probiotics are also thought to help support healthy skin, as often acne or spots are caused by bad bacteria, or toxins in the body. Supporting your gut with friendly bacteria means that the body will digest foods more efficiently (producing fewer toxins in the first place) and what’s more, probiotics help to displace toxins or bad bacteria in the gut (through various mechanisms, including the barrier effect mentioned above.) Probiotics have even been shown to help with atopic allergies such as eczema (6). Supporting your gut health from the inside should hopefully see you benefiting on the outside too.

Frequency of Use
Some specific probiotics can be effectively taken as a ‘one-off’ treatment, for example Saccharomyces boulardii to support gut health in those suffering from diarrhoea. However if you’re taking probiotics for general support to your digestion, immunity, energy & skin, best to take them every day for at least a few months; giving your gut time to top up its friendly bacteria levels. Many people safely and happily take probiotics on an ongoing basis for years.

 

References:

1. McFarland, L.V. & Bernasconi, P. (1993) Saccharomyces boulardii: A Review of an Innovative Biotherapeutic Agent. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease; Vol. 6 pp. 157-171.
2. Hochter, W. et al (1990) Saccharomyces boulardii in acute adult diarrhea. Efficacy and tolerance of treatment. Munchener Medizinische Wochenschrift; Vol. 132 (12) pp. 188-192
3. Paineau, D. (2007) Regular consumption of short-chain fructo-oligosachharides improves digestive comfort with minor functional bowel disorders. Br. J. Nutr. Aug 13:1-8 [Epub ahead of print]
4. Matsumoto, M. et al. (2001) Effect of Yoghurt with Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-12® in Improving Fecal Microflora and Defecation of Healthy Volunteers. Journal of Intestinal Microbiology; 14(2): pp. 97-102
5. Pitkala, K.H et al. (2007) Fermented cereal with specific bifidobacteria normalizes bowel movements in elderly nursing home residents. A randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Nutritional Health and Aging; 11(4): pp.305-311.
6. Isolauri, E., et al., Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema. Clin Exp Allergy, 2000. 30(11): p. 1604-10.

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Probiotics may prevent childhood eczema

Eczema is a dry, itchy skin condition, and childhood eczema can be distressing for both children and their parents. Unfortunately, childhood eczema is becoming increasingly common.

A new study looking at the effects of a probiotic called Lactobacillus Rhamnosus offers a promising new approach to dealing with this troublesome condition (1).

Research published last month in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy found that children who take probiotics in the first two years of life had a decreased incidence of eczema, and were protected against the condition until at least 4 years of age.

The researchers followed 425 infants for 4 years after daily supplementation with the probiotics L. Rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium animalis or placebo.

Probiotics in pregnancy and childhood can prevent eczema
Taking probiotics, specifically Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, during pregnancy and in childhood can prevent childhood eczema (2,3)

The mothers were given a probiotic supplement or a placebo pill at the gestational age of 35 weeks. Each mother continued to take the supplement for 6 months following the birth, while her baby was breastfeeding. After this time, all of the infants were given a probiotic or placebo supplement from birth until the age of 2.

The results showed that the protective effect of the probiotic lasted until the children were at least 4 years of age.

The research team published the initial results of their double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, back in 2008 (2). Here they tested the effects of the probiotic during the first two years of life. They found that the supplement L. Rhamnosus (strain HN001) resulted in a 49% reduction in eczema prevalence – essentially it halved the risk of eczema in the children studied.

The more recent study demonstrates that the benefits of L. Rhamnosus HN001 persisted to age 4 years, despite the fact that probiotic supplementation stopped two years earlier. This suggests that this particular probiotic might work as a protective measure against eczema for high-risk infants.

There is no way of knowing for sure if you baby will have eczema. However, the risk of your baby developing eczema is much greater if someone in your family has already had eczema, asthma and hayfever. If these conditions are present in your family, then probiotic supplementation may offer some degree of protection for your children.

The authors of the study concede that “the precise pathways for effects [of probiotics] on allergic disease remain elusive and require more work”. In light of the distress that this skin condition can cause to both children and parents, I certainly hope that this study paves the way for future research in this area.

