I had the pleasure of meeting my physiotherapist friend, Kevin, and he asks:
Q. What should my girlfriend do for her eczema? She gets it on the nape of her neck and it never seems to go away. Having just returned from Taiwan, she’s going to eliminate diary from her diet in hopes of getting some relief. Currently she is using steroid creams.
I said this is a common condition and my strategy would be to work from the inside-out. This marries up perfectly with her approach to eliminate diary as this is a known irritant for a lot of people.
I decided to take him aside to my flip chart and show this picture (see below):
I explained that having a skin condition is great! Now stay with me as I explain why. When such people have symptoms, it’s in the mirror for them to see, they are alerted to the fact that something is amiss with their health. For other people they cannot tell or haven’t yet married up the cause and effect.
I, for instance, after eating poorly, will suffer runny noses and sneezing: hay fever symptoms but due to poor food choices!
So back to the picture, we spoke about the main factors for having a weak immunity: poor or incompatible diet, broken or lack of sleep, no exercise, lots of stress. If we think of our body like an iPhone battery…you drain it through daily activity, and you recharge it through nourishing foods, rest, and exercise. I find this analogy quite helpful to a lot of people.
If fact, they will often reveal some of their indiscretions in these very areas saving me much digging lol!
Unfortunately, we live in a busy time and me telling someone to eat better and hit the gym doesn’t go down well.
Therefore I always follow up with a quick fix: probiotics!Probiotics are good bacteria. Our body has more bacteria than it does human cells. Unbelievable when I first heard it. What the heck are these critters doing anyway? First, they help with digesting the food you eat. After all, most of them live in your gut. They also serve as your foot soldiers against oncoming invaders that come along with the food and drinks we consume. Ever had food poisoning? That’s salmonella! Ever had kids with worms?! That enters the body by not washing hands before you eat!
So its clear we need probiotics to help defend against invaders and in fact, they form part of our immune system. Back to the eczema, what is eczema? Its inflammation of the skin: it turns red, itchy, red, swollen. These are signs of an immune system going red-alert!
Kevin’s girlfriend is on the right track, re-examine the diet for it is 80% responsible for the immunity in the gut.
On a side note, I came across a generational effect of NOT looking after your gut. If your grandmother suffered mild gut issues, and lets say she raised you during the 70s and 80s when breastfeeding wasn’t fashionable (what!) then you would have been born with moderate levels of gut issues. Lets say you went on the oral contraceptive pill for ten years before deciding to have a family, and lets say you had your ups and downs and needed the odd antibiotics. Now your daughter is born with severe skin allergies, asthma, or hay fever and knock on wood, autism and learning difficulties. Science is now showing that your grandmother’s gut bacterial population is mimicked across generations, and in fact, worsens in this picture I just painted.
Why? Breastfeeding passes good bacteria along. When we skip it for formula, we miss this crucial transfer. Taking the oral contraceptive pill plays with our gut bacteria. Finally antibiotics nuke what’s living in our guts and allows bad guys a chance to take hold.
It’s a crazy side note that I learned today while reading Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book: Gut & Psychology Syndrome (GAPS).
Wow! What a rabbit hole we’ve gone down.
KEY TAKE AWAY: Eczema: treat it from the inside-out for more longer lasting results than just your prescribed steroid creams.