Written by Nadia Mason, BSc MBANT NTCC CNHC

References
1. Wickens, K. et al (2012) A protective effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 against eczema in the first 2 years of life persists to age 4 years. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2012.03975

2. Wicken et al (2008) A differential effect of 2 probiotics in the prevention of eczema and atopy: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Allergy & Clin Immunol 122:4, pp. 788-794

3. Image courtesy of Rocknroli.

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Healthy skin the light therapy way

The health of our skin is often the first thing people notice when we speak to them.  It can tell the tales of the past whether it be sun damage or pigmentation from enjoying just that little bit too much sunshine, or wrinkles and age spots just because of the inevitable ageing process.  It can also display some of the more confidence-sapping conditions such as rosacea, eczema or acne.  Like it or not, we can often be judged on our appearances and the health of our skin and if it isn’t looking or feeling its best it can make us feel insecure.

Skin Light Therapy
Of late, more people are turning to light therapy to help their skin regain its natural balance.

There are all sorts of lotions, potions and treatments out there to help improve the appearance of our skin, some more natural than others.  Many people don’t fancy botox or collagen injections in search of eternal youth or want to take high strength prescription medicines to dry out their acne vulgaris.  Often these prescriptions have negative side effects sometimes associated with these treatments, such as digestive complaints or further skin inflammation.  Of late, more people are turning to light therapy to help their skin regain its natural balance and help improve the appearance of wrinkles, spider veins, acne and roseacea the natural way.  Light therapy is the exposure to specific wavelengths of light for a specific amount of time in order to treat a particular disorder, problem or concern.

Daylight is a vital ingredient for our existence and since time began humans have responded to their natural environments.  We feel happier in sunny months and our skin is often healthier when the sun is out for longer with more natural daylight available.  Light lamps emitting red and/or blue wavelengths are often used for those with skin concerns such as acne vulgaris, p.acnes, rosacea, spider veins, wrinkles or inflammation.  Blue wavelengths are used for anti-bacterial treatment, while red wavelengths are best for reducing inflammation, pigmentation and fine lines.

Britebox Dermaclear
Models such as the Britebox dermaclear now combine both red & blue wavelengths in order to reduce both bacteria and inflammation.

Blue wavelengths are primarily used for the treatment of acne and to reduce bacteria, however many models such as the Britebox dermaclear now combine both red & blue wavelengths in order to reduce both bacteria and inflammation and for better, faster results.  Infrared and red wavelengths are primarily used for skin pigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines, roseacea, spider veins and age spots.

Treatment times vary between models and can range from 3 minutes to 30 minutes per day with results being seen from anything between 24 hours and 8 weeks – depending on severity of the skin concern.

View our Skin Health Light Therapy Comparison chart here

We have many other blog posts on supporting the health of the skin written by Ani Richardson RNutri. For further reading, see her posts here.

Written by Katie Guest

References

*Extracts taken from bodykind’s Light Therapy Knowledge Base

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Healthy skin spotlight – Our top 5 supplements for skin health

This blog post looks at some of the key nutritional supplements for supporting and maintaining healthy skin.  Follow our top five tips and your skin will be looking healthy and radiant all through natural choices and healthy diet without the need for beauty products that contain harmful chemicals.

Natural skin care
Support your skin care through nutrition and a healthy diet (1)

1. Fish Oils

Fish oils are essential fatty acids which means that they are not made by the body and have to be consumed (either eaten or supplemented) in order to provide the body with their fantastic benefits.  Fatty acids have been recognised for their ability to improve the skin through their anti-inflammatory activity which may also reduce the development of eczema psoriasis, acne and rashes.  They can also help to firm the skin and potentially reduce lines and wrinkles.  Read more about the power of fish oils for skin health in previous blog posts here.  Overall a top skin care provider!

2. Antioxidants:

Oxidative damage from free radicals (unstable molecules) is the primary cause of premature skin aging as they can interfere with DNA and breakdown collagen which contributes to the formation of those dreaded wrinkles.  Antioxidants have been found to help prevent this damage and protect the body from their harmful effects.  Antioxidants, such as alpha tocopherol, beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein, have also been identified to protect against UV damage (photoaging) which causes the most harm to the skin (3).

3. Multivitamin

Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and wholegrains helps to provide the body with vitamins, minerals, fibre and other essential components to help the body to function optimally and keep the skin in its best condition.  Adding a multivitamin (which are natural nutrients that are essentially consumed as the body can not produce them itself) to this regime can offer a great boost to your body’s balance of health and support the health and appearance of the largest organ in your body, your skin.  Again multivitamins that include the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E are great skin supporters, and also B3, D and K have also been identified as protecting against the biggest skin ager, photoaging (4).

Higher Nature Aeterna Gold
Having a healthy diet with lots of vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamin C, can help to encourage collagen production

4. Collagen

As we age, our collagen stores steadily decrease which reduces the elasticity in our skin and causes lines and wrinkles, so supplementing collagen may help to limit these effects.  Also having a healthy diet with lots of vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamin C, can help to encourage collagen production and its use within the body, which may assist in keeping the skin bright and youthful.

5. Probiotics

Probiotics are non digestible foods that can promote health by stimulating the activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut.  They have been found to assist with the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract which then allows the nutrients to fully benefit the skin.  Additionally, probiotics have also been recognised for stimulating the microflora of the skin and protecting the skin through the immune system (6).  Therefore these friendly bacteria are perfect little protectors of youthful skin so make sure you include them in your daily routine.

A top tip for supplementing would be to include probiotics with your supplements to ensure that your digestive system is optimal and you are absorbing the necessary nutrients from the supplements you are taking.

P.S. You may also wish to consider using light therapy as an alternative to help keep skin beautiful, as they have been found to kill the bacteria that causes acne and also to reduce the inflammation in the skin caused by acne.  They do this through the combination of wavelengths which also assist facial lesions, scars and many other conditions.  They have also shown to be very effective at brightening the skin tone (7,8).  Therefore they may be worth considering if you are suffering from a skin complaint.

Written by Lauren Foster

References

(1) Image courtesy of  photostock.

(2)De Spirit s et al. (2009) Intervention with flaxseed and borage oil supplements modulates skin condition in women. British Journal of Nutrition, 101:440-445.

(3) Evans, J.A. & Johnson, E.J. (2010) The Role of Phytonutrients in Skin Health. Nutrients, 2, 903-928.

(4) Zussman, J., Ahdout, J. and Kim, J. (2010) Vitamins and photoaging: Do scientific data support their use? American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. 63, No. 3.

(5) Zouboulis, C.C., Makrantonaki, E. (2011) Clinical aspects and molecular diagnostics of skin aging. Clinics in Dermatology, 29, 3–14.

(6) Krutmann, J. (2009) Pre- and probiotics for human skin. Journal of Dermatological Science 54, 1–5.

(7) Babilas, B. (2010) Light-assisted therapy in dermatology: The use of intense pulsed light (IPL). Medical Laser Application, Vol. 25, 61–69.

(8) Lee, S.Y., You, C.E. & Park, M.Y. (2007) Blue and red light combination LED phototherapy for acne vulgaris in patients with skin phototype IV. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 39:180–188.

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bodykind do some detective work on food intolerance

Do you have a health issue getting you down that Doctor’s just can’t seem to help with?  Do you not feel quite as well as you should?  According to Allergy UK as many as 45% of people in the UK suffer from a food intolerance (1), many of which lead to varying symptoms that while not life threatening, can make all aspects of life uncomfortable, painful or just down right miserable. Symptoms of food intolerance are varied and can have a serious effect on the quality of your day to day life.  From abdominal pains to eczema, fatigue and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, food intolerance can lead many to unhappiness.  But it is a common area that can be difficult to get help for from many in the medical profession.(2)

Do you have a food intolerance?
According to Allergy UK as many as 45% of people in the UK suffer from a food intolerance

There is a stark difference between food allergy, and food intolerance. Food allergy sparks a rapid response in the body’s immune system to a particular food.  The immune system mistakes a food for an ‘invader’ which often results in a rapid allergic reaction, commonly associated with nut and seafood allergies.(3) Food intolerance on the other hand can lead to many less serious reactions but uncomfortable symptoms that manifest themselves through skin conditions, digestive problems, aches and pains and much more.(4)

There are numerous foods that can spark intolerances including dairy, meat, fruit, fish, gluten, wheat and even vegetables.  But how can you find out just what it is that’s upsetting you.  You could try eliminating certain foods from your diet to see if this has a positive effect on your symptoms but this can be a long drawn out process (and must be done under the supervision of a qualified Nutritionist). There are a number of products on the market today however that offer home tests for a variety of different food intolerances and the Food Detective is one of the most popular.

Food Detective
Food Detective is the world's first self test for food intolerance

Simple, safe, reliable and fast the Food Detective is the world’s first self test for food intolerance.  No more waiting days for results, the Food Detective tests your reaction to 59 common foods through a finger prick blood sample and gives you results in about 40 minutes. The test identifies foods causing IgG antibody production which may be involved in various conditions such as IBS, eczema, and arthritis. The test gives you the ability to easily identify the type of foods that may be affecting your health and eliminate them from your diet giving you the peace of mind to eat the right things and improving your lifestyle.

It is important to note however that changes to diet should only be made after consultation with a qualified nutritionist.  Symptoms of intolerances and allergy can be eased with nutritional and dietary help.  “Some general advice would be to boost the immune system via a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits which provide vitamins and bioflavonoids.  In addition to this omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish e.g. salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines (at least two portions per week) are really helpful to the immune system and also to reduce inflammation in the body.”(5)

 

Written by Mike Pye

1.  http://www.allergyuk.org/

2.  http://www.foodintoleranceawareness.org/isitfi.htm

3.  http://www.foodintoleranceawareness.org/isitfi.htm

4. http://www.foodintoleranceawareness.org/symptoms.htm

5.  Ani Kowal, Food Allergy and Intolerance Week, bodykind Blog, January 27th 2010.

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Probiotics in pregnancy may reduce the risk of eczema in children

Previous evidence has suggested that probiotics (‘friendly’ gut bacteria) given to pregnant women at risk of having children with atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema), and then their infants, seems to reduce the incidence of eczema in the children.  A recently published study in the British Journal of Dermatology (1) took place to examine whether probiotic supplements given to non-select pregnant women (not just those at risk of having a child with eczema) could prevent eczema in the child’s first two years. 

 

In the study (1) women received a probiotic milk or placebo (milk which did not contain probiotics) from 36 weeks of pregnancy to three months postnatally during breastfeeding (all the mothers breastfed their children). The probiotic milk contained the probiotic strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis Bb-12. Children with an itchy rash for more than four weeks were assessed for eczema.  After two years of age, all the children were assessed for various conditions such as atopic dermatitis, asthma and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.  The results showed that children of the women who drank the probiotic milk during and after their pregnancy had a 40% reduced incidence of eczema.

The results showed that probiotic bacteria reduced the incidence of eczema in children up to age two years by 40 percent. And the kids in ‘probiotics group’ who did have eczema, had less severe cases,” explains Christian Kvikne Dotterud, a student in the Medical Student Research Programme at the Department of Community Medicine at NTNU (2).

The study was conducted by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norwegian University of Science and Technology,  it is part of a larger research project at the university called the Prevention of Allergy Among Children in Trondheim, or PACT, an ongoing population-based intervention study in Norway focused on childhood allergy (2).

One of the study researchers said (2)Our study is the first to show that certain probiotic bacteria given to the mother during pregnancy and breast-feeding prevents eczema,”. Previous studies have shown that probiotics taken by pregnant mothers and then by their children may prevent eczema, but this is the first study to show a preventative effect when the mother alone consumed the probiotics.  It is thought that the probiotic bacteria, taken by the mothers, affects the composition of breast milk in a positive way.

The researchers of this study used a variety of strains of probiotics.  In the press release they say “There is reason to believe that it is beneficial for your health to consume a variety of bacterial strains with documented efficacy, rather than unilateral influence of only one bacterial strain”.  One of the strains of bacteria used in the probiotic milk drink was  LGG ®, (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG)  which is currently the probiotic bacteria that are most extensively studied and researched in terms of human health in the world.  It has been shown that LGG ® contributes to good gut function and a stronger defense against unwanted bacteria and viruses in the stomach. At present there are more than 500 published articles on LGG ® in international journals and more than 30 doctoral theses have been completed on LGG’s ® effect on health. More than 40 countries in different parts of the world market products with LGG ® (2).  The probiotic milk also a contained a strain of Bifidobacteria, which have also been used in numerous research studies.

Evidence is continually accumulating for the use of probiotics (and prebiotics) for health.  It is important to talk to your doctor or midwife before beginning any supplement regimen during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

(1) C. K. Dotterud CK et al.  2010.  Probiotics in pregnant women to prevent allergic disease: a randomised, double-blind trial.   British Journal of Dermatology E-Pub prior to print.  10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09889.x

(2)Press release.   Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  http://www.ntnu.edu/probiotic-use-in-pregnancy

Written by Ani Kowal

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Probiotics for the prevention of eczema in children

Earlier this year I wrote a couple of posts concentrating on the accumulating evidence which suggests that probiotic (‘friendly’ gut bacteria) supplements may be useful to boost the immune system.  In children, studies have shown that probiotic and prebiotic (food supplement that feeds the good bacteria in the digestive system) supplements may be useful in preventing recurrent ear infections and also the common cold.



A recently published study (1) has found that prebiotic and probiotic supplements, which improve the intestinal bacterial balance, may be particularly important in preventing eczema in susceptible infants.  It has been thought for a while now that modification of the intestinal bacterial balance could be an important approach to preventing allergic disease.  This particular study aimed to look at the prevention of allergic disease in high-risk children (children with parents and/or siblings with allergic conditions).  The probiotic bacteria was given to pregnant mothers of high-risk children, ie where there was a positive family history of allergic disease, and then to the infant children for the first 12months of life.  This was a controlled trial so there were some mothers/children who were given a placebo, they did not receive a probiotic supplement. 



Parental-reported eczema during the first 3 months of life was significantly lower in the intervention group compared with placebo (1).  The authors conclude their study by reporting “This particular combination of probiotic bacteria shows a preventive effect on the incidence of eczema in high-risk children, which seems to be sustained during the first 2 years of life. In addition to previous studies, the preventive effect appears to be established within the first 3 months of life



If there are allergies in your family and you think that your child may be at risk of developing eczema or asthma then you may consider taking a probiotic and probiotic supplement during pregnancy and also giving an infant probiotic supplement (there are many available) to your baby during the first year to two years of life.  Please talk to your doctor or health professional before beginning a supplement regimen during pregnancy or with an infant child


A fairly recent study (2) assessed the safety of feeding probiotic supplements to newborn infants and found that such supplements were safe and seemed to increase resistance to infections during the first 2 years of life.  The study was well designed and began with pregnant mothers who were given either a mixture of probiotics or placebo for 4 weeks before they were due to give birth.  Their babies were given the same probiotics in conjunction with a prebiotic or placebo for 6 months after birth.  925 infants were involved and followed up for 2 years.  During the 6-month supplement intervention, antibiotics were prescribed less often in the prebiotic/probiotic group than in the placebo group and throughout the 2 year follow-up period, infections occurred less frequently in the group receiving these supplements.



Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition thought to be related to other allergies, such as asthma.  Due to the inflammatory nature of the condition it is thought that long chain omega 3 fatty acids may also be particularly useful in treating the condition, I have previously written about this here, as well as in the post relating to asthma.



(1) Niers L et al.  2009.  The effects of selected probiotic strains on the development of eczema (the PandA study).  Allergy.  64(9):1349-58.
(2) Kukkonen K et al.  2008.  Long-term safety and impact on infection rates of postnatal probiotic and prebiotic (synbiotic) treatment: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatrics. 122(1):8-12.
Written by Ani Kowal

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Early introduction of fish into the childhood diet may lead to reduced risk of eczema

Eczema is becoming a more and more common infant complaint in the UK, and in the western world as a whole, with up to one in five infants suffering from the condition in their first year of life (1).  It is a chronic condition which produces itchy, red, inflamed patches of skin – most commonly in the face, scalp, hands, wrists, elbows and behind the knees.



There seem to be many environmental factors that could be at play which could contribute to the increasing prevalence of this condition.  Food may well be involved.  Today I wanted to mention a recent study (1) which found that early introduction of fish into the diet, before the age of nine months, is beneficial in the prevention of eczema, or seems to have an impact in decreasing the likelihood of developing the condition.



The researchers used data on 4921 infants in Sweden.  At one year of age just over 20% of the infants had experienced eczema, with the average age of onset being four months.  Analysis of data revealed that introducing fish before the age of nine months was associated with a 25% reduced risk of eczema compared to those who never ate it (1).  The authors comment that Fish in the diet appeared to be important, but that it would take further investigation to establish why.  The researchers ponder that the reduced risk is probably something to do with the influence of fish on the development of the infant immune system.



Individuals with eczema have higher levels of a chemical called histamine which is involved in allergic reactions.  I previously wrote a set of posts about asthma where you can find out more about the allergic response, histamine and some other ways in which you may be able to reduce allergic reaction with diet.  The advice for diet with regards to asthma is highly relevant to eczema too.


 


The increasing prevalence of eczema in the western world has been linked to the alteration of our diet, specifically the reduced consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as trout, mackerel, salmon and sardines and also flaxseeds, and an increased omega-6 fatty acid intake, found concentrated in vegetable oils.  This imbalance in the fatty acid ratio may have important effects on various processes in our bodies. 


Omega 3 fatty acids are probably highly relevant and important in the protection against eczema development as they act in the body to reduce inflammation, a major factor in allergic response.  A very recent, but small, study (2) published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that supplementation with the long chain omega 3 fatty acid DHA, found naturally in oily fish, had a significant beneficial effect on eczema severity, and blood markers of allergy, in individuals aged 18-40.  The authors call for larger trials: “Our data suggest that dietary DHA could be bioactive and might have a beneficial impact on the outcome of atopic eczema, but our results need to be confirmed in a larger study.”



Proveious preliminary studies link the omega 3 fatty acids EPA (3,4), also found in oily fish, and alpha linolenic acid, found in flaxseed oil (4,5) to reduced eczema symptoms. 


 


If you suffer from eczema and do not regularly eat oily fish (at least twice per week) you may well benefit from taking an omega 3 fatty acid that provides 250-350mg of DHA and 250-350mg of EPA daily.  If you are vegetarian/vegan then a flaxseed oil supplement providing at least 500mg of alpha linolenic acid daily could provide some relief.  As mentioned in many previous posts, omega 3 fatty acids are essential and seem to protect us from the development of many diseases so taking a supplement may do more than just help your eczema symptoms!  Do not consider giving any supplements to an infant or child without consulting a doctor in the first instance.



(1)Alm B et al.  2008.  Early introduction of fish decreases the risk of eczema in infants.  Arch Dis Child. Published Online, prior to print 25 September 2008.  doi:10.1136/adc.2008.140418
(2)Koch C et al.  2008.  Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation in atopic eczema: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.  Br J Dermatol. 158(4):786-92
(3)Bjorneboe, A., et al.  Effect of dietary supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid in the treatment of atopic dermatitis.  British Journal of Dermatology.  117(4):463-469, 1987.
(4)Mayser, P., et al.  A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of n-3 versus n-6 fatty acid-based lipid infusion in atopic dermatitis.  J Parenter Enteral Nutr.  26(3):151-158, 2002.
(5)Galland, L.  Increased requirements for essential fatty acids in atopic individuals:  a review with clinical descriptions.  Journal of the American College of Nutrition.  5(2):213-228, 1986.
(6)Ito, K., et al.  Effect of the alpha-linolenic acid enriched diet on atopic dermatitis:  a pilot study on 6 outpatients.  Japanese Journal of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  6(3):87-91, 1992.


Written by Ani Kowal

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